Category: Adventure

Remembering Geoff Sim

The team at City Coast Motorcycles are deeply saddened by the loss of our Founder, Geoff Sim. This tribute shares his life and legacy. 

Remembering Geoff Sim
Geoff Sim, Amaroo Circa 1973. Image by David McGonigal.

Geoff was born in 1948 and spent his formative years in the Sutherland Shire, at West Como, where the Woronora River merges with the Georges. Geoff and his childhood friends pursued a Huck Finn lifestyle in home-made canoes and old rowboats, fishing and hunting mudcrabs in the mangroves. They would push their way through vines and thick bush to a creek and catch yabbies. Along the cliffline they would rockhop like wallabies. These escapades must have played a part in the adventurous lifestyle that was to unfold for Geoff for the rest of his days.

After Como West Primary School, Geoff attended Jannali Boys High, where classmates like Peter Allen and Rob Black led him towards an interest in motorcycles. Geoff duly bought a 250 Honda CB72 in 1966 and that was the start of a life-long passion for all things motorcycling, from touring to adventure riding to racing and a thriving dealership in Wollongong.

Geoff with his first motorcycle
Geoff Sim’s first motorcycle was a 250cc Honda CB72.

Geoff was a naturally fast rider from the get-go, and a succession of speeding fines suggested the road racing circuits might be a cheaper way to obtain his speed jollies. He began racing at the start of 1968 on the 250 Honda and then progressed to a 350 Honda.

Geoff Sim with his 350cc Honda
Geoff Sim with his 350cc Honda.

Shortly thereafter, Geoff bought the ex-Ron Toombs TD1C Yamaha. Upon its retirement, he had it superbly restored by Wollongong’s Richard Johnston, resplendent in the livery and racing number of `Toombsie’ and mounted in a glass case at City Coast Motorcycles as a tribute to one of Australia’s greatest riders.

Geoff Sim racing Bathurst in 1969
Geoff Sim racing the ex-Ron Toombs TD1C Yamaha at Bathurst, 1969.

Geoff’s next race bike was a kitted R5 350 Yamaha twin, sponsored by his partner Robyn. Geoff had a lot of success on that bike, including three memorable scraps at Oran and Amaroo Parks with the young Gregg Hansford, who went on to international stardom.

Geoff Sim and Gregg Hansford
Geoff Sim (22) famously scraps with Gregg Hansford (02).

Geoff also had success on larger production-based machines such as Mach 3 Kawasaki 500, Mach 4 Kawasaki 750, Honda 750, Ducati 750 and Kawasaki 900. One year at Mount Panorama in the Unlimited Production Race, Geoff had a memorable race-long dice for 4th place with `Mountain Maestro’ Ron Toombs, both on Kawasaki 900s. With co-riders such as Peter Stronach and Roy Denison, Geoff achieved some high placings in several Castrol Six Hour races.

Geoff Sim Castrol 6 hour
Geoff Sim (36) rounds up his opponents in the Castrol Six Hour.

Through befriending Kevin Cass in the racing scene, Geoff was availed a business opportunity: In 1973, Geoff opened a Kawasaki dealership named Centrestand Motorcycles near the railway in Crown Street Wollongong, before relocating to Corrimal Street. Geoff expanded his portfolio when he purchased the Corrimal Suzuki business off Wollongong legend Bill Morris. Veteran Bill – whose motorcycling achievements on dirt and tar race tracks, in business, in the race-tuning workshop, and in racing sponsorship would take a book to relate – grew bored with retirement and went back to work for Geoff in highly specialised areas like crankshaft balancing. Upon buying Kevin Cass Motorcycles, Geoff finally settled on the present arrangement, City Coast Motorcycles in Keira Street, which is an authorised dealer for BMW, Triumph and Yamaha.

Geoff Sim spare parts
From humble beginnings, Geoff Sim went on to own three motorcycle dealerships at the one time. Pictured: Geoff at the spare parts counter at Centrestand Motorcycles.

Geoff and Robyn went on to have a son, Timothy who inherited the racing genes. Tim was born to love two-wheels; racing motocross, supercross and mountain bikes – all at a national level. Tim began working after school at the family business by cleaning and changing tyres.

Tim and Geoff
Geoff Sim’s son Timothy was literally riding before he could walk.

Geoff taught Tim every facet of running a successful motorcycle dealership. Upon finishing school, Tim continued to work his way through the ranks with Geoff as his mentor; several years ago he took over as the Managing Director and Dealer Principal.

Tim, Wayne Gardner and Geoff
Timothy Sim, Wayne Gardner and Geoff Sim celebrate 30 years of City Coast Motorcycles in 2003. Geoff was one of Wayne’s first supporters.

The high point of Geoff’s racing career was winning the Australian 125cc championship series in 1975 and 1976, conducted over rounds in each state. He was mounted on a TA125 Yamaha provided by Kevin Cass. His second 125 GP crown was a dead heat with Dave Burgess; the only one for first place ever seen at Mount Panorama.

Geoff Sim and Dave Burgess
Geoff Sim (32) and Dave Burgess (19) famous scrap for first place at the 1976 125cc Australian Road Race Championship.

During this period he also took the TA to New Zealand, where he contested 125cc support races in the Marlboro Series, winning at Pukekoe, Gracefield, Wanganui and Timaru, dicing with and defeating future international Grand Prix star, the American Randy Mamola. Randy was the reigning US 125 champion but to be fair he was aged just 16 at the time, not a grizzled veteran of 27 like Geoff. While not a university student, Geoff also participated in 24 hour rallies at the University of NSW MCC alongside his friend, Trevor Fitzpatrick during the mid-to late 70’s.

Geoff Sim was twice crowned Australian 125cc Road Race Champion on his Yamaha TA125.

Geoff’s other great passion was aviation. Initially, this took the form of control-line powered models he and a Como friend Peter Stevenson, both in their early teens, constructed in the laundry. Thankfully by the time Geoff progressed to flying full-sized aircraft, he had become more adept at keeping them airborne than had been the case with the models.

Towards the end of his high school years, Geoff and his lifelong friend Peter Allen joined the Air Training Corps at Mascot and learnt to fly light aircraft. Approaching the age of 30, this pursuit began to assume greater prominence in Geoff”s leisure activities and he retired from motorcycle racing.

Geoff purchased a Lancair kit plane, which he built with the help of several others. While running his motorcycle dealership, they put together the Lancair behind the counter. With light weight and high performance provided by a Lycoming engine, the two-seater Lancair was far sportier than the average Cessna or Piper –  just what an ex-motorcycle racer needed.

Geoff Sim Lancair
Geoff Sim’s adventurous spirit led him to flying. His first pair of wings was a Lancair kit plane.

Geoff also owned shares in a couple of gliders, which he flew in competitions. He became adept at this exacting sport and secured several noteworthy placings in State and Australian titles:

“Years ago we both had Australian altitude records on separate days at Jindabyne. One was absolute height and other was altitude gain in motorgliders. We agreed to claim a record each. Geoff had to have the beard shaved off for that camp as we only had constant flow system with masks,” says friend Ian McPhee.

Geoff gliding at Lake Keepit in 1986.
Geoff Sim gliding at Lake Keepit, 1986.

However, spending all this time up in the clouds never diminished Geoff’s love of adventure motorcycling, a pursuit that took him to India, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, South America, Africa, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, across Russia from China, and all over Australia including crossing the Simpson Desert.

“I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on our friendship and adventures over the decades and realised that there have been very few people who have directed the course of my life more than Geoff,” says freelance writer David McGonigal.

“In 1975 a group of us were camped by the river below Hill End and Geoff asked me ‘Hey Dave, what bike are you going to buy when the RD350 dies?’ and I replied ‘that bike would go around the world’. The idea was born and I rode the RD around the world between 1976 and 1979 (with a pocketful of sparkplugs).

“I’ve written that riding around the world with a mate is like a marriage without any of the benefits. Yet in 1998 Geoff and I completed a large part of my 7-continent all-time-zones world ride when we rode from Vladivostok to Moscow and beyond. I was on a BMW R1100RT and he was on a Yamaha SRV250 which made us just about even on power vs riding skill.

“Geoff had a prang between Moscow and St Petersburg and it was a battle to get him the treatment to keep him alive and evacuated to Helsinki and home. Buddhists believe that a life challenging experience like that means you own a part of each other’s soul and so it has felt ever since,” said David.

Geoff Sim Himalayas
Geoff Sim traversing the Himilayas.

From mid-2020, Geoff began to experience the symptoms of a complex medical condition which he faced bravely and stoically. On February 12, he passed away aged 72, too young, but he packed a lot into those years and had lived life to the full.  He will long be remembered for his intelligence, his steadfastness, his generosity, his decency. Along with a legion of cherished friends, he leaves behind his son Timothy and grandchildren, Jasmine and Taj.

Geoff Sim under glider wing

Thank you to Geoff’s brother, Chris for sharing his story.

OKTOBERFEST BMW DEMO DAY

MakeLifeARide
City Coast Motorcycles is celebrating Oktoberfest on Saturday October 5 with a BMW Demo Day and irresistible savings on selected models within our BMW Motorrad range.

BMW Demo Day at City Coast Motorcycles
This is the perfect opportunity to test a huge lineup of demonstrators, enjoy STOREWIDE DISCOUNTS on riderwear and accessories. PLUS… we have exciting giveaways including a pair of BMW gloves.

There’s an exciting range of models  for you to discover, including:
the BMW G 310 GS, F 750 GS, F 850 GS, F 850 GS Rallye X, F 800 GT, R 1250 GS, R 1250 RS, S 1000 R, R NineT Urban GS and K 1600 GTL.

First ride departs at 9am and final ride departs at 12 noon.

BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL! Make sure you reserve a booking for before you head down to 262 Keira St, Wollongong so that we can ensure you get to experience the bike of your dreams! Call 42287392 or email our Sales Manager:  paul@citycoastmotorcycles.com.au

Australian Motorcycle Festival Promises Non-Stop Entertainment

Wollongong is hosting the highly anticipated and action-packed Australian Motorcycle Festival, thanks to Troy Bayliss Events. Here’s what you need to know…

Australian Motorcycle Festival

Troy, the Australian Motorcycle Festival has everything in place to become an internationally renowned event. Why have you chosen Wollongong as the location?

Over the recent years manufacturers have provided positive feedback in the direction they would like to display their products; this new layout allows them to do this. We’ve also listened to patrons who critique shows for being in venues that often cost more to park or eat than the entry into the show. We believe the Australian Motorcycle Festival will tick all the boxes.

How does the Australian Motorcycle Festival differ from other motorcycling events, like the Sydney Motorcycle Show? 

Certainly, the atmosphere will be lifestyle-oriented – just like motorcycles are – with a huge range of new motorcycles, scooters, ATV’s, UTV’s E-bikes and jet skis, plus related products and services. There’ll be over 60 motorcycles available for licensed riders to test over the weekend. We actually know of people travelling from WA and Tasmania to the show to spend the weekend testing a full range of bikes to find what’s best for them. We’ll continue with live entertainment and that also includes activities such as Robbie Maddison riding the water bike. Jet ski test rides will also be available along with children’s petrol and electric bikes.

Sounds fantastic! Will this be an annual event?

Possibly, we believe it will be a big step forward to showcase the motorcycle industry to enthusiasts and the wider community. Wollongong Council and Destination Wollongong have been very supportive of the Expo and the Supercross taking place at WIN Stadium on the Saturday evening.

Robbie Maddison at the Australian Motorcycle Festival

Where in Wollongong will it be held?

Lang Park is the event hub with all the trade display and activations, while Marine Drive will host the test ride parking and Action arena featuring the stunt riders including the Hot Wheels team. Belmore Basin will also be used for the test ride departure and return location, plus as mentioned, some of Maddo’s stunts. The Supercross on the Saturday evening is next door within WIN Stadium.

What are the main events?

The features of the show are always the manufacturer bike displays. Visitors feel relaxed when able to walk from one display to the next and able to ask multiple staff questions of what bike may best suit their needs. The products and services on display are often either on a shelf in a shop or on a website, so to be able to touch, feel, try or have direct face-to-face contact with such services as travel companies is what really makes enthusiasts and future enthusiasts enjoy the atmosphere. The list is long for live entertainment – some we haven’t released just yet, but as mentioned the test rides, stunt shows, Supercross and multiple group rides going to and from the precinct will all make for a great weekend in Wollongong.

Supercross

Time to namedrop – what big names are coming to town?

To start with, every rider chasing the Supercross Championship will be onsite; Factory teams like Honda and Yamaha will be set up within the show. Visitors can meet riders such as Justin Brayton or the list of other Americans and Australians participating in the Supercross. There’s Craig Dack, Stephan Gall and this list goes on of past champions who will be around and always willing to meet fans. I have a few guests we will announce closer to the event but I’m sure everyone will enjoy it.

What are the best family attractions on the program? 

It’s the non-stop entertainment, bike displays, wheelie machines, Hot Wheels team, Stunt bikes, Maddo riding on water plus multiple activations such as the Harley Davidson Jumpstart where adults who don’t have licences can ride a motorcycle as you would on the road, changing gears and learning how to simply ride a bike all on the safety of a display. The Supercross stars will be happy to meet the kids, some Factory teams will do Factory race truck walk throughs. On Saturday night, Supercross, Freestyle Motocross, Speed & Style and the Hot Wheels off-road show will all take place between 6pm-9pm and that’s all family-friendly. Children can test ride Pee Wee’s or electric bikes all within the show, too. The Expo is designed for all ages.

Hot Wheels Street Bike Show

Do you expect any events to sell out?

Trade displays are almost sold out now. We have been overwhelmed with the response; there are a handful of smaller sites only available.

Tell us about the displays; what brands can people expect to see?

It’s a long list but I’ll give you a few examples: Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Harley-Davidson, BMW, MV Augusta, Ural, Sherco, SWM, Royal Enfield, Benelli, Super Soco, Ducati plus many more. Products like Innotesco, Dunlop, Fly Racing, EarMold, Moto Smart, Quad Lock, Rocky Creek Designs, MotorEx, Shannons Insurance, motorcycle finance companies, Rev It, Clutch Moto, Hear Link, plus many more distributors and products. Tour companies such as Nevermind Adventures, Compass Expeditions, World on Wheels and more. Sorry for all the others I haven’t mentioned… it’s a big list. A full list of exhibitors plus schedules will be released on MotoExpo.com.au one month prior to the event. It is such a massive show!

Moto Expo

Can riders get involved?

Absolutely. Test rides will be popular and never done to this extent before. Group rides are being organised from Sydney, Canberra and the South Coast on Saturday and Sunday. Group rides will also leave and return to the precinct each day in fact I’m actually about to announce a ride that I’ll lead. Adventure tours will also leave and return from the precinct. Plus, patrons are welcome on all the activations over the weekend.

What local Wollongong businesses have you got on board?

Local companies have also confirmed participation with brands such as Clutch Moto and others. We’ve also secured the best food trucks, such as locals Two Smoking Barrels to ensure the food available onsite is quality. We’re also working in with venues outside the precinct such as the Illawarra Brewery who will host multiple functions along with many cafes.

Limited tickets are available for Round 3 of the Australian Supercross Championship. What kind of passes do people need to purchase for the Australian Motorcycle Festival? 

The Australian Motorcycle Festival is open to the public on Saturday and Sunday between 10am – 4pm. We’ve kept entry price at a minimum: $5 for kids (5-15 years) $10 for Seniors $15 for Adults – all single day passes. VIP and Premium Supercross Tickets also allow free entry into the festival, or if you want to go to the Supercross tickets start from $30.

Troy Bayliss Events

Do you have any special transport arrangements in place for the crowds?

We’re running buses free of charge from Wollongong to North Wollongong Train Stations with multiple pickup points along the way and drop-off just 50 metres from the event precinct. Three dedicated motorcycle parks will be available on Saturday and Sunday: one on Marine Drive and two on Flagstaff Hill. All details will be placed on the website one month prior to the event.

What a sensational program. This will surely be Australia’s greatest motorcycle spectacular to date!

Thanks for your time, City Coast Motorcycles. The team and myself are extremely proud to bring such a premium motorcycle event to Wollongong; the Festival will generate millions of dollars into the local economy and we can’t wait to welcome visitors from all over Australia to enjoy a full weekend in the Illawarra.

Connect with Australian Motorcycle Festival on Facebook
Connect with Australian Motorcycle Festival on Instagram

All images supplied and reproduced with permission of Troy Bayliss Events.

Opinion: The all new BMW R 1250 GS

BMW R 1250 GS
Image by Karl Mueller – My Adventure Rides

Off-road enthusiast Karl Mueller stopped by to check out BMW’s ultimate touring and adventure model:

Well I didn’t have to be told twice. “Come and play Karl” was the message on my Instagram so play I did – on a brand spanking new R1250GS thanks to City Coast Motorcycles

It was overcast with a little drizzle threatening to rain but that wasn’t going to dampen the enthusiasm. There’s a lot of similarity to my 2017 model in this new release but you can’t help and be impressed by that new motor. Who would have thought that an extra 50cc would make so much difference? I’m no expert on this stuff by any stretch but it is a very noticeable change. Smoother, snappier in its acceleration and just more lively. This bike would be a good reason to upgrade. This is so much more than a cosmetic upgrade.

BMW R 1250 GS
Image by Karl Mueller – My Adventure Rides

The other change of note to my 2017 model is the TFT display. Now I have to admit that I’m a bit old school here and I love seeing a dial tacho front and centre as well as the traditional look of gauges so I wasn’t sure I’d take to it. This new dashboard though is easy on the eyes and I have to say I liked it. Easy to read with its super sharp fonts and graphics, the thing I really liked was the large digital speed display in the centre. I’m finding that in today’s hustle and bustle traffic with so much focus on the ever changing speed zones and the relentless enforcement, having your speed so prominent is good.

Will I upgrade? Well in truth, probably not for a while. I still love my Rallye X and we have a lot more adventures to experience together. But if you’re thinking about it and wondering if the new model is an improvement to what you’re riding now, go and take it for a spin. I know you’ll like it.

Oh. One more thing – finally the wheels have right angled valves fitted. Hallelujah. 🙏

Thanks City Coast Motorcycles for letting me take the R1250GS for a spin. I’m not affiliated. It is their demo model for anyone interested to take for a ride. So go do it.

Karl Mueller
#livingthedream #makelifearide

  Connect with Karl on Facebook
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BMW R 1250 GS
Image by Karl Mueller – My Adventure Rides

Big Cat Sighted in the Illawarra

Triumph Tiger 1200
Image: Aaron Huisman

The rumours are true. Photographic evidence has been submitted to The Wollongong Daily that a big cat has been sighted in the Illawarra escarpment.

Adventure enthusiasts were quick to identify the beast as the all new Triumph Tiger and couldn’t contain their excitement:

“What a beauty. It is amazing to see such a majestic and rugged creature in the wild. It looked perfectly at home, traversing the dirt roads and soaking in the views,” said an undisclosed source.

Large numbers flocked to City Coast Motorcycles in Keira Street on Saturday on news they could experience the tiger in person.

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Exciting New BMWs Put To The Test

F 750 GS Test Ride

City Coast Motorcycles was one of twelve Australian dealerships to attend the International BMW Motorrad Conference in Sardinia, Italy. Dealer Principal Timothy Sim had the opportunity to experience first-hand an impressive line-up of new models.

Sardinia offered a quality mix of scenic on-road and off-road riding, which Tim says would be hard to beat:

“We were so lucky to explore the fun, windy roads along the coast and then head into the mountains via some amazing off-road, rocky trails.”

Tim tested three new releases from BMW Motorrad which will arrive later this year at City Coast Motorcycles; the F 850 GS, the F 750 GS and the C 400 X. Here are his thoughts:

F 850 GS

Check out Tim’s GoPro footage of the all new BMW  F 850 GS  here:

“The motor has character and is very exciting. When the engine hits its sweet spot at about 6,000 revs it just comes alive. The F 850 GS feels comfortable instantly, like a proper dirt bike. You can do everything; you can ride it smoothly and even aggressively off-road, like a motocross bike. Compared to the previous model, the way the weight has been changed with the fuel tank moved further forward completely improves the handling into a precise and well-balanced machine. The added features of the TFT screen, quick-shift and cruise-control just make it the ultimate adventurer.”

F 750 GS

NEW F 750 GS
“The F 750 GS is perfect for on and off-road riding. Again, its improved engine is what impressed me, whilst the handling is also brilliant. Whether you’re an experience dual-sport rider or starting out, this bike will give you a lot of confidence and fun. Now it has the same features as the R 1200 GS, like the TFT screen, quick-shift and cruise-control giving it the perfect balance.”

C 400 X

BMW C 400 X

“Wow! This is a really fun machine. We rode through small Italian villages, then curvy mountain roads. The C 400 X has a surprising amount of power and very precise handling. What an awesome commuter, with amazing under-seat storage for your helmet. The Comfort Package adds the TFT dash, along with heated grips and heated seat. Any motorcyclist would enjoy owning one of these because you cannot help but have a smile on your face.”

F 850 GS Test Ride
If you would like further information about these forthcoming models please call in and chat to Tim or Dean.