Roar of a superbike opens new art show
Spinning wheels, burning rubber and the roar of a superbike opened a new show at the Christchurch Art Gallery on Thursday.
Champion New Zealand motorcycle racer Andrew Stroud took John Britten's famous V1000 superbike for a spin to open artist Billy Apple's new art show.
Apple said the show was a tribute to the late John Britten and his life's work.
"In lots of ways I'm a facilitator for this thing to happen and to put him in a context that isn't just the motorcycle world but a bigger, cultural world," he said.
"I love his business and all of the things he achieved. He was a real renaissance man."
The new show, called Great Britten!, was originally planned to open before the Canterbury earthquakes closed the gallery for five years.
"We have finally got there. You don't give up on these things."
Stroud said the Britten V1000 was special.
"It's extremely light. It is still 25 kilograms lighter than the superbike I have been riding this year. It is all carbon fibre and doesn't have a frame."
"It is an incredible motorcycle. It set a record at Ruapuna in 1995 and that wasn't broken until 2006. That shows how far ahead of its time the bike was. Every time I ride it now I appreciate it more and more."
"John built it totally from scratch. He knew he had to beat the factory bikes, who had multi-million dollar budgets, so he had to do things differently. It worked."
Apple said he had always loved motorbikes and had a collection of class Grand Prix bikes. But he could not ride them.
"I can't actually ride a motorbike. I don't know how," he said.
"I used to watch TT racing when I was a kid. The smell of Castrol R and all that stuff gets you going. I used to ride my pushbike around making noises like Grand Prix bikes."
He said the show features artworks reflecting on Britten's achievements, with the motorcycle as the centrepiece.
"It is a very simple show, but you don't need much more," he said gesturing towards the bike.