Tuesday, 5 July 2016

17th June 2016, Bullet Run

The TRDC decided it would be a good idea to mark the 40th anniversary of the TR7 launch in the UK and also the recent death of Tony Lee who was the Triumph Chief Development Engineer.  The result was the Bullet Run which followed the old factory test route up to Bwlch-y-Groes in North Wales.  Bullet was the factory code name for the TR7 when it was still in the design and testing stage.

Day 1.  About 40 TR7/8's of various types came, with some being driven by members of Tony Lee's family who had been invited to take part.  Some of us started from the base hotel near Stratford-on-Avon with others joining us at a rest stop in Oswestry. From here the roads became much more interesting as we drove up to the next stop at Lake Vyrnwy.

Some of the cars at the hotel start.
Our lunch halt location, Lake Vyrnwy dam.
Leaving Lake Vyrnwy the route follows a narrow mountain road up to Bwlch-y-Groes which is the highest mountain pass in North Wales. During the 1960's and 1970's this road was used regularly by several car makers to test their new vehicles. The modern road is all single track tarmac but back in those days much of it was still a gravel surface.

TR7 traffic jam on the road to Bwlch-y-Groes
Photo opportunity.
Nearing the top of the pass.
Having stopped to admire the views and take a couple of pictures we arrived at the summit car park to find it full of TR7's. Many of the first wave were just moving off as we got there but it was soon full again. Lots more pictures followed before we set off down the other side to Bala. As you can see the weather was perfect for everyone to enjoy the great views.

TR7's only allowed!
 From Bala many crews decided to take the quickest way back to the hotel via the motorways but we chose to take a much nicer cross country route.  This took us across the B4391 to Llangynog which is a superb road to drive. It is a fast sweeping mountain road with no traffic so I was able to push the car quite hard and it handled perfectly.  Exactly the kind of road the TR7 was built for.  The fast corners and sudden changes of direction suited it perfectly with no dramas at all. Great fun.

Back at the hotel they had prepared an excellent buffet for us followed by a talk from Gordon Birtwistle who was the Triumph High Speed Development driver and has an endless supply of amusing stories from those days. Very interesting chap.

Day 2.  The organisers had arranged for us to visit the Midlands Air Museum at Coventry Airport where we were able to park the cars amongst some of their 70 or so historical aircraft.  They have all sorts of planes from a Fairey Gannet to a Vulcan  and even a more modern Russian attack helicopter.  We especially liked to be able to climb up into the Vulcan bomber cockpit to see where a crew of five worked to fly with our nuclear deterrent. We were also able to sit in a Gloster Meteor and an Armstrong Whitworth Argosy cockpit.

Another photo opportunity.

My partner Jo in the Vulcan cockpit
Driving home after lunch we came across lots of old motor cycles on their own tour and talked to some guys in a 1914 AC Sociable which had stalled. Never seen one of those before.

1914 AC Sociable
 We arrived home having done almost 500 miles in the TR7 which had behaved itself perfectly.

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