One thing that Triumph figured out a long time ago in their quest for power and speed– if one engine is good, then 2 engines is even better. In the ’50s & ’60s Triumph motorcycles dominated the Salt Flats, even naming their 1959 T120 ‘Bonneville’ after the famed proving grounds. Now Triumph is back in a bid to reclaim Bonneville with the fierce as f**k twin-engined ‘Castrol Rocket’ developed by Castrol, Hot Rod Conspiracy, Carpenter Racing, and Triumph North America. The result is hands-down the world’s most technologically-advanced streamlined motorcycle.
The ‘Dubble Trubble’, built in 1953 by legendary racer Bud Hare, was a beastly Triumph twin-engined motorcycle that dominated the drag strips during the 1950s with a top speed of 142.38 mph. The dual 40 cu. in. displacement engines were fed through a Harley-Davidson hand-shift gearbox with foot clutch. Only two gears are used– second and high. None other than Von Dutch himself painted the lettering on the legendary Triumph’s tank. See more…
The Legendary Parasite– T110 twin engine dragster built by John Melnizuk Sr. and raced by Tommy Grazias, and later John himself, who coaxed a top speed of 150 MPH out of the beast. In 1959, The Parasite won Daytona running a 10:42 ET at over 142 mph in the quarter mile, and making the front page of the local newspaper. See more…
Stormy Mangham was an airline pilot and aero engineer with a speed addiction, and Jack Wilson was a young motorcycle tuner of Triumph engines. Together they set out to build a motorcycle to topple the Germans’ stranglehold on the motorcycle land speed record. The project began to take shape at Mangham’s small Fort Worth airfield where he constructed a unique, projectile-shaped streamliner named The Devil’s Arrow. Housed inside Stormy’s lightweight frame was the Wilson-tuned Thunderbird 650 engine. In September 1956, 27-year-old flat-tracker Johnny Allen climbed inside Stormy’s streamlined chassis with Wilson’s methanol-burning vertical twin engine and special race-rated Dunlop tires and prepared to embark on a historic record run. The Devil’s Arrow shot across the Bonneville Salt Flats, setting the new absolute speed record of 193.7 mph. The FIM’s refusal to ratify an AMA-sanctioned record didn’t seem to matter. As far as anyone in America knew, a Triumph-powered streamliner was the world’s fastest motorcycle. See more…
Triumph’s 15-year world speed domination reached its peak when legendary automotive designer Alex Tremulis teamed with Triumph Detroit Dealer Bob Leppan, and they unveiled their futuristic Gyronaut X-1 in 1965. Cutting-edge features included a chrome-moly frame, active landing struts, a roll-bar, anti-fire freon bottles, specially-designed Goodyear 250 mph+ tires, a racing harness for pilot Bob Leppan and a parachute. Power was provided by two highly-modified 641cc TR6 engines creating 70 hp each and redlining at 8200 rpm. The bike, which included a three-piece fiberglass shell, cost $100,000. The Gyronaut broke the (gasoline-powered) record at 217.624 before crashing. After extensive repairs and a few modifications, the biked returned to Bonneville in 1966 with better handling and slightly more horsepower to become the “World’s Fastest Motorcycle” at 245.667 mph, a record Triumph held until 1970. See more…
The Castrol Rocket –Photo courtesy of Triumph North America.
The Castrol Rocket is unique in that it’s a 1,000-horsepower motorcycle built like a fighter jet. The goal is an eventual 400-mph-plus record-breaking run. The current American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) motorcycle land speed record is 376.156 mph, set in 2010, by Rocky Robinson with the Ack Attack streamliner.
“Castrol has been actively involved with land speed racing on multiple platforms across the globe and since competitors started running at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1914,” said Rob Corini, Brand Manager, Castrol Motorcycle and Powersports Products. “The Castrol Rocket personifies our heritage as a performance brand, with an incredible balance of power and aerodynamics, and is capable of amazing speeds. It’s the ultimate symbol of performance.”
A shared passion for land speed racing brought aerodynamic engineer Matt Markstaller, engine builder Bob Carpenter and Daytona 200 winner Jason DiSalvo together. The cross-country team – from Oregon, New Jersey and Alabama respectively – quickly discovered a shared interest to create and race the world’s fastest motorcycle. The Castrol Rocket is their labor of love – an homage to the high-performance heritage of Castrol and Triumph.
“Land speed racing is the purest form of motorsport. It’s about bringing all of your ingenuity, resources and determination together for a constant battle against the elements,” said pilot Jason DiSalvo. “The salt surface has little traction. The wind pushes against you from every side. But what’s really special about Bonneville Land Speed Racing is the people. The conditions are so challenging that for the past 100 years, racers with little else in common, have banded together to support and encourage each other to become the world’s fastest.”
The Triumph name has been synonymous with speed since its four record-breaking motorcycle records with Devil’s Arrow, Texas Cee-gar, Dudek/Johnson and Gyronaut X1. From 1955 to 1970, with the exception of a brief 33-day period, Triumph was “The World’s Fastest Motorcycle.” The Castrol Rocket aims to restore that title.
CASTROL ROCKET SPECS:
- Chassis: Carbon Kevlar monocoque
- Dimensions: 25’ x 2’ x 3’
- Engines: Two Triumph Rocket III engines
- Horsepower: 1,000-plus-horsepower at 9,000 rpm
- Torque: 500-plus lbs. combined
- Suspension: Custom made by Hot Rod Conspiracy
- Fuel: Methanol
- Tires: Goodyear Land Speed Special
- Engine Lubricant: Castrol Power RS™ 4T 10W-40 full synthetic oil
Yup ! When one won’t do … make it two 😉 Triumph got that one down early in the game . Fingers crossed for the Castrol Rocket !
finally something that can outpace a zx14 or zzr in the US. Very nice British racing green, I think that was the original company colour
Very cool JP. I interviewed Jason DiSalvo for my podcast at Barber Motorsports Park earlier this year at the AMA races and then again at the Barber Vintage Festival a few weeks ago. Both times part of our discussions centered around his recent and upcoming efforts at Bonneville. It’s easy to see that Jason has really been bitten by the ‘salt bug’. Thanks for another great post.
Jason seems like a cool guy from what I’ve read on him. Lucky to have met him in the flesh, you are.
376 on two wheels? He would need wheelbarrows to cart his ………
That is insanity…interesting piece though!!!
thanks for putting the parasite in. tommy grazias is 83 years old now. he wants triumph to get the record back. good luck jason, castrol and the triumph team
Guy, it’s an honor and I hope Triumph gets the record back!