XTR Pepo’s BSA might be a thinly-dis­guised Tri­umph, but this lat­est gem from the man in Madrid evokes great bri­tish rac­ing her­itage beau­ti­fully


We fea­tured Pepo Rosell’s amaz­ing Bul­taco street racer in the May is­sue of Clas­sic Bike and couldn’t re­sist find­ing space for this ‘BSA’ that he’s cre­ated. Pepo prides him­self on build­ing ag­gres­sive-look­ing café rac­ers – bikes that are jacked up at the back and pivot on their nose. His sharp-steer­ing ethos comes from his pas­sion for the race track. His ‘BSA Rocket 3’ – which is ac­tu­ally built around a Hinck­ley Tri­umph – cap­tures all his pas­sion and also en­cap­su­lates the her­itage of two of Bri­tain’s most fa­mous mo­tor­cy­cle brands. Time for a lit­tle his­tory les­son...

In 1969 Tri­umph’s rac­ing engi­neer Doug Hele be­gan de­vel­op­ment work on a new 750cc three-cylin­der ma­chine to race in the bur­geon­ing For­mula 750 class. The triples, run in BSA and Tri­umph colours, fea­tured spe­cial rac­ing frames made by Rob North. They were hugely suc­cess­ful for a short pe­riod in the new class, rac­ing against bikes like the 750 Nor­ton twins, Honda CB750 and two-stroke scream­ers like the 500 Kawasaki triples, 500 Suzuki twins and the gi­ant-killing 350cc Yamaha. Dick Mann won the 1971 Day­tona 200 on one of the BSAS, while Gene Romero and Don Emde com­pleted the podium on Tri­umphs. But prob­a­bly the most fa­mous vic­tory came at the Mal­lory Park Race of the Year when lo­cal hero John Cooper took his BSA – which was a pro­duc­tion-based ma­chine – to a le­gendary vic­tory over Gi­a­como Agos­tini on the mighty and ex­otic 500cc MV Agusta Grand Prix racer.

Pepo Rosell’s café racer triple pays homage to Cooper’s Rocket 3. The donor ma­chine is a year-2000 Tri­umph Leg­end TT 900 with Oh­lins fork and yokes from a Tri­umph Day­tona 675R, Brembo ra­dial calipers and brake discs. The rear caliper and disc, as well as the car­bon-fi­bre front mud­guard are also from a Tri­umph Day­tona 675R.

Pepo’s per­sonal in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the ‘Rocket 3’ has the same grace­ful curves as Rob North’s rac­ing Triples – but the Spa­niard’s creation fea­tures a mas­sive, arch­ing back­bone whereas the orig­i­nal race bike sported a more tra­di­tional tubu­lar frame. The stock frame has been mod­i­fied and Pepo has added an XTR ‘mono­tubo’ sub­frame with a tiny hump seat with styling cues taken from early Yamaha TD2/3 and TR2/3 two-stroke seats.

The swingarm is also mod­i­fied and takes a YSS shock. Wheels are Tri­umph Day­tona 675R alu­minium forged items, front and rear.

Pepo is renowned for his at­ten­tion to de­tail and eye-pop­ping parts. The clip-on han­dle­bars were Cnc­ma­chined and then treated to Brembo ra­dial brake and clutch mas­ter cylin­ders from a Du­cati 1098, XTR ad­justable and fold­able levers and Domino quick-open throt­tle. The brake lines are by Fren­tubo. He opted for a Mo­to­gad­get dash­board in­side the XTR fair­ing and wind­shield. The fuel tank is from a Suzuki Ban­dit – though it’s so heav­ily mod­i­fied you’d be hard­pressed to recog­nise it – and he’s added a Laverda filler cap.

The mo­tor is ba­si­cally stan­dard, although Pepo has ported the cylin­der head. The ex­haust sys­tem con­sists of mod­i­fied down­pipes from a Tri­umph Speed Triple, fin­ished off with one of his much-loved Su­per­mario mega­phones.

The old-school BSA liv­ery was ap­plied by Pin­tu­moto, to un­der­score what is a great trib­ute to John Cooper’s Agos­tini-beat­ing BSA Rocket 3 of 1971. *If you want to see more of Pepo’s work, there’s a port­fo­lio of his re­cent Du­cati cus­tom builds in is­sue six of Built mag­a­zine, one sale now.


Above: A fine source of in­spi­ra­tion – a BSA Rocket 3 with John Cooper on it

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