AFTER a successful fundraising appeal, Falklands hero Simon Weston has finally got his hands on his specially modified Triumph Bonneville Trike and took to the road for the first time.
“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 Norman Hyde and all the people who made this happen enough.”
Two years ago Simon, who was severely burned aged 20 when serving in the Welsh Guards, met former Meriden Triumph engineer and world speed record holder Hyde. He told him that he’d love a trike like that 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, from manufacturers and importers, through dealers to clubs and riders, I immediately said ‘Leave it to me, I’ll fix it’” Hyde recounted at the presentation.
He organised crowdfunding and the £25k project got off to a roaring start when Triumph Motorcycles donated a new 1200cc T120 Bonneville for conversion. Trike Design of Caerphilly South Wales (co-incidentally Simon’s home town) was chosen to convert the two-wheeler and adapt controls for Simon, who has fingers missing from both hands.
Donations ranging from £5 to four-figure sums came from individuals and the trade, often accompanied by messages of affection for Simon. The Triumph Owners MCC made a substantial contribution as did the Duke of Richmond (the Goodwood Estate) and the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA). Simon’s helmet was donated by LS2 and the Held clothing company are making bespoke gloves.
Hank Hancock of Trike Design, specialists in three-wheeler conversions and adaptation for disabled riders, took on the job with enthusiasm. The Triumph is fitted with TD’s latest Brookland Sport design, with boot space inside the smooth GRP mouldings. The 17in wheels have independent suspension with an anti-roll bar and the chain connects to twin drive shafts via a central differential.
Trike Design’s Robin Davies designed and fitted the specially adapted controls. Kliktronic press-button electric gear shifting means that Simon can change up with a finger on his right hand and down with his left thumb. Foot pedals for the throttle, brakes and clutch are similarly arranged to car controls.
“I soon worked out how to ride, and especially how to stop,” said Simon, who hopes to lure his wife Lucy onto the pillion seat.
The presentation was held on Trike Design’s forecourt. Those in attendance included several representing the TOMCC including club chairman Ken Talbot and members who rode in from Shropshire, Max Roberts of Triumph Motorcycles, Dave Priddle of LS2 helmets and two motorcycle-mounted officers from the national police-run initiative BikeSafe; PC Richard Gibbs and PC Paul Rees.
Simon signed up for the Army at 15. He was aboard the logistics ship RFA Sir Galahad laden with fuels and ammunition when it was bombed by the Argentine Air Force during the conflict in the South Atlantic.
2021 Triumph Bonneville range
Undergoing prolonged reconstructive surgery, at times Simon came close to giving in, but courage and determination saw him emerge positively as a strong advocate for troops’ and veterans’ rights. Along with his many charitable activities he gives inspirational talks on achieving mental wellness. Awarded the OBE in 1992, Simon was made a CBE in 2016.