IN THE BEGINNING.
This is certainly one of the first Pioneer machines to have arrived in New Zealand and comes with three generations of family history. Minerva was one of great names in the early days of the motorcycle. The machines manufactured by Minerva were the first practical, lightweight proprietary units to enter the market. Their advanced designs ,they were employing OHV by 1903, and superb quality made Minerva the supplier of choice for many producers including Triumph, Ariel, Matchless and Royal Enfield. By the end of 1902, Minerva was supplying engines to more than 75 cycle factories in Britain and Europe and, by 1904, Minerva employed a workforce of 1,000. The company placed emphasis on competition performance ñ developing a big 7hp V-twin which qualified for the final of the world motorcycle championship at the Zurenborg Velodrome, Antwerp. This machine continued to set new speed records and featured heavily in continental race results. Minerva ventured into Australia in 1905, entering a machine in the 560-mile Sydney-to-Melbourne race ñ Minerva placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
Courtesy Webb's NZ
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The original owner of this remarkable Minerva was a man called Thomas Hancock. Hancock was born in the winter of 1878 on the wet and muddy goldfields of Munroís Gully, Lawrence, in a wattle-and-daub hut. Thriving his way through early New Zealand, Hancock successfully mined Munroís Gully and the Blue Spur mine and, as he was one of the first in that area, Hancock acquired modest wealth and made himself the first man to own a motorcycle on the goldfields of Lawrence. He put the Minerva to task: legend has it that it was the first machine to climb Jacobís Ladder onto the Spur. Acquired from Marshall & Summers, Milton, the original sales certificate is included, this machine has remained in the same family for three generations. It is one of the earliest motorcycles known to exist in New Zealand and comes with a well-recorded history.