With fundraising due to close on Sunday June 6th, The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride – Wollongong has passed the incredible milestone of $150,000! Meanwhile, it has been in a tight contest with London for 2nd position out of over 700 cities worldwide.
Participants Phill Critcher and Ermond Morelli are on track to come 2nd and 3rd globally out of over 65,000 riders, while their team – The FC’s – is also ranking 3rd. Since City Coast Motorcycles introduced the ride to Wollongong in 2017, almost $350K has been raised to support Movember. This is an outstanding achievement and we could not be prouder of our riding community who have wholeheartedly embraced this niche event for classic and vintage motorcycles.
Below are some images we captured on the day – click on the thumbnail to open the gallery. We are happy for you to share them on social media; please give ride hosts City Coast Motorcycles a nod if you do so.
The team at City Coast Motorcycles are deeply saddened by the loss of our Founder, Geoff Sim. This tribute shares his life and legacy.
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 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.
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’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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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’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 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.
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.
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.
Thank you to Geoff’s brother, Chris for sharing his story.
The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) have partnered with Movember for a new community program aimed at better connecting male motorcyclists. We chat with Mark Hawwa – the Founder of DGR, Throttle Roll and Ride Sunday – about this special initiative.
I had just come back from a trip to Japan and fell in love with their mix of a classic and custom motorcycling scene. When I got back, I was determined to get a bike that could bring that style back here to Australia, but none of my mates rode that kind of bike, so I started the Sydney Cafe Racers. As the custom style caught on, I started seeing people from around the world get into these groups and we connected over a joint love of custom motorcycles. Then the idea for DGR hit me when I saw a poster of Mad Men’s Don Draper sitting on a Matchless motorcycle in his beautifully tailored suit and thought it was a really interesting way to show a motorcyclist. At the time in Australia, we had a lot of issues with public perception of “bikies”, so it motivated me to spread the word throughout these groups and get everyone riding on the same day on their classic and vintage style bikes to dress dapper and ride together to break down that negative stereotype. That was 3,000 riders in 64 cities, and now we’re connecting 116,000 riders in 678 cities, so quite a lot has changed!
DGR has a special relationship with its global charity partner the Movember Foundation. How did the idea of the DGR Social Connections Challenge come about?
The relationship with Movember formed in 2016. We were working with various Prostate Cancer Foundations around the world to localise people’s donations and provide them with tax deductibility, but it was a tough job. We connected with Movember and everything just moved forward naturally. We have really similar goals in how to provide support for men and are actively funding a wide range of prostate cancer research and mental health programs to connect men in motorcycling.
The DGR Social Connections Challenge came about with us knowing how dedicated our community through DGR was in fundraising and in changing the way men communicate, so we thought it was finally time to help bring specific programs targeted at all riders to make a difference to them directly. This program isn’t just for people in DGR, but for every single male motorcyclist. We’ve never done anything like this before and Movember was really excited to build out a program that helps us better connect with riders as a part of their “going to where men are” approach to mental health. It really is a world-first and we’re honoured to be able to bring this to the global riding community.
What countries are involved?
Currently, we are accepting pilot programs in Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK, and Canada as these are the areas that we can directly offer funding and support. Once the pilot programs go through the Challenge, there is definitely an opportunity for them to scale further and operate in more areas.
Are the grants open to groups as well as individuals?
Absolutely anyone is welcome to submit an application. Groups or individuals. We’d also recommend you have a mate or two helping out as this is potentially a 15-month program if you get through to Phase 2, so having a bit of friendly support wouldn’t be a bad idea.
How will the Challenge be carried out?
The Challenge will be carried out in two key phases at this stage. It’ll be broken down as Phase 1.1, Phase 1.2, Phase 2, and Phase 3. A maximum of 25 grants valued at up to AUD $7,500 will be awarded internationally under Phase 1 of this opportunity.
Step 1 asks applicants to submit an Inspiration Statement. The applicants with the most creative and innovative ideas will be invited to pitch their idea. Successful pitches will be considered upon receipt of a signed, short-form Movember funding agreement which will lead them into Step 2.
In Step 2, development funds will be provided to assist in research, engage with the targeted group, design and create an initiative plan over a 9-week period that has the potential to be piloted. This is the core period where we can really give attention to people’s ideas and see if they can work.
From here, the best candidates will be invited into Phase 2, where we really get into the nitty-gritty of the program. A maximum of ten pilot project grants valued at up to AUD $75,000 will be awarded internationally under Phase 2 to carry out implementation of pilot project plans over a 12-month period. This is where programs will really scale up and take serious shape to test out the ideas and try to bring riders together in the process.
Continued investment may be forthcoming in Phase 3 for those projects that show the greatest promise for ‘scaling up’ at the end of the pilot period. This is an extended piloting phase, so the continuation is really dependant after Phase 2.
The great thing about this is event programs that are not invited into Phase 3 will be in a position to keep working at their ideas. The support that we’re looking to provide over the course of the next 15 months will give our applicants a huge level of insight into how they can scale and succeed their ideas.
How will the grant applications be judged – what are you looking for?
We definitely have a few things we’re looking out for in this. If the name is any indicator to you, we’re looking for ideas that help connect riders socially, outside of the DGR community. This is a really wide-net to men in motorcycling, so it should be something that connects all men, and especially, those guys that may be a little harder to reach when it comes to connecting. With the focus on connections, we are also looking at programs that strength peer-to-peer support and can allow us to provide positive role models and mentors to all riders, and improve everyone’s knowledge about mental health and suicide prevention.
What’s involved in submitting an idea?
All you need to do to get this off the ground is register online HERE and submit an Inspiration Statement by July 6th. From there, you may get invited into Phase 1.1 to pitch your concept with a few other pieces. You can find a more detailed breakdown of this at www.gentlemansride.com/blog/dgr-scc
How soon will the funds be allocated?
Funding will be provided within the Phase stages by Movember, so successful applicants will be able to allocate those funds to areas that will help them succeed best. The great thing here is Movember will be with them all the way to help identify where these funds might be best placed.
Is this something DGR and Movember plan to do on an annual basis?
Who knows?! This is a first-time for us, so once we get through it, we’ll absolutely be reviewing and seeing just how successful the concept is. In some way, I’d like to though. It’s really important that we’re funding programs where our riders need it most, so this will absolutely be a test of that.
Given that the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is a global event, what changes can we expect for 2020 with varying COVID-19 social restrictions worldwide?
Worldwide, we’re looking at a Solo Event for 2020, which will eliminate mass events and have riders taking to the streets on their own to raise funds for the event. It’s a tough one, because some are able to hit the road in groups or alone, and others may not be allowed to ride at all, so we need to find a way to engage everyone. To achieve this, riders around the world will be encouraged to dapper up and either hop on their bikes if they’re able to, or to snap a shot of themselves with their classic and vintage styled motorcycle and join us online. The focus for this year will be to connect riders from all around the world, despite their COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. We want riders to know that we may be socially distanced, but we can still be connected digitally.
We not only need to take people’s local lockdown restrictions into consideration, but we also needed to consider how riders and hosts have been financially affected in losing jobs and security, and how this may have impacted their lives. It’s a three-degrees of separation thing, some hosts either had COVID-19, or knew someone who did, and even have family members who lost their lives because of it. We wanted to be sensitive to those who spend countless hours volunteering to run their ride, who may not be able to get involved. The main thing we’d want people to be aware of here is that we know that some areas of the world might be opened up by the time DGR hits in 2020, but DGR isn’t only a local event – it’s a global movement – and when we have so many folks who are integral in running their rides who have been heavily impacted by this, we need to look out for them and each other.
Connect with the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride on Facebook Connect with Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride on Instagram Connect with Movember Australia on Facebook Connect with Movember on Instagram
When Dwayne’s grandfather Ken Affleck passed away at age 95 in 2014he also left behind his pride and joy – an extremely rare BMW R5. Just 2,632 were built between 1936 and 1937 and only a handful remain. Dwayne now has the honour of restoring his Papa’s legacy.
Dwayne, you’re an avid motorcyclist. Is a love of riding in the genes?
I would say, “yes” but not just a love of riding – it’s a love of all things automotive, mechanical and engineering. My grandfather and my great grandfather even built their own plane, back in the day. Papa later worked for ESSO as the Head of Oil and Fuel Engineering which lead to him being involved with F1 drivers like Jim Clark and Jack Brabham. My father Rod is a retired mechanic and I’m an auto electrician. We’ve all had (or still have) involvement in two and four-wheeled motorsports. I have definitely discovered motorcycling more in the last five years which has taken me all over Australia and to the other side of the world by competing in and finishing Red Bull Romaniacs in 2019.
Your grandfather Ken has left you with a very special motorbike. What does his rare 1936 BMW R5 mean to you?
It means everything! It’s been so cared for and loved; in fact, it’s pretty much as it came off the floor with the exception of some minor marks and aging paint as it was used as a bike should be ridden and enjoyed. Being so entrenched in the family, it’s also significant that I’m working on it alongside my dad and my twelve-year-old son, Harry. It is very much a family affair.
Do you know of any other R5’s in Australia?
Currently we’ve been unable to track down any other complete R5s in Australia, apart from one in pieces awaiting restoration. Shannons and Lloyds couldn’t either when approached for an evaluation of my grandfather’s bike. We know some R5s have been here in the past, but have then been sold to overseas buyers. There are those that haven’t seen the light of day so they have lost track of them and don’t know if they still exist as a whole bike. To my knowledge there seems to be only a few known of world-wide, one of which is owned by Lord March – Founder of the GoodwoodFestival of Speed. I believe BMW themselves have three in different states of condition (one restored, one in their bunker and one unrestored). There are a few in the US and a handful throughout Europe, but being a pre-World War 2 and only 2500-odd made, a lot would have been scrapped for materials during the War or lost to the fighting.
Ken was a new father when he purchased the R5. Was it his first motorcycle?
His first bike was second-hand 1925 BSA 250 round tank 2-speed which he later sold. He then got a DKW motorcycle. In 1948 he purchased the BMW R5 Sydney dealer called Arncliffe & Homebush Motorcycles. My grandfather knew the owners and learned the R5 was for sale there on behalf of an Air Force personnel. Then in the early 2000’s he bought an R27 BMW 250 single cylinder. This was because he wanted to attend the early VMCC Easter Bike Rally at Bathurst and couldn’t get some parts in time for the R5.
Given its age, this R5 is in remarkable condition. Is it true that when Ken married your grandmother he wasn’t allowed to ride it?
Mama definitely wasn’t fond of the bikes, but when the kids came along and were growing up Papa decided to give up bike racing and general riding. He stored the R5 until her passing in the mid-1990s, then dusted the bike back off. He pieced a few bits back together and started riding again in his mid-70s all the way up until he was 93 years old. Papa was a very active member of the Vintage Motorcycle Club NSW during his later years.
Back in the day, why do you think the R5 was such a gamechanger for BMW?
After riding it around the streets when we first picked it up I would have to say it’s an amazingly balanced bike with a great riding position. I’ve ridden a few other newer bikes (1960s models ha ha ha) and they ride nowhere near as well as the R5 does. The, design and engineering in the bike is astounding in my eyes for its era, too plus in its day it rivaled cars for top speed performance.
What type of work is involved to get your R5 project on the road?
Surprisingly not much has been needed. We aren’t there one-hundred percent just yet, but it’s just some perishables like fuel hoses, some carburettor gaskets and oil seals as we did have it running when we picked up the bike. We’ve kept it in storage for four years until we were in a position to give it proper attention it deserves. With the recent world situation and travel restrictions there’s been delays unfortunately. We expect it to be finished towards the end of May or early June.
Many aspects of BMW’s new R18 have been based on the R5. What are your thoughts?
Personally, I absolutely love the new R18; the efforts that they’ve gone to, to give it the old-school character while working with modern regulations for emission, etcetera are huge. I can only imagine how hard it is to make a bike stand out today, especially in the cruiser market they (BMW Motorrad) are targeting. It’s a tough task with very well established competitors .
Tell us about Ken’s scrambling days:
Papa was involved with the Dulwich Hill Motorcycle Club as they had a track situated on his large Kellyville property. He was a multiple trophy holder with the Two-Stroke Club of NSW in 1939. He and was involved with a trials club who held events at Castlereagh on the rocks and banks of the Nepean river; the idea was having to ride over the boulders without putting feet down to not lose points.
Later in life Papa loved to run with the VMCC who used to hold average speed rallies and navigational events; this included him having a minor off while riding down a dirt road and he couldn’t slow the bike quickly enough and ended up having a soft lay down of the bike in the grass just off the road. He was so mad because he finally got to pass this “young, slow annoying rider ” who was holding him up. We found out this “young” rider was in their late 70s and my grandfather was in his early 90s at this stage (ha ha ha!) Another time he was enjoying his riding a little much and ran wide going under a viaduct out at his favourite event near Bathurst, scrapping the side of himself down the guard rail just enough to leave some bruisers – but not enough to knock him off the bike or even leave a mark on it.
Do you have any future plans for the R5 or R27?
The R5 will be kept in the family forever. It’s one of those special bikes that we’re the only custodian of as my grandfather will always be the owner of the bike. The R27 just needs a blinker/horn combination for registration and my parents will be looking to sell it soon after. It never had any real significance to my grandfather who only kept it as a backup for his beloved R5.
Special thanks to Dwayne and family for sharing Ken Affleck’s R5 legacy.
Discover how the R5 was the inspiration for BMW’s new R18 cruiser in A Bavarian Soulstory – Episode 1.
Tim and Bushy from City Coast Motorcycles and Jay Marmont are among a select handful of riders who sampled the upgraded motocross track at Wollongong Motorcycle Club, yesterday. Finishing touches are being added ahead of the venue reopening.
Wollongong Motorcycle Club President Andy Davey is pumped about the new design:
“The year got off to a great start before being hit with COVID-19. The Committee decided to change up the track to keep the riders interested. A big thanks to Cashy, Bushy, Jay Marmont and Matt Lindsay for all their help.
“I’m excited for the Club to come out the other side of the coronavirus with a fresh track. The good news is we will open on May 23rd with groups of ten with two-hour sessions. This will be done following the strict regulations,” said Andy.
Machine operator and renowned track builder Mal Cash says many factors have been taken into consideration:
“It’s great to see Wollongong Motorcycle Club moving forward with the progression of the complex. We have built the main track with the spectators and riders in mind. And, we have also considered the history of this track and the unique layout of the terrain,” Mal said.
Tim from City Coast Motorcycles was suitably impressed:
“It was great to break in the new track which is next level and has some fun challenges. I can’t wait until it’s finished,” he said.
Back by popular demand, MotoE is returning to Australia. Meet Coach Robb – trainer to some of today’s top amateur and professional riders – in store *** at a revised date in March 2020 ***
As part of a nine-track Australian tour (including Wollongong Motorcycle Club 20-21 January), Coach Robb will make a special appearance at our Keira Street showroom at a revised date in our showroom in March.
Since 2005, MotoE’s Coach Robb has worked with and produced some of today’s top professionals including Ryan Dungey, Adam Cianciarulo, Jeremy Martin, Jordan Bailey, Alex Martin and Stilez Robertson.
This is an informal session where questions are welcome. Examples of topics for discussion include:
Why high intensity training off the motorcycle is not translating to faster lap times.
What you should (or shouldn’t) eat on race day.
How to maximize your endurance training off the bike.
The importance of a proper warm up before racing.
Simple things you can do to improve race day confidence.
LUCKY DOOR PRIZES
1 x FREE Voucher to MotoE’s Wollongong Riding & Performance Camp
6 X FREE Day’s Riding Vouchers at the Mount Kembla Scramble Circuit thanks to Wollongong Motorcycle Club
ENTRY via GOLD COIN DONATION in support of Illawarra Convoy.
This event will be lightly catered. PLEASE REGISTER YOUR RSVP AT THE LINK BELOW to learn from the best in the business!
City Coast Motorcycles proudly presented Wollongong’s third Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. This worldwide phenomenon is for vintage and classic styled motorcycles and supports The Movember Foundation.
Our local ride feature’s Australia’s top fundraisers and in 2019 it has already raised $93,000 for men’s health… and counting! Fundraising continues throughout October. If you wish to sponsor our ride or a participant please click HERE.
Below are some images we captured on the day – click on the thumbnail to open the gallery. We are happy for you to share them on social media; please give City Coast Motorcycles a nod if you do so.
The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride was founded in 2012 by Mark Hawwa in Sydney and has since become a worldwide phenomenon. It was introduced to Wollongong by Jane and the team at City Coast Motorcycles in 2017.
Dealer Principal Timothy Sim says it is special to watch how the The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride brings vintage and classic motorcyclists together to help people in need. Enthusiasm for the Illawarra event has grown rapidly; in 2018 Wollongong ranked 20th in the world out of 648 rides.
“Every year it just keeps getting better and better,” Timothy said.
Organiser Jane Sim describes The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride as emotional on many levels:
“On the surface it is a colourful spectacle with people dressed in their finery and showing off their beautiful bikes. On the next level there is the comradery, with friendships formed and new memories made. But at the heart of it all we’re riding for a very serious reason: Over one million men are losing their lives annually to suicide and prostate cancer. This touches us all. We are riding for awareness of these causes and to help Movember to help more men.”
Movember Community Ambassador Mark Kelly struggled with mental health in his early twenties. He didn’t have any strategies in place to handle his depression. After seeking help from his GP and getting a mental health plan, he hasn’t looked back.
“Knowing that there were others out there like me who did not have the tools to deal with mental health issues, I found Movember as a fun way to help spread awareness and use my story as a motivator for others to seek help,” Mark said.
“The DGR is an excellent event as it helps to keep the message of Movember going year-round. It is an event that promotes friendship, enjoyment and catches the eye of the public in a unique way,” he said.
Jane acknowledges the Wollongong event would not be possible without the support of local sponsors and clubs.
“We are so fortunate to have the region’s businesses backing our event; Clutch Moto, Coal Coast Emporium and Towradgi Beach Hotel have all supplied prizes to give further incentive to participants. Official photographers, Keogh’s Vision Photography donates 50% of their revenue from images purchased on the day and Sarah’s Coffee Van also shares a portion of her takings. We are also indebted to the Illawarra Classic Motorcycle Club who contribute a sizeable donation every year.
Preparation for The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride begins months in advance, working with Wollongong City Council and the Wollongong Local Area Command. A lot of thought goes in to planning a route suitable for vintage motorcycles and sidecars requiring slower roads.
“There is a lot to take into consideration when organising the Ride. Not-to-forget our region’s divine scenery – we really are spoiled in the Illawarra! I think you would be hard-pressed to find anything like it anywhere else in the world,” Jane said.
City Coast Motorcycles proudly supports Wollongong’s Bikers 4 Heroes. Stu Butler AKA Captain America tells how his league of superhero motorcyclists are helping our locals who need it most….
What motivated you to form the group, Bikers 4 Heroes?
It came about for a few simple reasons; to put smile on kid’s faces that are doing it tough, to provide financial assistance to families who quite often struggle due to financial restraints and to live by our motto, ‘Life isn’t always fair so let’s make it fun’.
We formed because life isn’t fair and unfortunately some children have to battle villains, daily. These villains don’t have to be in the form of what we know through comics but in illness. We join the children and their families in this battle.
When did you begin?
Bikers 4 Heroes formed following the 2018 Illawarra Convoy in November. Initially, we started with five or six superheroes and held our first public event on Australia Day 2019. We walked in our costumes from Shellharbour all the way to Wollongong Harbour in 36 degree temperature!
Who do you support with your fundraising?
We have had the pleasure of helping a few families along our journey by holding events just for them and also raising funds for Illawarra Convoy in our bid for lead bike in 2019. Through this experience we don’t just help these families one-off. These children and their families and now our family.
Are you a registered charity?
We are not a charity; we are a group who raise funds for individual families who are in need. We pride ourselves in ensuring 100% of funds raised go to the families that we help. We also raise funds through the Illawarra Community Foundation for the Illawarra Convoy.
Awesome! What have you got planned for Illawarra Convoy?
Bikers 4 Heroes are raising funds for lead bike in the 2019 Illawarra Convoy. This entails placing a ‘bid’ prior to Convoy to ride at the ‘head of the pack’ of over 1000 motorcycle enthusiasts. The events that we hold throughout the year (when we aren’t helping individual families) are for our lead bike bid.
What superhero characters do you have on the team?
We currently have 15 superheroes and two other committee members who all play an integral part in this super team.
Deadpool – Ryan Reynolds Spider-Man – Daniel Barnes Captain America – Stu Butler The Hulk – Jim Parkinson Iron Man – Joshua Hole Batman – Matt Dubois Antman – Adam Deaves Thor – Dave Drain The Flash – Durant Rugg Batgirl – Emma Kearns Robin – Jenna Kalsow Green Lantern – John Butterly Wolverine – Matt Kalsow Black Panther – Mitch Butler Supergirl – Teagan Paterson
Two of our hardest workers – Kayla Butler & Shay Parkinson – form part of the Bikers 4 Heroes committee.
What types of events do you present?
We have held so many events and are forever coming up with new and better events. Some of the events we’ve had and are planning include superhero walks, trivia nights, family fun days, motorcycle rides, car cruises, a show & shine and the Masquerade Ball.
We also have an exciting venture underway with an amazing not-for-profit group called, Supertee who make medical-grade garments for little superheroes doing it tough.
What has been your most memorable moment so far?
It’s difficult to pinpoint one most memorable moment. All events have been fantastic, but I think the most incredible thing is being able to witness the children and their families forgetting about the tough times for even a few moments. It’s absolutely amazing and warming to our hearts.
How much money have you already raised for the Illawarra?
You’ll have to wait until we do our live bid on November the 13th on i98FM with Marty, Christie and Crammy. For individual families we have managed to help them with medical bills and assistance.
Wollongong is hosting the highly anticipated and action-packed Australian Motorcycle Festival, thanks to Troy Bayliss Events. Here’s what you need to know…
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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All images supplied and reproduced with permission of Troy Bayliss Events.