Good­bye, Percy

Classic Racer - - PADDOCK GOSSIP -

Mo­tor­cy­cle sport lost a true leg­end when Percy Tait passed away on Novem­ber 17, aged 90.

Percy will be best re­mem­bered for the part he played in the suc­cess of Tri­umph in rac­ing and also the de­vel­op­ment work he did on the com­pany’s road ma­chines.

Percy joined Tri­umph aged 21 and soon pro­gressed to the ex­per­i­men­tal depart­ment, which led to his suc­cess­ful race ca­reer.

Never to be for­got­ten rac­ing mo­ments in­clude the 1969 Bel­gian Grand Prix at Spa Fran­cor­champs, when Percy, rid­ing the fac­tory pre­pared Tri­umph Day­tona, led world cham­pion Gi­a­como Agos­tini for three laps, even­tu­ally fin­ish­ing sec­ond with an av­er­age speed of 116mph.

Percy also played his part in chris­ten­ing the leg­endary Slip­pery Samtri­umph Tri­dent af­ter a faulty oil pump cov­ered him in oil in the 1971 Bol d’or 24 Hour Race.

It wasn’t just Tri­umph that Percy en­joyed suc­cess on, or played a part in de­vel­op­ing. In 1976 he was hired by Suzuki to help de­velop the RG500 and TR750 race bikes and he took a

TR750 to vic­tory in the 1976 North West 200.

He fi­nally re­tired from rac­ing af­ter a nasty spill at Bal­laspur dur­ing that year’s TT 10 lap Pro­duc­tion Race.

From road rac­ing it was on to rare breed sheep breed­ing on his Worces­ter­shire farm – and Percy con­tin­ued his win­ning ways at all the top agri­cul­tural shows.

Clas­sic Racer plans a full length trib­ute to Percy Tait in a fu­ture is­sue.

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