American motor racing legend DAN GURNEY passed away on January 14, from complications due to pneumonia, aged 86. Although far better known as a racing driver, with a Le Mans 24 Hour win and four Formula One Grands Prix wins to his credit, Gurney was also a keen motorcyclist and designed his own quite revolutionary motorcycle, the Alligator. This was a feet-first style with an ultra low centre of gravity. He also designed a new twin-cylinder motorcycle engine with two counter-rotating crankshafts to cancel out primary vibration, which reputedly produced 280hp at 9,000 rpm. In the 1970s, Gurney was a partner (with Kim Kimball) in the US Montesa importation firm, and became a noted two-stroke tuner. Among his many motorcycling friends Gurney included Mick Doohan, Kenny Roberts and fellow engineering whizz and revolutionary constructor John Britten.
One of the Gurney Alligators, from 2002, fitted with a Honda 600 engine, on display at the Barber Museum, Alabama.