A Sheene Trophy debut win for this Triumph T150 – 77MM
It happened. We got to witness a Barry Sheene Trophy motorcycle race at the 77th Members’ Meeting, and after the disappointment of last year, the bikers were treated to some glorious Goodwood sunshine for the weekend’s only two-wheeled race.
Once the flag dropped, a grid full of Formula 750 motorcycles hurtled off into Madgwick with intent, and right within the front three was the Triumph T150 owned by Paul Bowling and ridden by the frightfully-quick Graham Higlett, who had stuck the 1972 Triumph on pole the day before.
It wouldn’t be a complete walk-in-the-park for Higlett though and the number 70 Honda Smith CR750 got a fantastic start to take an early lead. As it turned out, the 2019 Barry Sheene Trophy would be plagued with mechanicals, yet after several consistent flying laps from Higlett, and trouble for number 70, the Triumph T150 would come home to take the win.
Remarkably, after catching up with a jubilant Paul Bowing, the owner of the bike, we learnt that it was a debut Goodwood appearance, and win for both Higlett and the Triumph T150. Quite the achievement.
“We came on Monday and practised, and Graham loved the circuit. It's so fast and flowing. I asked him what gear he was going around certain bends on. And he replied, 'you don't, you just go flat out...'. So that was a bit of a learning curve for me!”
Owner Paul Bowling was making his Goodwood debut here too, riding a Triumph T150, finishing in a respectable 7th place.
“We started racing the T150 I’ve been riding today and going for Championships, but it started to get a bit long in the tooth. So, we got Graham’s bike only about 3 years ago. It’s a Triumph Triple 1971/72. Fitted with a six-speed gearbox and a P&M frame, which means you can fit it with 1970s Japanese carburettors. They give a bit more mid-power, and they don't wear out like the old British ones”.
“It's a reliable bike. You can't win if you don't finish races”. A telling point, especially as 11 bikes would drop out throughout Sunday’s race.
“Really, it's down to Paul, who I call an engineer, rather than a mechanic. He's very meticulous. He thinks the whole time, and he prepares them. He's probably still thinking now how to improve it, even after the win. Secondly, it’s the rider. Graham is very talented”.
Having said all that Paul Bowling himself experienced some mechanical issues during his Barry Sheene Trophy battles throughout the midfield.
“They are famous for leaking oil. I had gear change trouble, and that was because of the oil. I asked Paul the engineer where it was coming from, and he just shrugged and said 'everywhere'.
It covered my left foot and made the gear change very slippy. But actually, it meant I had a fun battle with a Honda. We must have passed each other 7 or 8 times, until I decided he wouldn’t get me again! So that made it more interesting”.
Most importantly, Paul and Graham are keen to express their gratitude for being involved in what turned out to be a very special Members’ Meeting. And you get a genuine sense of camaraderie and good old-fashioned family values amongst the bike paddocks, arguably more than any other category.
“I have to say, all the staff, marshals, stewards, everybody. From the campsite to the circuit. Everyone has been so friendly and helpful. It's made for a really good weekend”.
In terms of future plans, Paul and Graham, buoyed by the performance of the Triumph T150, have already set their sights on the 2019 Formula 750 Championship, and judging by their pace and reliability at 77MM, we’d be confident putting some money against them too.
Photography by James Lynch and Jochen Van Cauwenberge.