27/08/1939 – 20/12/2020 PETER WILLIAMS Obituary
Bike SA|February 2021
Britain’s Peter Williams, often acclaimed as the finest GP racer/engineer of modern times, passed away quietly on December 20 in his sleep, after a long illness. He was 81 years old.
Alan Cathcart

Not many men can have turned down the chance to race for the works Suzuki team, forfeited a ride with the Honda factory, and declined an offer to work as a designer for Yamaha, whether for reasons of patriotism or loyalty - but Peter Williams did all three. Instead, except for a brief link with MZ - for which he scored the East German factory's final GP race victory in the 1971 350cc Ulster GP, which was also his own solitary World Championship race win - he raced exclusively aboard British bikes during his ten-year racing career, which ended in 1974 with his tragic Oulton Park accident on the spaceframe F750 John Player Norton.

Son of Jack Williams, creator of the Matchless G50 who also supervised development of the AJS Porcupine twin and 7R single during his time as chief engineer for AMC/Associated Motor Cycles, Peter was equally skilled as both designer and racer. After training as a draughtsman, he worked at the Ford car factory where he was exposed to the increasing sophistication of mid-'60s racing car design, while beginning to race motorcycles in 1964, finishing third in the 1965 Manx GP on a 250cc Greeves two-stroke. Just two years after starting racing, in 1966 Williams began his GP race career as the eternal runner-up to Agostini's works MV Agusta triple aboard Tom Arter's slower but better-handling AJS and Matchless singles - latterly equipped with modern-style 'wheelbarrow' cast wheels which Williams himself designed in 1967 while recuperating from GP race injuries. Peter was always at the forefront of new technology, and besides cast wheels was a pioneering user of disc brakes, and a full-face helmet, all now commonplace features in motorcycling today.

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