I would like to give an informative and impressively detailed account of the history of Little Project before it came into my hands. I would like to but currently I can not as I can’t find anything out at all except that the frame number suggests that the bike is an Australian model produced in 1983. Never being one to stand in the way of facts. Some of the following is probably true and some may have been improvised. If you feel inclined you can check the dates and names for veracity.
Little Project was originally bought by the props master for the film BMX Bandits. The idea being that it would be used with an onboard camera to film the chase scene through Manley Waterworks in Sydney. Nicole Kidman took a fancy to Little Project because she liked the way the rigid frame caused intense vibration when the engine was freely revving, so she asked for and was given the bike in lieu of a 1% cut of the films Australian box office profits. This means that the first time the bike changed hands the cost was approximately US$1246.50.
In 1985 Little Project was stolen from Nicole’s yard by a thug called Blaster and converted to run on fuel made from pig poo. Blaster lost the bike as the result of a duel with Max Rockatansky who converted the bike back to run on normal fuel and rode it to Carpenters Motors (later Fitzgerald Motors) in Erinsborough in Melbourne.
By this time, although Little Project was only a couple of years old it was starting to look rather bedraggled. It was here that glamour took over again as the bike was given to Charlene Mitchell for her first restoration project. She tuned up the engine, cleaned up the frame and the results were good enough for her to pass both the first and second levels of the Ramsay Street Institute of Engineering exams. In 1987 Charlene married Scott Robinson and an unfortunate and not reported incident between Scott and Bea Smith means that all track of the bike was lost for a few years.
It seems that the bike was brought into the UK in 1991. Story has it that the Australian cricket team were very concerned that they would not be able to win the Ashes series and so Allan Border bribed David Gower with the offer of a quick flight in an aeroplane and Little Project to take home. Gower leapt at the opportunity and after buzzing a cricket ground in the plane had Little Project shipped to his home in Leicestershire. Unfortunately it had slipped his mind that he was now living in Hampshire and so the bike ended up at Mallory Park where it was put into use as a pit bike delivering cups of tea and the famous Swede Pies to members of the racing fraternity.
A track day for Leicester Tigers in 1998 and a drunken incident involving Dean Richards, Martin Johnson, a giant inflatable ostrich and a pike from the lake meant that Little Project had to be smuggled onto the team coach and taken back to Welford Road, where the bike was instrumental in helping the Tigers to the treble in the 2000/2001 season. Watching the footage of the Heineken Cup final at Parc des Princes it is noticeable that Little Project actually returned the ball to the touch-line to allow a quick line-out in the 78th minute leading to a winning try for Leicester.
The gallant work of Little Project (along with a healthy disregard of the French) did not go unnoticed by the England rugby hierarchy and so in 2002 Clive Woodward approached Leicester with a view to taking on Little Project as part of the ERB backroom staff. The bike was influential in developing the powerful back line that led England to world cup victory in 2003 in Australia. Little Project refused to visit the home of its birth, fearing repercussions from the cast of Home and Away who had been spurned some time earlier but the when the victorious rugby team sang “Swing Low”, there was only one sweet chariot on their mind.
Things started to go wrong with the arrival of Andy Robinson in 2004 and went further downhill when Brian Ashton took over at the end of 2006. During a heated exchange shortly after the record 43-13 defeat to Ireland, Ashton wheeled Little Project out of Twickenham stadium, onto Whitton Road and with a mighty heave cast the bike out. It rolled past the stadium, bounced across Rugby Road and settled in a garden. There it stayed until I picked it up in January 2013.