14 Jul 2016

Exhibition inspired by 'great Britten'

6:41 pm on 14 July 2016

Petrol heads and art lovers watched world champion motorcyclist Andrew Stroud complete a burnout on John Britten's legendary V1000 motorcycle today in front of the Christchurch Art Gallery.

The stunt on the famous motorbike was to promote a new exhibition by Auckland-born artist Billy Apple at the gallery to mark the life and times of the late designer and engineer.

Billy Apple, left, and Andrew Stroud with the Britten motorcycle.

Billy Apple, left, and Andrew Stroud with the Britten motorcycle. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

The exhibition, Great Britten, honours what has been described as the most widely admired motorcycle in the world.

The Britten V1000 broke four world speed records and attained legendary status for its revolutionary 'frameless' design.

Apple's exhibition features the actual motorcycle that took the world by storm ridden by Stroud during the 1995 British European American Racing Series.

Thursday's burnout caused some anxious moments, Stroud said.

"It handled it all right for a while until it overheated, because it needs air circulation, so I went back down the street to try to get some more air through it to cool it down but it didn't really work, so it ended up boiling."

He hoped the exhibition would pay a fitting tribute to Britten and all that he achieved.

"John's heart was in Christchurch and it's something Christchurch people can be proud of and inspired by. To just have a go at their own aspirations and dreams.

Andrew Stroud

Andrew Stroud riding the bike back in 2008. Photo: Photosport

"John wasn't super confident or anything. He was dyslexic, he could hardly read, he wasn't that confident around people but he had a bit of charisma about him and people just loved to help him."

It just goes to show that when you just do it anyway and overcome all those fears and inhibitions, great things can come out of us."

Apple said Britten was ahead of his time and a renaissance man through his work on projects such as Cathedral Junction.

"Convincing the city to run a tramline through the middle of a building, I know what that's like, I have a lot to do with the Auckland Council about projects and you know, it's not easy.

"But once you start it, they'll let you do anything almost, and John was like that."

The exhibition which features Britten's V1000 motorbike and the trophy Stroud won in the 1995 world championships will open on Saturday.

Britten motorbike, Andrew Stroud, Christchurch Art Gallery

Champion motorcycle racer Andrew Stroud admires his handiwork after doing a burnout before the Billy Apple exhibition on John Britten. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young