When is a Triumph Bonneville not actually a Bonneville? When it’s a Thunderbird T6 that raced and wowed the Bonneville salt flats in the sport’s golden era, that’s when. A full 6 years before the model name was dreamt up, a 13-year-old Californian named Bobby Sirkegian…
Me, I’m a guy who likes to plan. I like to draw and concept. I like colour swatches and mood boards and paint samples. I like to give myself plenty of time to tweak and stare and think. I like Photoshop because I can try hundreds of different ideas in a short period of time and choose the one I like the best. I like symmetry and geometry and precise measurements. I do things “just in case”. I budget and I scheme and I think and I think and I think. And after all that I still find that the end result of my toilings can often times be just as average as the next guy. That’s why I’m totally envious of guys like Kendall Lutchman – guys who can grab a bunch of old hotrod spares, junk tanks, scrap steel and only the most fleeting of plans in his obviously sharp mind and build a last-minute bike that cleans up at two bike shows in two days. Just goes to show – the gut beats the head every time.
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Depending on what floats your boat, you will eventually make the pilgrimage to your ‘Mecca’. If you are a surfer, then you will take on the waves at Teahupoo. If you’re an Elvis fan, then you will shuffle your blue suede shoes to Gracelands. And if you are a motorhead, then you will take your speed machine to the Bonneville salt flats, like many did a few weeks ago. One of those people was Alp Sungurtekin, who took his purpose built bike, a 1952 Pre-Unit 650cc Triumph Thunderbird. The bike is named ‘Kursed’ – because of all the things that went wrong with it. He really had to race the clock to have it finished on time. Actually, he was still working on it up until the final hours of leaving for the legendary salty race strip. This is how Alp describes his time at Speedweek and the pursuit of his own personal land speed record.
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