by Felicity Donohoe from https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk
Grampian Transport Museum (GTM) finally welcomes the dream machine Triumph Hurricane to the floor as Mike Ward finishes up his final year as curator.
After 37 years at the helm of GTM, motorcycle lover Mike Ward made sure to see out his last season before retirement with a rare Triumph Hurricane gracing the display alongside the other classic bikes – including an even rarer Triumph Bandit.
Mike said: “With 2021 being my last season at GTM, I was determined to have a Hurricane in this year’s exhibition.
“They are extremely rare, very valuable and much sought-after, but they’re not being used on the roads and to find one was difficult.”
The Hurricane will sit with the dedicated British Motorcycle Charitable Trust (BMCT) display for just this season.
GTM is open Thursday-Tuesday with plans to resume seven day weeks in summer, tel: 01975 562292. To book tickets go to gtm.org.uk
Mike employed the help of the Triumph Owners Motor Cycle Club, before Scottish-based club member David Currie, from Irvine, rode to the rescue and offered to loan his rare motorcycle to the museum.
Mike’s love affair with Triumph motorcycles began in the early 70s when he was at Lincoln College of Art studying museum conservatorship. As an 18-year-old student, he was the proud owner of a 350cc Triumph 3TA “café racer” complete with clip-on handlebars.
BSA / Triumph had just swept to success with their 750cc triple production bikes, the Triumph Trident and BSA Rocket 3, with the most famous Trident, “Slippery Sam” – so called after springing major oil leaks in an early race – winning five consecutive production 750cc class TT races at the Isle of Man from 1971-75.
The Triumph Trident and BSA Rocket 3 was made by Triumph Engineering and BSA (both part of the Birmingham Small Arms Company) from 1968-75. The high-performance bike was technically advanced, bringing a fresh face to street bikes and marking the start of the superbikes era.
Mike said: “That was the golden era of the Triumph Triple just ahead of the Japanese multi-cylinder tsunami which swept the British motorcycle industry aside. Every young enthusiast coveted one, and as soon as I graduated and found employment in 1976, I remember rushing out with my first pay cheque and buying one of the last Triumph Trident T160’s – a dream come true!”
However, with Japanese superbikes hot on their heels, BSA decided a revamp was on the cards. The company sent one of their Rockets over to American fairing creator Craig Vetter to boost the showroom appeal of their Triples.
Vetter employed a sweeping fibreglass combined fuel tank/seat and extended front forks giving it the now-vintage “Easy Rider” look. With its stunning paint job and outlandish triple exhaust, the bike stood head and shoulders above the standard BSA range and, winning popular public appeal, the X75 Hurricane was badged as a Triumph motorcycle.
Norton Villiers Triumph (1973-78) was liquidated in 1978 and in the end only 1,172 Hurricanes were built. Since then, the Hurricane has remained a rarity and one of Britain’s most exciting motorcycles of the 1970’s.
“The Triumph Hurricane has such an amazing story attached to it, said Mike. “It’s a really colourful and cheerful machine – and everyone needs cheering up just now, don’t they?”