Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bill Baird's 1968 Triumph T100

In the mid-1960s, Motorcycle Hall of Famer Bill Baird ruled the AMA National Enduro circuit, riding Triumph machines to seven straight Grand National Enduro Championships.
And this bike, a 1968 Triumph T100C, was the one that carried Baird to his last—and perhaps most impressive—title. That’s because it came at a time when many of his competitors were giving up on their heavy machines and going with new, light-weight, purpose-built woods racers, including new-school European two-strokes.

But Baird did not make the switch. For his ’68 campaign, the champ stuck with the 500cc, 340-pound, vertical-twin Triumphs that had been so successful for years. Surprisingly, he made few modifications for enduro duty.
“I made my own air cleaner, and ’68 was the only year that I put on the Ceriani forks,” Baird says. “It was pretty well stock, other than that. Stock gearing. Stock motor. I did saw down the handlebars so I could get through the trees faster.”
Baird says he had no trouble keeping up with the lighter bikes.

“The Husqvarna was just getting popular, and Honda was coming around, but when I got into a battle in the woods, I always seemed to be able to out-maneuver them,” Baird says, attributing a lot of that to the twin’s broad power. “It would take you over any log in second, and it would still run 40-50 mph in the same gear.”
It all worked great in ’68. Baird won four nationals that year, including the prestigious Jack Pine Enduro, to sew up his final championship.

Baird retired a champion after that season, although he did race a few individual events in 1969. The seven-time champ continued to stay involved with the sport, serving on the AMA Board of Trustees, now the Board of Directors, for 21 years and playing a key role in the founding of the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation in 1982, which established the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in 1990.
Courtesy of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame

No comments:

Post a Comment