17 March 1999
John builds bike for the Millennium
Round the world rider's charity trek
by Phil Laver
A unique motorbike is being built in Newton Abbot - for a Millennium journey around the globe.
The specially-designed bike will set off in December at the start of a 60,000 mile ride visiting 78 countries.
It is being built from scratch by John T of Newton Motorcycles at his workshop in Kingsteignton Road.
The 600cc bike will be ridden by South Devon-born Simon Milward, General Secretary of the Federation of European Motorcyclists.
Simon is hoping to raise more than 25,000 pounds for charity with the 18 month Millennium Motorcycle Ride which will take him around the world.
The bike is being built to withstand the gruelling conditions it will face during the epic.
"It has to be tough but also quite basic so that it can be easily repaired," said John.
"There won't be much space for Simon to carry spares so everything has to be made to take as much punishment as possible."
Simon is looking for sponsors to contribute towards the cost of the bike or provide parts.
"We are talking with a couple of companies about getting an engine donated," said Simon.
"I am looking particularly for sponsors to provide the electronic communications equipment I will need to keep in touch during the ride."
So far only the heavy duty wheels and front forks have been assembled but the bike will being to take shape over the next few months.
John estimates it will take around three months to complete followed by rigorous testing to make sure it is up to the harsh conditions it will face.
"The first part of the journey will be the toughest," said Simon. "I will be travelling down through Africa with everything from deserts to rainforests. Added to that there are several wars going on in Africa which may mean changing the route at the last moment."
Simon is delighted John has agreed to build the bike.
"I grew up in Newton Abbot and got into biking through John's family," he explained.
The ride will raise money for emergency medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres and Riders for Health which provides medical deliveries by motorcycle in Africa.
Sponsors will receive a special commemorative badge and regular email updates from Simon during the ride.
Simon can be contacted at Rue des Champs 62, 1040 Brussels, Belgium