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 Sam Triumph 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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