The New Zealand motorcycling family was saddened to hear the passing of road race sidecar hero Gordon Skilton this week. Gordon has long been the icon of sidecar racing in New Zealand. He first raced at Wanganui Cemetery Circuit in 1958, on a Triumph Tiger T110. He quickly hit the full race scene from 1959 and along with swinger , Ray Larsen, went on to win 10 New Zealand championships.

The winning bike was now a Norton Manx engine in an AJS frame. In 1960 he crashed at the overhead bridge at Wanganui sending the sidecar over the 8 meter drop to the railway lines below. He continued racing and upgraded to a Norton Commando.

Gordon achieved international recognition and raced at Bathurst in 1973 but failed to finish due to mechanical  problems.

Gordon made a comeback in later years with granddaughter Maxine as the swinger. Over most of this time he operated the famous family business Skilton Motorcycles in Pahiatua, which was an original Suzuki dealer from the 60’s.

Gordon’s contribution to the sport continued with support to many other riders and his revolutionary sidecar design.

Gordon’s farewell is at 3-00pm on Saturday in Pahiatua, were his sidecar will carry his on his last ride. RIP Gordon. The sport owes you much. The gentleman on and off the track.

Words by Neil Ritchie