The first all new BSA Rocket 3 triple to be built since the late 70s has recently been completed and delivered to its new home in South Africa. A produce of west Midlands based Trident MCS, Les and Denise Whiston started the business just five years ago when the opportunity arose to purchase the rights to build the infamous Rob North racing frame. When Les’s previous business ended abruptly, he transformed his spacious sheds, from their previous use turning the by-product of bread making into animal feed, into machine shops and workspace to begin the construction of the Rob North race machinery. It wasn’t a completely new experience for Les as he started off his working life as a motorcycle mechanic and went on to work with several racers and raced himself. A great help in the task of producing the chassis came in the form of master welder Mick Pearce, the creator of over 500 examples of the chassis and a man who still continues to improve the design even further. “I started making the frames in 1974” 75-year-old Mick recalled “Then the business was sold to Triumph Engineering at Silverstone and I moved with it and more recently Les asked me to come and show him how to make a couple of frames and I have been here ever since.” Les has comfortably taken on the knowledge however and has since become highly skilled at producing frames himself, “Les has worked hard to learn the skills and now produces chassis equally as good, if not better than anything produced beforehand” Mick added.
The workshops, set in the grounds of Les and Denise’s home, are vast and house the machine tools needed to finish off the engine castings and bend the aircraft standard T45 tubing used in the frames. The team fabricate just about every component used in the construction of the triples, the parts that don’t start off life at the Tipton factory are sourced from nearby Coventry and Les admits it would be hard to do it without the specialist knowledge from the areas strong engineering history. “We have all the skills we need to make a complete machine either in house or nearby “ Les said “to enable us to make the engine casings I bought the Newhall jig borer and with it came a skilled operator in the form of Bob Smith, working with the original BSA and Triumph drawings we have cast and machined casings far higher in quality than they ever could have been in their day. The old casings were often porous from the start, ours took over two years to develop and have never suffered from the problem. Another important member of the team is Paul Beard, owner of several Rob North machines and a man I describe as my third hand as it would be hard to do what we do without his assistance.”
As for the latest machine, well for £18500 you get a custom made and completely new, race ready machine, that is fully sorted and set up, offering the same reliability as a modern machine. The spec is high, while remaining true to the original Rob North concept, albeit vastly improved with the constant development Les and his team undertake.
Trident MCS – Tel 01902 661 609.
To hear the brand new triple run for the first time visit and view the video www.rob-north-triples.com.
Rob North Triples Gallery
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