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1955 Triumph Daytona Pictures

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Many thanks to Shawn Fisher for this memorable picture and the words below:

Here’s a picture of my Dad around the age of 21 in 1959. I beleive it was taken at the Fond Du Lac Fairgrounds, where he was racing in the novice class. The bike is a 1955 Triumph Daytona Factory racer, 500cc 4 cycle vertical twin which belonged to Roy Mayhood of Don and Roys Cycle shop. The bike was later sold to Jeff Gunther who unfortunately passed away later that year with a heart attack. From that point it was acquired by one of Don and Roy’s mechanics Dennis Schiller. (not sure if that is the right name) , and the jackets is Langlet’s. I’ve lost the jacket and used the helmet forever as a kid. My earliest memories are sitting on the tank and riding down the street in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.

It was tough to race the English bikes in those days according to my Dad, apparently the Class allowed for 45 cu in bikes which meant that all the Harleys had an advantage since they had a 750cc version flathead design where Triumph’s and BSA’s Daytona’s were 500cc. The BSA Goldstar seemed to do better in the dirt since the had a single thumper. They also had a twin though it was rarely raced, my Dad recalled one guy that ran one, but was not too successful.

Another bike he rode was a German NSU that he used in the Class A races. This allowed for a lot more modifications, so they took a “rigid” frame and put a new NSU motor on it. (no rear suspension)

With the Triumph my Dad placed 1st in about 10 races and 2nd, 3rd in several more. He taught me to hate Harley’s because of this unfair advantage he described, but then many years later he admitted how much he liked them. Needless to say, it left me confused and dazed after having been taught all my life to like the European bikes. I have been in counseling ever since and have finally come to terms with the fact that Harley’s have a history of great bikes.

In 1960, after a couple of years of racing across the country my father asked Ralph Burnt who was an owner and mechanic for Carroll Reswebber (4 time AMA Grand National Champion #1) if he could ride on his team. He agreed to give him a shot and gave him a bike at which point they went to Illiana Speedway in Schereville, Indiana. This was the first time Dad raced a Harley. (KR750 – factory racer) He placed 2nd in the first heat race, but in the final is where things went bad. In the race he was running 3rd when he moved up to 2nd position only to be hit from behind by number 3. Mr. Number 3′s bike took out his rear spokes sending my Dad head over heels down the track. The officials black flagged the race and then later called it over. Dad woke up the next day with some rather serious injuries that took several months to recuperate from.

All in all, my Dad is the greatest”

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  • Year: 1955
  • Decade: 1950s
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5 Responses to “1955 Triumph Daytona”

  1. Bob Buchanan on March 18, 2013 @ 10:21 pm

    Hi Mr.Fisher:

    In the 1990s I bought in Wisconsin and now restored a 1955 Triumph T100R # 59104 flat tracker. About a year ago I saw this picture taken near where I purchased the basket case bike,and had finished it with the 40G number as I thought it may be the same bike. Then I was told about two months ago that it was raced by David Becker of Racine Wisconsin with AMA # 63G in 1956-58. He raced at 1956 Daytona 100 mile (dnf ) and was 8 th out of 9 in first heat race class B at 1956 Springfield mile.

    Thanks Bob Buchanan

  2. Dennis Scheller on April 7, 2014 @ 12:05 am

    Hi Bob,

    Actually, the rider in the photograph was Butch Fisher on the 1955 T100R that I think, is the one that has a silver frame which was cadmium plated. But, I’m not certain that it might be yours. Let me discuss what I remember of those good days.

    Roy Mayhood bought this T100R from the Triumph Corporation in Baltimore in 1955. He was competing as a green plate novice even though he had achieved the Expert class in TT in the early ’50s as did Done Horne.

    At the Cedarburg race in Spring 1955 or 1956, he went down and was run over by George Gerndt riding a KR and had his pelvis broken with subsequent problems. He was unable to walk for over a year. George, who was one of our friends, was unable to miss him.

    The fuel tank was crushed by his chest and the upper frame tubes were pushed down approximately 3 in. I worked for Don Horne and Roy from 1956 through 1965 and took apart the bike after it was unused for a few years, replaced the front frame section and fuel tank but most everything else was OK.

    Then, Roy had Butch Fisher, who was an excellent and fast rider, ride it for a couple years, I think 1958 to1960 until he rode one of Ralph Berndt’s KR’s only to hit the armaco fence in 1960 at Shererville and destroyed a lot of his face. This was bad, I was there and it ended his career. But, afterwards, I understand that he joined the Witnesses along with Eddie Clifford and devoted much time to the congregation.

    I bought the T100R from Roy and, after completely rebuilding it to factory specs, replaced the screwed up frame and rode it in 1960 and 1961. In 1961, I installed the AMA approved 9/1 pistons, lightened many parts and improved the cylinder head flow but retained the 1 in. GP carburetors and E3134 camshafts which, in total, increased the torque big time. However, I had to ride “over my head” to win or place high so it seemed that it was try to go even faster or quit.

    Subsequently, I started college and sold it to Jeff Guenther, a high school friend and I increased the engine displacement to 37 cubic in. as requested by Jeff before he road it at Spingfield 1962. It was very fast and bullet proof as long as it was not abused.

    In 1963, Jeff Died at 22 yrs due to an enlarged heart. Jim Koplinski and most all of the cycle shop friends attended the funeral. Not my best day.

    Then Dennis Decker, another Don and Roy’s mechanic, bought it and became an expert with my passed on number of 55G. It no longer was fast since it was blown up, had some rediculous high lift and big overlap cams and larger bore carburetors which moved the torque up to a high rpm range and actually reduced useable HP.

    Afterwards, I think that even Ted Keiper had it but it eventually ended up in John Giorno’s museum in Kenosha, WI. This was in the mid 70″s I believe.

    I remember Dave Becker but I think that he was riding one Hansen’s Scouts or a Gold Star during the years you mention.

    If you ever want to talk or by email, please email me at ds8899@outlook.com.


    • Rick Peltz on June 11, 2014 @ 9:41 pm

      Dennis, could you please drop me a line @ rpeltz@mac.com?

    • DON LENHARDT on August 1, 2014 @ 3:12 am

      Hi Dennis, I think I found this webpage googling don&roys New Berlin. I was coming in the shop in the early 60′s I was only 17 I lived near Karl Nielson and bought a 60 t120sc. a few years later I bought the 56 thunderbird Karl had built. I remember meeting Jim Koplinski and Eddie Clifford and some of the other names sound familiar. I seem to remember 3 mechanics in the back room, maybe that was you and Dennis Decker and Karl. Those were great times for a young times for a young kid, with also sadness. I had become good friends with Cliff Saltzman who lived next to the shop and was killed in a accident. I met a lot of good people at the shop, I remember Roy being a fine man. Like you mentioned to Bob Buchanan those were good days. dlenhardt9@aol.com

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