An Feet First Ambition Fulfilled

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I've been riding Feet First motorcycles for 28 years now, ever since I bought the Difazio-Creasey 'Flying Banana' back in 1983 and rode it to the south of France and back. Since then, I've owned two other FFs and ridden a hell of a lot more; probably more than anyone else on the planet. I'm sure I've tested the widest variety. Quasars, Phasars, Ecomobiles, Voyagers, MonoTracers, E-Tracers and a whole bunch of memorable one-offs, from the Newell-built rear-engined GPZ1100-powered 'Slug' to the seat-belted safety-oriented Genesis that I sold my Quasar to buy. I've done serious miles in them too; seven drives from Switzerland to the Czech Republic and back in Ecomobiles and MonoTracers for countless laps of the Brno Grand Prix circuit, not to mention Most and the Nurburgring Nordschleife; five trips to the South of France and back and thrashes on road and track all over England and Wales in a whole variety of Brit-built FFs. I've even ridden Craig Vetter's FF streamliner round a soaking wet Laguna Seca and thrashed it through his favourite hundred mile route of local roads.


This month I fulfilled a decade-old ambition: to ride a Gurney Alligator. I've wanted to have a go in one ever since I first heard about the machine and my appetite was further whetted by meeting Dan Gurney at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2003 and watching him ride one of the light'n'low machines up the famous hill. I even got to sit in the bike in the pits too – but that was eight years ago and I've been wondering what it's like to ride ever since. Now I know!

Two weeks ago, a propitious set of circumstances combined with the help of Peter Starr and the goodwill of everyone at All American Racers saw me following Alex Gurney down the Freeway in a brace of Gurney Alligators. We were heading for the sinuous curves of the Ortega Highway, which is where the fun really began. As Alex upped the pace on a road he knows very well and which I'd never set eyes on before I had to work hard to stay with him as we swept majestically past every vehicle we encountered.

After a brief photo session we swapped machines for the equally exciting ride back down the valley, and the subtle differences between the two machines were interesting. I'm hoping that an enlightened magazine editor will pay me for an in-depth account of my memorable experience on these two machines so all I'll say for now is that the Alligator is far and away the fastest-accelerating and most agile FF I've ever ridden, with the best power to weight ratio and brakes to boot. This is one FF you should definitely expect to come past you, no matter what you're riding, on any tight road or circuit, especially if there's a Gurney riding it!

Comfort, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired, and there are quite a few modifications I would want to make if I were ever fortunate enough to become an Alligator owner. In the meantime, I have a new ambition: to ride the S&S powered GnarlyGator!

Huge thanks to Dan, Justin and Alex Gurney and Kathy 'the woman who knows what's going on' Weida for making my FF dream come true!

Alligator Gallery

© Paul Blezard