“This is a dream come true,” Falklands veteran Simon Weston CBE said of the crowdfunded Triumph trike presented to him a few days before his 60th birthday. “I can’t thank all the people who made this happen enough.”
The project to get Weston onto three wheels started in 2019 when Weston, who was severely injured aged 20 in 1982 when the RFA Sir Galahad was bombed and set on fire near the Falkland Islands, met former Meriden Triumph engineer and world speed record holder Norman Hyde. Weston told him that he’d love a trike like the one he’d seen ridden by Billy Connolly on TV.
“Knowing what Simon had given to our country, and knowing what good people there are in the bike world, I immediately said ‘Leave it to me, I’ll fix it!'” Hyde recounted. He then organised crowdfunding, receiving donations from individuals and the trade. Triumph Motorcycles donated a T120 Bonneville to use for the conversion, and the Triumph Owners MCC made a substantial contribution, as did the Duke of Richmond (the Goodwood Estate) and the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA). LS2 donated a helmet, and Held clothing is making some bespoke gloves to suit Weston’s missing fingers.
Trike Design of Caerphilly, South Wales (co-incidentally Weston’s home town), a specialist in three-wheeler conversions and adaptation for disabled riders, was chosen to perform the conversion of Triumph to trike. Owner Hank Hancock adapted the Triumph to the firm’s latest Brookland Sport design, with 17in rear wheels, independent suspension, an anti-roll bar and final transmission from the chain to twin shafts via a central differential. Robin Davies designed and fitted the specially-adapted controls. Kliktronic electric gear shifting means that Weston can change up with a finger on his right hand and down with his left thumb and foot pedals control the throttle, brakes and clutch. A winch motor provides for reversing when needed.
The presentation of the machine to Weston was held on Trike Design’s forecourt. In attendance were Triumph Owners MCC chairman Ken Talbot and several club members, Max Roberts of Triumph Motorcycles, Dave Priddle of LS2 and two motorcycle-mounted officers from the national police-run initiative BikeSafe; PC Richard Gibbs and PC Paul Rees.