1974 1700cc Gulf Norton 271mph at Bonneville

Motorbike Mad Long Tee1974 1700cc Gulf Norton

271mph at Bonneville

In the autumn1974, this streamliner was taken to Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah to attack the absolute speed record for motorcycles, which stood at 265.49mph. The chassis and body shell were built by Denis Manning, whose earlier Harley-Davidson projectile had set that record with road racer Cal Rayborn at the controls.

Gulf Norton

Originally run with two 750cc Triumph engines, it exceeded 270mph in 1973 but was not reliable enough to complete the two consecutive runs in opposite directions needed for an official record. Norton boss Dennis Poore, who had taken control of BSA/Triumph in 1973, offered 850cc Commando engines and obtained backing for a record attempt from Gulf Oil. Using an early form of fuel injection, the engines produced around 200bhp. Boris Murray, a drag racer with Salt Flats experience, made record attempts but again the problem was getting two back-to-back runs. Despite being timed at 271mph one-way, the Norton failed to take the record before Don Vesco arrived at Bonneville to hoist it to 281.7mph in a streamliner with two 700cc Yamaha engines.

Gulf Norton

Norton abandoned the project and the machine was sold. In 2003 Roy Richards' asked Keith Martin, who oversaw restoration of the Triumph and Norton streamliners, to search for this machine. It was found in Europe and restored to 1974 condition at Martin's Big D Cycle shop in Dallas, Texas.

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