Under normal circumstances Bike of the Month is chosen from the project build section on our forum. This month we have made a special exception for a very special bike, a very special builder and a very special cause.
You may or may not be aware that in November many of us were shocked and saddened by the news that John Martin the founder of Air Cooled Suzuki (ACS) had passed away after a short illness. John was a life long Suzuki fan. He was an active part of oldskoolsuzuki for many years as well as being an active member of the UK katana owners club, which is where I first met John nearly 20 year ago.
It’s safe to say that John’s love of building big air cooled Suzuki based specials and restoring big air cooled Suzukis was truly unmatched. I can’t really remember a time when John did not have a ground up Suzuki build on the go. As all of John’s bikes bare witness, John was a very skilled builder and his bikes were always finished to the same very high standard. Despite the number of builds he started, he always finished them!
Anyone who knew John would tell you that he was a genuinely lovely human being. He always had time to stop and chat when you saw him at a show or a rally. He was always interested in what you were up to and what you had been building. Johns Facebook group ACS was an international focal point for air-cooled Suzuki enthusiasts and the catalyst and the energy behind the many UK events that ACS attended. John was what I would describe as being quietly driven, and by that I mean there was never a hint of ego involved, yet he always got things done and that is undoubtably why he was so well loved and respected by all who knew him. His focus was always first and formost on his friends, his family and their wellbeing.
When John’s wife Florence was diagnosed with MS she wrote a book about her own experience in a bid to help others going through the same struggle but also to raise money for the MS society. Ever the supportive husband and partner, John decided to put his bike building skills to work to support Florence and the MS society by building a Katana that would be sold through a fund raising raffle to raise funds for the charity.
With the help of the ACS Community, many of whom donated parts or services to help with the restoration, the GSX1100 SZ Katana was transformed from a pile of tired parts into a truly stunning finished product.
Sadly John will not be with us to see the charity raffle completed. The raffle will be orginised by Suzuki UK, and we want to encourage all of our readers and members to make the effort to buy tickets when they go on sale and make John’s last build the fund raising success that it deserves to be. You can follow news about the raffle here.
John, and everyone at ACS your Suzuki GSX1100 SZ Katana is our Bike of the Month December 2021.
Members discuss this here.