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Throwing a Leg Over History

22 November 2005

Throwing a Leg Over History

Runaway success Internet auction site Trade Me begins auctioning a unique – but temporary – historic opportunity this weekend.

Hot on the heels of the story of Bert Munro in The World's Fastest Indian comes a one-off opportunity for New Zealand's motorcycle racing enthusiasts to bid for a ride on what used to be one of the world's fastest racetrack Norton motorcycles.

The motorcycle, a 1972 "John Player" Norton Commando, is coming to New Zealand in February along with the legend who built it – former Norton-Villiers test engineer Norman White.

In the 1970s White was a Norton Factory engineer, mechanic and test rider, and prepared bikes which, at the time, left some of the Japanese and European competition for dead in such prestigious events as the Isle of Man TT.

Accompanied by former JPN rider Peter Williams –who rode the JPN Nortons to many a win – White is coming to ride in the 2006 Pukekohe International Classic Motorcycle Festival in February and is bringing his historic 1972 JPN Norton with him.

A chance to throw a leg over history and ride a few laps around Pukekohe's International Race Circuit on White's classic bike is being auctioned by Trade Me this weekend. For a few glorious moments in February the auction winner will get to race 750ccs of British motorcycling history.

"To those who followed the dying attempts by Britain to hold onto their motorcycling supremacy in the 1970s, riding Norman White's JPN Norton Commando would be something to be cherished for ever," said David Bernard, one of the driving forces behind White's and Williams's coming to New Zealand.

"Norman still races his Norton in England and prepares Nortons. It was his company that was commissioned to restore the five works Nortons for the National Motorcycle Museum after their disastrous fire," said David. "We're delighted that Norman's allowed us to do this as a way of helping raise funds to bring him and Peter Williams to New Zealand."

The auction, open only to New Zealand bidders, begins on Trade Me starting Monday 28th November 8pm, finishing Monday 5th December 9pm.

The winner will get to ride the 170 mph bike on February 12th 2006 at the Classic Festival, which is taking place over the weekend of February 10th, 11th, 12th February.


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