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Special Exhibitions

John “Mooneyes” Cooper

John Mooneyes Cooper & His 1971 F750 BSA

We have an exciting new display in Hall 2 of the museum, which will be available to see until the end of 2020.

This new feature is dedicated to John “Mooneyes” Cooper and includes, not only his famous “Ago beating” F750 BSA, but also a live interview conducted with John by our archives & collections assistant Sarah. This informal chat gives a fascinating insight into the racing career of “Mooneyes” and contains some choice anecdotes!

John’s machine on display was first used by John Cooper at the inaugural Transatlantic Match Race Series as part of the British Team. Fellow  riders being Percy Tait, Paul Smart, Ray Pickrell and Tony Jefferies.

The American Team was led by Gary Nixon with David Aldana, Don Castro, Dick Mann and Don Emde. On 22.8.71 this was the first of four bikes to be fitted with the special new lightweight transmission.

19.9.71 saw John Cooper winning the 1000cc Race and perhaps more importantly the Race of the Year at Mallory Park. In this race, held over 30 laps, John famously defeated Giacomo Agostini with 50,000 spectators cheering him on! Doug Hele, Chief Development Engineer at Triumph later wrote “I think that this race must be rated as the greatest of all victories we scored with the Threes!”

Adding insult to injury he then repeated the performance on 3.10.71 at Brands Hatch, Race of the South.

Mooneyes Cooper

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After these victories John went on to win the Ontario Sparkplug Classic in California, narrowly beating Kel Carruthers on his 350 Yamaha. After the race, Californian road racer Bob Bailey set out to buy Cooper’s winning machine under the AMA ‘selling plate’ rule which was meant to discourage pure racing machines. Failure to comply with this ruling meant forfeiting the race.

Not wishing to hand over John Cooper’s bike which was equipped with specially developed parts, Doug Hele intervened and a settlement was reached which culminated in Bob Bailey being sent Tony Jefferies’ 1971 F750 machine.


  • 3 cylinder pushrod OHV with line contact rockers. Triumph TH6 camshafts. 67x70mm + .010″ 749cc. Hepolite squish pistons.
  • Compression ratio 12.28:1 giving 85.2bhp at 8,200rpm.
  • Maximum torque 59.6lb at 7,000rpm.
  • pecial lightweight primary transmission.
  • 3 x Amal MK1 30mm carburettors.
  • Lucas capacitor ignition.
  • Champion N54R/N57R spark plugs.
  • 5 speed Quaife C.R. gears.
  • 62° steering head angle Triumph/Rob North constructed from T45 tubing.
  • Girling competition rear dampers.
  • Triple Lockheed hydraulic brakes acting on alloy metal sprayed discs.
  • Borrani flanged alloy rims WM3x19″.
  • Dunlop racing tyres.