I was born in 1944 to an RAF family. After many schools I was trained as an Aircraft Fitter as one of the 100th. Entry, RAF Halton in 1963. I worked at RAF Lyneham in England, RAF Changi in Singapore and RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, servicing a range of piston, turbo-prop and pure jet aircraft. During this time I raced karts with some success, winning class and coming second overall in the 1965 RAF championships, winning the first Penang Kart Prix, and was a member of the winning team in the Singapore Kart Prix, all in 1966.
I left the RAF in 1969 moving into Formula One motor racing, first as a transmission specialist and eventually as the buyer/logistics manager for Frank Williams Racing Cars Ltd. I left F.1 in 1974 and moved to Bristol to work as a free-lance technician. Having passed my motorcycle test in 1961 I continued to use motorcycles as transport and worked on a wide range of machinery. During 1976/7 I invented the "Two Wheel Trainer" motorcycle control simulator.
In 1977 I met Malcolm Newell and his Quasar, the revolutionary Reliant-powered FF. I discovered the real performance advantage of low CG and I have promoted and developed this vehicle type ever since. Virtually my first act was to write, for BIKE magazine, the "High Tech" series in which I detailed the technical reasons for the superiority of the FF type and "prior disclosed" many of the patentable features of the modern FF. Older motorcyclists may also remember a number of motorcycle magazine articles which were part of the effort to both finance the FF project and gain first hand experience of 'classic' motorcycles to identify their qualities.
While Malcolm continued to build one-off FFs to order until his death in 1994, my partner Ingrid Oesten and I concentrated on achieving volume production. Our efforts culminated in the 1989 Voyager project - as detailed in the Review "what ever happened". I continue to promote and develop the FF concept.
Despite the proven advantages of FF two-wheelers and their ever-increasing relevence to reducing vehicle congestion and pollution, I haven't succeeded in getting them into production. It's tough on you given how much fun FF's are, but this is one great product that you're not going to be able to buy from Honda any time soon!
Obviously I've moved on in my life, there's a limit to how far any one person can push a snowball uphill! But if you happen to be a vehicle manufacturer with balls and imagination you can always hire me and save yourself a few millions. Contact royce I'm not holding my breath!
Last update 4th. January 2003. comments etc to ingrid oesten
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