Panther Publishing 

Road Racing History of the TRIUMPH 500 Unit Twin

Panther Publishing

Road Racing History of the
500 Unit Twin

Claudio Sintich (l'Inglese) 

 Now Out of Print

From Dave Minton, Real Classic March 2011">I really do not know how many people Sintich interviewed, how many notebooks he must have filled, how many photo’ archives he must have searched to achieve the extraordinary volume of information he has. I do know, however, that it must have involved research, patience and endurance beyond measure over many years. Certainly, though, I cannot recall reading a more methodically presented, painstakingly researched, more comprehensive model history than this."

“This book...made me proud to have been part of the Triumph Engineering Racing Team.” Les Williams

Road Racing History of Triumph 500 Unit Twin"A remarkable piece of work and a very good book!" Percy Tait

From Nacelle (magazine of the Triumph Motorcycle Owners Club)

"Now here's a book for Triumph enthusiasts to have....
it is an exhaustive investigation into the road racing history of the Daytona Triumph Unit 500 Twin. Far from being a dry and possibly boring story that such a detailed work can be, Claudio's enthusaism for the racing Daytona shines through and he writes in an entertaining and very informative way....technical nuts are catered for with details of the engine and frame developments through the Daytonas high point of the 1960s, complete with graphs and measurements, but the follower of the actual racing is also well catered for with stories of its American, UK and European successes....In his research for the book Claudio interviewed the men involved in the racing project and he inserts snippets of the interviews in his race reports as the interviewee relates what went on during a race, giving it a feeling of life and immediacy.
This is one book about Triumph motorcycles that I can definitely recommend...." Martin Jones (Nacelle assistant Editor)

From Tim Britton of Old Bike Mart (July 2010)

"For a factory whose boss was so against racing, Triumph seem to be remarkably good at it and all the while using the most mundane of engines. Most of the inspiration for racing the unit construction 500cc engines machines seems to have come from the USA where Edward turner’s fearsome wrath was diluted a little. In his book Claudio Sintich details the start of the programme that would eventually lead to Daytona 200 wins, Percy Tait’s GP 500 and any number of specials. Naturally ‘how the factory did it’ features highly and if you’re in the process of constructing a unit engine even for the road, then there will be information here for you. Inside this book are details of races, the highs, the lows of putting a push rod twin into the highest category of racing, the characters involved, their escapades and …well even if you’re not into Triumph 500s this book is still an entertaining read. Go buy it."

A wonderful book on the amazing road racing history of the ‘fast but fragile’ Triumph 500 unit twin. From the Daytona successes of the mid ’60s to the end of the factory racers, including that fantastic second place to Agostini and the mighty MV in 1969, this book details the full history of the Triumph 500 unit twin racers. The story is told as much through the hundreds of period photos as in the carefully researched text; but wherever possible the words are those of the main protagonists themselves – the incomparable racers Percy Tait in the UK, and Gary Nixon in the USA, the Triumph racing team including Les Williams, Jack Shemans and Arthur Jakeman for example, and also the privateers such as David Kirby, Rob Prior and Dave Degens of Dresda fame, amongst many others. This is a book full of insight into those golden racing days for the little 500 unit twin. But perhaps just as interesting is the insight into the factory team that created this success with so little support from senior management, but which would later become the nucleus of the team which built the legend of the triples such as ‘Slippery Sam’. Complete with a great many photos, many never before published, this is a real gem.

Book Launch at  Beezumph 2010 - some famous names from Triumph's illustrious past came along to sign copies of the Road Racing History of the Triumph 500 Unit Twin

Left to Right. Fred Swift, Claudio Sintich (the author), Don Emde, Les Williams, Steve Jolly, Arthur Jakeman, Bill Fannon, Gary Nixon (#9), David Kirby, Rob Prior. 

The bikes
Bike No 1
is Percy Tait's bike lent to us for the event by the National Motorcycle Museum. Thanks to the NMM and to Les Williams for bringing the bike up to Anglesey.  

No 9 is Rob Prior's replica of Gary Nixon's racing bike and a thanks for letting us put it on the stand.

 Road Racing History of the Triumph 500 Unit twin - signing session at Beezumph

Claudio Sintich has always been a Triumph enthusiast from his very first bike, a Triumph Tiger Cub. He then graduated to a Tiger 100A. Following his schooldays in Nairobi, Claudio went to college in Portsmouth during the '60s before returning to Italy for his army service. On leaving the army Claudio soon opened a very successful motorcycle repair shop, 'L'Inglese' specialising in British bikes and especially Triumphs!

CONTENTS - Road Racing history of the TRIUMPH 500 Unit Twin

Introduction: Why The Unit 500cc?

The Unit 500cc

The American Beginning

Why Triumph Meriden Went To The Daytona 200 Mile Race

      Les Williams

      Jack Shemans

      Arthur Jakeman

The Bikes For The 1966 Daytona 200 Miles Race

The 1966 Daytona 200 Mile Race

The Bikes For The 1967 Racing Season

      Norman Hyde

The 1967 Daytona  200 Mile Race

      Gary Nixon

The 1967 Season In The UK

The Birth Of  The ‘Enfield’ Frame

      Ken Sprayson

The Bikes For The 1968 Racing Season

      Don Woodward

The 1968 Daytona 200 Mile Race

      Percy Tait – The Ultimate Tester

The 1968 Season In The UK

Preparing For The 1969 Daytona 200 Mile Race

The 1969 Daytona 200 Mile Race

Triumph Unit 500 Major US Competition Wins

      Bill Baird

The 1969 Racing Season, UK and Europe: The Bikes

      Exp n.5

      The ‘Enfield’ bike

The 1969 Season In The UK And Europe


David Kirby Partners Exp n.5

Exp n.5 Home Again

Other Racing Triumph 500 Unit Twins

      Mick Hemmings

      Rob Prior

Other Triumph-Engined Specials

      The Geoff Duke Special

      Triumph DW Daytona

      Dresda Autos - Dave Degens

      Luca Biagini

      Robert Harrington

      John Barton

How Racing Improved The Road Models

In Conclusion

Interested in the Bonneville? then see Triumph Thruxton Bonneville 1959 - 1969  

Claudio Sintich: Road Racing history of the TRIUMPH 500 Unit twin

Published in June 2010, 196pages, over 300 photos and illustrations, Softback, ISBN 9780956497505, Price £22.95 includes UK p&p, add £3 Europe, £8 Rest of World for postage.

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