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Think of bastions of motorcycle design and you're more likely to think of Japan or Italy. Chances are New Zealand did not come to mind, but if that's the case, you forgot about John Britten.
John grew up in Christchurch and from an early age had problems at school, but where he lacked academic smarts he had mechanical insights galore.
His smarts weren't limited to motorcycling - he was an artist and designed housing and flying craft among other things, but his Britten V1000 is perhaps his greatest legacy.
He experiemented with composite materials and applied them to increasing engine performance. This work lead to a motorcycle created almost entirely from scratch. When unveilved in the early nineties, it went on to win numerous races and set performance records.
Unfortunately, only 10 were built and recently, several were damanged in the Christchurch earthquake, though not beyond repair.
The project may have gone further, but regrettably, John lost his life at just 45 years of age in 1995 to a skin-cancer related illness. More about John Britten
NZ On screen have a great video documentary about the man at the link below.