Grant Dalton buys pricey toys

The America’s Cup boss spends $100k on new top-of-the-line Ducati

Team NZ speedster Grant Dalton with his 2004 Targa Rally Nissan Silvia race car.
Team NZ speedster Grant Dalton with his 2004 Targa Rally Nissan Silvia race car.

Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton splashed out on a $100,000 motorbike just weeks before he went cap-in-hand for taxpayer cash.

It's understood Dalton "traded up" an older-model Ducati and also bought a limited edition 1199 Panigale R.

The bike is one of only 500 produced worldwide and only two imported to New Zealand - one of which Dalton received less than three weeks ago.

A spokesman for Auckland Ducati dealer Cyclespot would not confirm the sale to Dalton but said two bikes had been sold recently.

Not unlike America's Cup race boats, the new model Ducati is lighter and faster than previous models and has carbon-fibre throughout.

"He traded up the old one to get the Panigale, I believe. It was a recent acquisition," a source at the Auckland Motorcycle Club said.

Dalton had also added a classic Suzuki RG500 Mk1 to his collection. The classic bike was rebuilt by retired motorcycle champ Graeme Crosby.

It is understood Dalton wanted to race the Suzuki at the infamous Isle of Mann street race.

Yesterday, the Herald revealed Dalton was paid $2 million for his role in last year's unsuccessful America's Cup campaign. Last week Dalton said that without an immediate multi-million-dollar cash injection from taxpayers, the syndicate would be "gone by the end of the month".

Yesterday, Team New Zealand director Sir Stephen Tindall defended Dalton and the funding request.

He said the Government put $36m into the last campaign but it got $38m back in taxes - making $2m.

"The money that is being paid to our sailors is being paid basically by people like me, private funders, and our large sponsors," he told Tony Veitch on Newstalk ZB.

"Grant Dalton raised an enormous amount of money last time for the team. We would not have been able to make it without him."

The move to motorbikes is a new one for Dalton, with just one season under his belt after a move from muscle cars. Dalton is said to have an impressive collection of cars and bikes in his Auckland home.

He races a Chevrolet Camaro with Auckland enthusiast club Central Muscle Cars. Club president Dr John Elliott said Dalton is a good friend who has at the club for years. "Racing is his release from the huge stresses that come from the world he operates in," Elliott said. "It is not a sign of extravagant wealth."

Dalton also has an impressive property portfolio with properties in Auckland and Queenstown.

He and wife Nicola have just sold a property in Karaka, which was listed for $965,000 and Dalton is selling a $2.5m section in Queenstown.

Dalton's properties are worth more than $10m - including a 911sq m home on exclusive Victoria Ave in Remuera.

The property features a tennis court and swimming pool and has a 2011 valuation of $7.65m.

Jordan Williams from the New Zealand Taxpayers' Union said he wasn't interested in "the politics of envy" with regard to Dalton's personal wealth but wanted an end to "one of the richest sports continually coming to the taxpayer wanting welfare".

- Herald on Sunday

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