Main Motorcycle: Triumph Bonneville
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Orange, Texas
If you have never heard a twin engined Triumph run, it is a sound that is very hard to explain. The bike was originally built in 1959. After a couple of years of shakedown running, some changes were made. The pilot, Billy Denby, who lives in Tallahassee now, was the only pilot of the Deuce. He felt the bike was a little too long for the way it handled, so we shortened it 4 1/2", and raised the front engine up 2", and kinda slid the back engine up under it. He said then that it handled so well, that he could drive with his eyes closed. He wore a helmet with the bubble face shield on it. If you ever looked at the face shield, you would see that the right was scratched up in a couple of places, to the point it was frosted. Billy never looked up after getting the go flag. He buried his face against the left fork tube and lined up with the tach, and either watched the center line or the edge of the track, depending on which lane he was running in.
The Deuce only had 2 speeds...Fast and Faster (3rd & 4th). The bike ran on fuel...1/3rd methanol, 1/3rd Nitro, 1/3rd Benzine, and about a cup of acetone. The acetone was to keep everything else mixed. Billy shifted at around 8500, to 9000 depending on track conditions. The engines sometimes would last 4-5 good hard runs. Times ran in the low 9's with top end approaching 140 to 150. Not much of a feat for the Hyabusa guys today. The cams were of Dwains design, and we ground them right in the shop. We shipped them all over the world. The cams on the Deuce were on needle bearings instead of bushings. We didnt run a real oil ring. We ran a compression ring turned upside down in the oil ring slot. We only ran one compression ring on the top and it was fit with very little end gap. We had to drain the sump after every run because of the oil contamination from the fuel, and the engine oil went to a catch tank instead of being circulated. I guess it could be considered a total loss system that was captured. The TT carbs ran main jets of .125" and no needles, and the only time the engines ran too rich, was when Billy's pants legs got sucked up into the carbs of the rear engine and just about killed it. As you can see in the photos, we added the guards from shop drop lights to act as "Breeches Guards". Some people would ask us what they were for at races and we'd say Breeches Guards, and about half of them would just so OK..I thought so, or something like that. Others would want a clarification. We blew up several engines over the 3 years I was with them, and that was the only time we ever got beat. The Deuce had a pretty good record for it's day.
We had to bump start the bike to get it going , and that was the only time you would see Dwain on it. Some times it was a scary event. When the bike was first built, there were no reliable auto advance Mags on the market, so the mags were set up with full advance. Sometimes while starting the engines one would fire and the other one would back fire, and bust the chain linking the 2 engines together. Between the engine firing, the big explosion of the chain busting, and a 5' length of chain flying around, it was a darn scary event. We later went to the Lucas Racing Mags which cured all of that. It was quite a place to be in the early 60's for anyone wanting to be in on the Motorcycle Drag racing scene. We had fun and experienced times that most people can only imagine. Our reunions have really brought up some more good times, reliving some of the events...