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Old Bike Australasia - - BUZZ BOX – RACING DIARY • YAMAHA MT-07HO • CHEQUER -

The man be­hind Works Per­for­mance Prod­ucts, which sup­plies the shock ab­sorbers used by clas­sic rac­ers the world over, GILLES VAIL­LAN­COURT passed away on June 2nd. Gilles has been de­scribed as a pi­o­neer of mod­ern day mo­tor­cy­cle sus­pen­sion sys­tems, and his com­pany was at the fore­front of rac­ing de­sign for al­most forty years in mo­tocross, road rac­ing and US Flat Track. Born in Mon­treal, Que­bec, Canada in 1940, Gilles pulled up stakes, loaded his Royal Enfield twin with his pos­ses­sions, and rode to his new home in Santa Mon­ica, Cal­i­for­nia at the age of 20. Three years later he es­tab­lished Works Per­for­mance, in­vent­ing his own multi-stage damp­ing sys­tem and build­ing shocks to or­der – each one specif­i­cally tai­lored to the rider and/or ap­pli­ca­tion. Many stars, such as Kenny Roberts, Gary Nixon, Ed­die Law­son, Wayne Rainey and Dick Mann ben­e­fited from the tech­nol­ogy de­vel­oped by Gilles. Vail­lan­court was a reg­u­lar visi­tor and com­peti­tor at the an­nual Pukekohe Clas­sic fes­ti­val in New Zealand, but his health de­te­ri­o­rated af­ter suf­fer­ing a heart at­tack in 2003. His wife Deb­bie do­nated a kid­ney to him in 2005 which saved his life, but he con­tin­ued to ex­er­cise his pas­sion for rid­ing his­toric ma­chin­ery and fly­ing light air­craft un­til quite re­cently.

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