Track test: racing triumph
Triumph as a racing version
Whether in the Supersport World Championship or in cup races – the British three-cylinder engines always sound great. But that’s just one of its advantages, as editor Ralf Schneider found out during an exclusive test drive in Valencia.
Chaz Davies, a young Welshman, is the regular driver of this Daytona 675 in the Supersport World Championship, and he’s gone. Stop by every now and then, briefly answer a few questions, smile vaguely, leave again. You can tell how he is already concentrating on his own test drive in the afternoon, the first with this motorcycle here in Valencia.
There is constant movement in the pit of the BE1 team. Abundant nervousness is generously passed on. Would I have a racing license or at least accident insurance? One of them says I should take care of the engine, not turn it too high. The other warns of low-speed driving. The spark plugs, they could "approach". Can I really cope with the reversed switching scheme? When starting off, I should only let the clutch slip briefly. And the tires are preheated, but the first right turn after five left … Stop, quickly tape off the radiator. And that with the circuit diagram …
I’m off. Now only the Daytona speaks to me. To those who drive it, it sounds quieter than to outsiders, and although it still has a powerful voice, it has a pleasant timbre. The all-that-goes tuning, which has to be for the Supersport World Championship, has given the three-cylinder a marked increase in power and torque, which must be somewhere between 7000 and 8000 rpm, maybe even higher. I can’t say where exactly, from the tachometer I only noticed the gearshift lights.
Below the bend is the area for the pit lane, above for the track, but I don’t keep this separation on the first lap. And promptly in the short uphill section at the beginning of the long left turn, the penultimate of the lap, the front wheel snaps upwards when changing lean angles. In the corner of my right eye a photographer drops the camera in shock. It’s a shame, no wheelie photo again. Close the gas, the front wheel dabs and it goes on. The explanation for the front wheel gate is given afterwards by Chaz ?? mechanic. "If you cross the threshold from below, our engine builds up a lot of torque very quickly. The guys turn higher and translate the motorcycle so that they are always on the sloping part of the torque curve in tricky passages."
The World Cup Daytona drives with the precision of a circle.
Fortunately, Chaz is 1.82 meters tall. That is pretty much my size too, and this fact gives me a comfortable seating position on his motorcycle. According to racing standards. A standard Daytona carries the handlebars fairly low; the world championship machine even seems to accommodate its driver a little further. Perhaps that is also due to the set-up that the bike retained from the opening race in Philip Island, Australia. "We tried everything", he describes the difficult way to twelfth place and rolls his eyes. "Springs, damping, balance, levers – the whole range. I didn’t get it the way I wanted. We ended up doing them pretty hard, especially up front. So I could at least in the fast "turn number one" keep it clean. You can make up a lot of time there."
I can understand that, but hardly use it. Understandable because I’m significantly heavier than the lanky Mr. Davies and the fork still dictates every bump in my wrists individually. Hardly use, because I’m not a hero on the brakes anyway and the good Chaz apparently burned out the brake discs when braking into the notorious downhill right of Phillip Island. Because when braking for corner number one in Valencia, it rubs and pulsates quite hard up there. Predictable is different, so I prefer to brake lightly and early. That rounds off the line and explains why the spy on the fork still shows plenty of remaining spring travel on the lead photo.
And it eases the tension. By the way, I realize how wonderful it is right now. It just feels wonderful to cruise around with such a high-profile car, to feel how brilliantly it accelerates with its almost 150 hp and around 170 kg, to get an idea of the enormous grip a World Cup-compatible tire builds up. Without the pressure of having to be successful in this sparsely populated, but extremely acute racing series. It is part of the dramaturgy of such "test drive", that it is finished before the driver has got used to the motorcycle, possibly demanding too much. So this time too. But every meter was a pleasure.
Head down, speed up. The old rule applies particularly to motorcycles with no fairing.
A souped-up Street Triple is served like a tasty dessert after the World Cup machine. It is the operational device for the Triumph ParkinGO European Series, a championship held in seven races on identical motorcycles as part of the European races for the Superbike World Championship. Thanks to the open Arrow exhaust, it also has a strong voice, but with 110 hp it does not crack as much as the upgraded Daytona. It doesn’t need more horsepower either. Driving on the racetrack is a gymnastic challenge on this motorcycle even with a slightly higher standard performance. Because of the wide and high handlebars, the driver almost always has to crouch low and bring as much weight forward as possible in order to keep the front end in full contact with the road. At the beginning of every braking, when entering a curve and when accelerating anyway. Where the World Cup Daytona gives in steadfastly and with the precision of a circle, the front section of the light-footed triple always fiddles around a bit. And while the Daytona keeps its sights on the next bend even if it rattles off the previous one on the curbs, the Street Triple nudges you every time with a few steering movements. Everything is not bad and in the friendly match with a committed colleague it was even very fun, but noticeable.
By the way: Whatever Chaz found out in terms of setup helped him finish third in the Valencia race. On a motorcycle that was mine for a few laps.
Technical data Triumph Daytona 675 (Supersport World Championship)
The Triumph-Daytona 675 is driven by Chaz Davies, fourth in the Supersport World Championship.
Three-cylinder in-line engine, 74 x 52.3 mm, 675 cm³, approx. 150 HP at 15000 rpm, 74 Nm at 11500 rpm
Aluminum bridge frame, two-arm swing arm made of cast aluminum, front upside-down fork, rear spring strut with lever deflection Weight: 162 kg without petrol
Technical data Triumph Street Triple R (European Series)
The Truimph Street Triple R for the Street Triple Series.
Three-cylinder in-line engine, 74 x 52.3 mm, 675 cm³, approx. 110 HP at 11700 / min, approx. 68 Nm at 9100 / min
Aluminum bridge frame, two-arm swing arm made of cast aluminum, front upside-down fork, rear spring strut with lever deflection Weight: approx. 175 kg with a full tank
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