The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137

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Lot 170
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle
Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137

US$ 40,000 - 50,000
£ 30,000 - 38,000
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian
1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle
Frame no. 38471
Engine no. 6T 60137
• Historical early nitro-burning drag bike
• Ridden by teenage champion Bobby Sirkegian
• Just-completed mechanical and cosmetic restoration

Young Bobby Sirkegian, just 12 years old and not yet 5 feet tall, was an unlikely drag-racing pioneer. He'd been born to two wheels, with a father who rode factory board-trackers for Indian, Harley and Excelsior on the wooden speed bowls that dotted the country in the Twenties and Thirties. After the war, Sirkegian Sr. opened a Los Angeles Triumph dealership that for a time was the company's biggest west of the Mississippi.

Bobby Jr. was a natural on a motorcycle, riding in the dirt from age 6 on a converted Corgi paratrooper bike painted up to look like one of the Triumphs sitting in his father's showroom. Then in the early 1950s father and son were spectating at one of the many dragstrips then popping up all over Southern California when 12-year-old Bobby announced he wanted to give this newfangled quarter-mile sprinting a try.

Success was almost immediate for Bobby, capitalizing on his quick reflexes and superior power-to-weight ratio, even if at first Dad had to balance the bike from behind at the start line because his son was still too small to plant his feet flat on the ground! The elder Sirkegian also contributed his own motorcycle to the effort, a 500cc Triumph 5T bob-job so well turned out it was nicknamed 'Pretty Boy.' Soon Team Sirkegian got really serious about speed when an early-release 1953 Thunderbird 650 demo bike was pulled off the showroom floor and turned into the fuel dragster seen here, running one of the first M&H Racemaster slick rear tires. In 1952, burning a mix of 25% nitromethane and 75% alcohol, Bobby hit 110mph in the quarter-mile; the next year, all of 13, and with a potent 50/50 nitro-alky brew feeding into bored-out Amal TT carbs, he went a tick under 120mph.

"There's nothing else in the world like riding a fuel drag bike, not even the best 'rolly-coaster' ride at Disneyland," remembers Sirkegian today at 80 years old. Before he quit drag racing to concentrate on AMA flat-track competition, the teenage Bobby had amassed four national championships, more than 200 wins, and set track records from California to Kansas City. Sirkegian and his bikes were featured in mainstream publications and even made it onto the nationally syndicated television show "You Asked For It."

Sirkegian's fueler got its performance from a virtual Who's Who of California speed merchants. Jerry Branch installed the oversized valves and flowed the cylinder heads. Tim Witham of S&W fame ground the special camshafts. Luther Iskenderian worked out the ignition and cam timing. As many of those original parts as possible were used when Sirkegian himself restored the Triumph in late 2019.

Here's a rare chance, then, to own a historically significant early California drag bike, restored by the very man who rode it into the record books some 67 years ago.

Footnotes

  • Offered on a Bill of Sale. As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.
Contacts
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
The ex-Bobby Sirkegian, 1953 Triumph 650cc Drag Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 38471 Engine no. 6T 60137
Auction information

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PLEASE NOTE: THE BUYER'S PREMIUM FOR THIS AUCTION IS AS FOLLOWS:

For MOTORCYCLE property (Lots 101-211) the premium is 15% on the first $100,000 of the bid price and 10% on any amount of the hammer price exceeding $100,000. Buyers are required to pay any applicable import duty, sales or use tax, as the case may be.

For MEMORABILIA property (Lots 1-16) the premium is 27.5% on the first $3,000 of the bid price, 25% on the amount above $3,000 up to and including $400,000, 20% on the amount above $400,000 up to and including $4,000,000, and 13.9% of any amount which exceeds $4,000,000.

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