Record-breaking Triumph sidecar celebration

The 50th anniversary of Norman Hyde’s land speed record on his Triumph Roadrunner III outfit will be celebrated at the National Motorcycle Museum on Saturday, September 24.

Hyde captured the World Sidecar Land Speed Record in 1972, driving his home-built Roadrunner III to an average speed of 161.8mph at RAF Fairford – a record that remained unbeaten for more than 35 years.  Norman worked as a development engineer at Triumph’s Meriden factory at the time and used his experience to uprate the Triumph Trident engine that powered his outfit, enlarging it to 831cc and adding a supercharger.

Norman Hyde on his way to becoming the fastest sidecar rider on the world on his nitro-methanol burning 830cc Trident-powered outfit Roadrunner III at RAF Fairford on September 24, 1972. 

Roadrunner III was added to the National Motorcycle Museum’s collection in the 1980s, but was one of the hundreds of machines that was severely damaged when fire tore through the building in September 2003. Fortunately the bodywork, handmade in aluminium by Don Woodward, was in storage at the time and survived. The bike itself was painstakingly restored by Don’s brother, John, and Roadrunner III is now on permanent display in the museum.

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Roadrunner III was one of the 380 machines that was severely damaged when fire tore through the National Motorcycle Museum in September 2003. It was painstakingly restored by John Woodward (left), whose late brother Don made the original bodywork by hand, Here’s Norman with John and the restored Roadrunner III. 

Hyde’s anniversary coincides with Triumph’s 120th jubilee celebrations and Norman, now 77, will be at the Museum on Saturday, September 24 from 10am to 3.30pm – 50 years to the day the he broke the record using the Trident engine. The Triumph Owners’ Motor Cycle Club is organising a ride-in, with a concours competition for members’ bikes judged by Norman. He will give a talk about his death-defying high-speed ride on three wheels, followed by a question and answer session. He will also be signing original Triumph postcards, made to commemorate the achievement, to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK.

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