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Farewell to Peter Wright


It was with great sadness that I found myself writing an article (my first) for the magazine about the loss of my good friend and biking buddy Peter Wright.
But then I thought I should be writing about the good times, and this was to be written as a celebration of Peter’s life and his love of his beloved 1928 101.

Right up until the very end Peter was out on his bike. Apparently he went peacefully at home but he did confide in me that there were health issues and not to worry. That was Peter all over. Always on hand to help and not to burden people with his woes.

I first met Peter about 17 years ago at one of the club rallies in Plymouth. I was new to the whole Indian scene, as was Peter. I always wanted one, even as a child and it stuck in my mind until I was able to afford one. We were both there looking at the bikes and sussing out what was what, chatting to the owners and finding out what machines we liked the look of.

Funnily enough several months passed and I rang him to tell him that I had bought a 1928 101 restoration project. He laughed, telling me that he had bought the same model and year the same weekend I had bought mine.

Peter Wright


His 101 was more complete than mine and we both had to make decisions on what needed to be done to get the bikes on the road. I had mine professionally restored but Peter took the plunge as they say and painstakingly restored his to a condition that I can only describe as absolutely stunning.

He did all of the work himself including the engine rebuild, farming out only what was necessary like the paintwork, nickle plating and mag dyno refurbishment.
He would ring 101 experts in the states such as George Yorocki and John Eagles, finding out what went where and the exact measurements and sizes of all the nuts and bolts. Some items would be found elsewhere on the planet. Pistons from Australia, timing side engine cover replacement from Sweden plus local welders and platers who would turn in favours etc. You could say that he scoured the Earth for the correct items.

After getting fed up with some of the ill fitting reproduction parts, Peter would make jigs and tools to fabricate his own parts and make them to fit his bike. He would pop over to my house to measure some of the parts and take pictures of my 101 so he knew what he needed to recreate. In the end he had a machine that equalled any professional job if not better. The look on his face when he fired it up for the first time was quite a picture and this expression stayed with him and was on his face everytime he started his bike.

Peter would always look for opportunities to take the 101 out for a ride, enjoying the summer evening runs around the quiet roads where he lived in Harpingdon. Even going to events like THE BIKE SHED. This one is not to be missed!!! We would arrange to meet when we could and talk regularly on the phone... and the subject was always about our 101s but he would extend that into asking how my family was etc...

Along the way we also met the same people who have also gone on to become good friends. Paul Rutter is one of them. I met Paul about 7 years ago at the Hot Rod Hayride (look this one up also) and we catch up when we can. About 5 years ago whilst Paul was out on one of his bikes, Peter spotted him, did a u-turn and caught up with him for a chat. They worked out that not only did they live in the same village, but Paul was just down the road from Peter. Small world as they say.

Peter was always at hand to help if I got stuck with something and so is Paul. Whilst at the VMCC Ace Day my 101 made an awful grinding noise when I went to leave. As I was kicking the bike through (kicking it afterwards) Peter and Paul both noticed that the engine was lifting out of the frame!!! The rear mount bolt behind the shifter tower had lost its nut, with the bolt barely sitting in the hole.

This leads me to coin the phrase - “Gentlemen, check your nuts” at which we all fell around laughing. No laughing matter in fact. How was I going to get home?
Paul found someone who had a bolt, Peter found someone who had nuts and someone offered up their spanners. If it wasn’t for the pair of them it would have been an AA ride home with my good self rubbing my head as to what the problem was. They fabricated something up and off I went.

This story is testament to how these guys look out for one another and gave me a much needed hand. I now don’t leave things to chance. I check my nuts regularly.

So you see, life really is too short and although I have lost a great friend who will be fondly remembered there are others that will continue to fly the Indian flag.

Leigh Butler Leigh Butler




Indian Motocycles - you can't wear them out                                  Indian Motocycles - built to last  
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