BACK GARDEN FIND
My mate Barry and I were still at school in 1969, which meant that our motorcycles were run on a shoestring. One day we went to see a Royal Enfield 250 Clipper with no engine in a garden – its engine had seized, been rebuilt, seized again, then partly stripped and left in a tin chest in the garage. I agreed on a price and became the new owner. I finished the rebuild in spring, 1970, although various gearbox faults developed and I couldn’t stop the rocker cover gasket leaking oil.
Then I noticed an article in a motorcycle magazine which mentioned a Royal Enfield/ Triumph special constructed by Jack Gray (of Gander & Gray in London) to race. Parts were available to enable enthusiasts to create a Trifield of their own. I was hooked and sent for a list. Now a structural steelwork apprentice with improved spending power, I bought a Triumph 350cc T21 engine from a local dismantlers, which I had rebored and fitted new valve guides and exhaust valves. Parts ordered from Gander & Gray were made to a high standard and fitting the T21 engine into the frame was easy with the engine plates kit supplied. Being a softly-tuned engine, it would pull smoothly from low revs and top speed was just over 70mph. Handling was taut and roadholding excellent. Later, I often wished I’d used a T90 or 5TA engine, but the idea of building a 650 TRIBSA was already forming in my mind... Peter Clark