MotoAmerica: Britten V1000 On Track During Heritage Cup Exhibition At Road America

MotoAmerica: Britten V1000 On Track During Heritage Cup Exhibition At Road America

© 2020, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

MotoAmerica’s new Heritage Cup made its debut mid-day Friday during the MotoAmerica Superbikes at Road America 2 event, and the fans in attendance were treated to a very rare sight – a Britten V1000 racebike being ridden at speed on track.

The Britten V1000 was developed and built by the late John Britten and a group of friends in Christchurch, New Zealand. The machine was innovative from top to bottom in terms of aerodynamics, cooling, chassis design, and suspension. And its 60-degree 999cc V-Twin DOHC engine was as powerful as anything during the time period, leading to success for the lightweight machine at the racetrack and legendary status.

“This is one of 10 ever built,” said Bob Robbins, owner of the 1994 Britten V1000 at Road America. “All 10 still exist, but there are only two of them that still get ridden – this one, which Stephen Briggs rode to second in the 1995 BEARS World Championship, and the World Championship bike, which is owned by a guy in New Zealand, Kevin Grant. He puts Andrew Stroud [1995 BEARS World Champion] on his and I put Stephen on this one.

“Due to the pandemic, Stephen, couldn’t ride it here because he lives in New Zealand. I thought about putting someone else on it, but then I thought I would ride it myself.”

So what’s like to ride a Britten V1000?

“It is a bike that does not like to be ridden slowly,” said Robbins, an accomplished racer in his own right, after three careful laps around Road America’s 4.048-mile road course. “It’s a racebike. I’ve got racebikes, but there’s a difference.

“I was struggling with the quickshifter position and a few other things, but I wanted to get it out there and let people hear it as much as anything. I think my lap time might have gotten me in the Junior Cup on a provisional (laughs).”

Robbins’ best lap time, a 3:04.556, was unofficially fourth-quickest in the exhibition session, behind leader Dale Quarterley, who did a 2:38.258 on his Kawasaki GPz1100, but seeing and hearing a machine as rare as the Britten on track was the whole point in the exercise.

Robbin’s Britten as well as a host of other classic and historic racebikes will do exhibition sessions all weekend long at Road America, and when the MotoAmerica Heritage Cup returns October 9-11 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and October 23-25 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca the plan is for the vintage machines to race against each other.

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