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Classic, Vintage & Veteran For Coventry and Meriden Models. Anything pre-Hinckley goes.

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Old 01-28-2009, 07:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Triumph Drag Bike/Sprint Bike

While working for Dwain Taylor at T&M Triumph back in the 60's, I was fortunate to spent some time as part of the crew for the Twin engined Drag Bike called "The Deuce" Short for "Deuce of Spades". Dwain kept the bike for years after retiring it from racing, and wound up donating it to Triumph headquarters in Maryland, USA.

When Triumph went belly-up in the USA, the bike was shipped to the factory in Coventry England, and put on displey with quite a few other Triumphs in the factory museum. While over there on a visit years ago Dwain Stopped in at the factory, which had closed and spoke to an elderly security guard, and asked to see the factory. The guard allowed Dwain and his wife to tour the museum which was mostly empty. He was hoping to see the Deuce one more time. As it turned out, it was one of the bikes that had already been moved. There was a disply table there quite a bit longer that the others with a descriiption on it reading Triumph Twin Engine "Sprint Bike". The Guard told Dwain that the bike had been moved to Lands End, England.

What this is leading up to is the crew and Dwain are having another reunion again this March, and I waa wondering if anyone near Lands End knows of the bike, and could possibly get a couple of pictures of it and email to me to present to Dwain at the reunion. I'm sure an autographed copy of Dwains Triumph Tuning manual could be exchanged for the pictures. Included here is a picture of Dwain with the bike in 1960, and a later shot with the bike in the display room of the shop. Any help getting the pictures and late history of the Deuce would be greatly appreciated. Anyone interested in joining us for the reunion in Albany GA., let me know and I'll give you the details. Please do it through a PM..

Thanks, Dusty
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Triumph Drag Bike/Sprint Bike-duece-in-showroom-large-.jpg   Triumph Drag Bike/Sprint Bike-dwain-and-the-deuce-large-.jpg  
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Old 01-29-2009, 12:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing, Magic photos. Look what is in the shop front of the second photo. What year was that photo taken? You can always add more photos. I like bike photos, the older the better.
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Old 01-29-2009, 12:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Looks like a job for Dagad or another of our England-based members. What a great piece of history. I have commented on my interest in the Triumph twin engine dragbikes of that era before. Dusty may not remember, but he included a copy of the picture of Dwain and his bike, and a pic of Dwain autographing copies of his tuning book, with my copy of Dwain's book when I bought it.

What say Dagad? After all, will it turn out you have actually seen one of Dwain's drag bikes, and on your side of the pond no less? It would be really great to find the bike in one piece.
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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what was the fastest that beast did? 1/8 or 1/4mile
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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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...
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Old 02-01-2009, 07:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi Guys, Oldebonnie is keeping me up to speed on this and I will have a look around over here. Must say it's one of those bikes that is not one I remember... at all?
Roy.
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Old 02-01-2009, 08:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi Roy...
I wouild appeciate any info you can round up on this Bike.
I noticed you are in Derby. Is Derby in Derbyshire? If so any where close to Barlborough?

Thanks, Dusty
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Dusty, you need to make plans to be at New Ulm on the weekend after Mother's day. not too far for you.

25th Annual BMOA British & European Rallye
http://www.bmoaonline.com/pdfs/2009/...009%20BMOA.pdf

DON'T miss this if at all possible.
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:46 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Dusty, I actually heard a twin Triumph dragster make a couple of runs back in the Sixties, and I agree about the sound. I have never heard anything like it before or since. In fact, when I first posted about the twin engine drag bikes some time ago, I know I mentioned that unforgettable sound.

I bet the explosion when one engine would backfire and break the connecting chain was pretty exciting too. I'm not surprised you got only five runs out of them, in fact I'm surprised you did get five runs out of them.

How did you match the timing on the engines? Were the cranks turning in synch or were they phased?
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Old 02-02-2009, 10:30 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Answers to a couple of comments...

Grandpaulz, I have been in touch with Dave Smith in Lumberton, and he has been keeping me pumped up about the New Ulm Rally. If all goes well I will be there. I need to get back in the Circle.

Bob Kizer (PODtronics)and I have been keeping in touch on some technical issues, and he has also mentioned it....I haven't started on the bike project yet, so if I can find a trailer, I may load it up and bring it with me to New Ulm.

Chris, the timing was a trial and error thing...it took 2 of us to "Re-time" the engines after shredding the primary chain.

Sitting on the bike, the left front cylinder would fire, then the right rear, then the left rear, then the right front. There had been different timing patterns tried, but Dwain went along with the mechanics that the above was the best and we adopted that scheme as the one that worked best...And Billy said it felt the smoothest...

We also ran a single engine fuel burner named Grandma, that ran almost as fast as the Deuce, also piloted by Billy. Although Dwain was letting Jim Thorne (another mechanic) and me try it out to see if we would be a good pilot for Grandma.

If only we had of known then what we were actually involved in....

You know, the old "Hind Sight Theory".....
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