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.