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.
Coach Robb Beams is the United States’ No.1 “go-to” for nutrition and performance training for MX and off-road racing. With 35 years experience, he is returning to Australia in July for a special event at City Coast Motorcycles and MotoE Performance Camps at Wollongong Motorcycle Club. He candidly has shared his story in this exclusive Q&A.
When did you start riding dirt bikes?
I got my first Suzuki RM 80 in 1978 for Christmas. I have been in and around dirt bikes ever since.
What do you ride now?
Unfortunately, I don’t have a bike right now due to things surrounding a divorce. However, me and both my boys would like to resume riding now that it is over. Being at the track on a regular basis helps me keep up to date with the various changes to the bikes: suspension, chassis, tyres, gearing, fuel, etc. I factor all these variables into my riding clinics and camps.
How did Complete Racing Solutions and MotoE come to be?
I started my performance company when a friend who happened to be a professional tennis player wanted a performance program: speed/agility; nutrition, hydration, mental development and soft tissue maintenance. I never wanted to get involved with the business side of motocross and supercross because I wanted to keep my love of moto outside my business world. However, I had been coaching for about 10 years when I was approached by Toyota to manage the human performance side of their Amateur Development Program, “Moving Forward”. I worked with all their riders throughout the season and word of mouth spread. By the end of the season, I was approached by riders who are also great people: Adam Cianciarulo (Factory Kawasaki), Alex and Jeremy Martin, Ian Trettel (Factory Suzuki) and Ashley Fiolek (Factory Honda) to mention a few. Our name was passed over to other motorsports like NASCAR and Formula One and eventually the motorsport side of the business became big enough, so I created a separate business segment to complement our other divisions: Speed & Agility; Endurance and Weight Loss. The motorsport division is still our smallest; however, it is my personal passion and I enjoy it more each day.
You’re a former professional BMX racer and top-level triathlete: How do these skills cross over into coaching MX?
When I was developing as BMX racer, I was always looking for resources on how to eat, drink, train, cross train, improve flexibility and get mentally stronger and found very few resources. So, for the first two years I asked anyone that I could talk to on how they trained. Fortunately for me, our local track was stacked with nationally ranked racers and they allowed me to ride and train with them – I soaked up as much as I could and formulated my own process and system that worked. In one year, I went from not being nationally ranked to 15th and from 10th in the state of Florida to 2nd (behind the Nationally ranked #1 rider). The next year I went to national #8 and state #1 and continued to fine tune and tweak my program ask as many questions as possible. I then turned pro in 1987 and finished ranked 8th in the world at the IBMXF World Championships.
After the IBMXF World Championships, my dad told me it was time to go to college. My dad was a military guy and didn’t play around – he meant what he said, and you did what he said. So, I went to college and got undergraduate degrees in computer science and human resource management. I then went back to school for sports performance massage therapy and then my master’s degree in exercise physiology. While at university, my roommate was training for triathlons and I started doing what he was doing. Within a year I was the Central Florida Triathlon Champion, Birthplace of Speed Series Champion and the Track Shack Triathlon Sprint Champion. I eventually was invited to test at the Olympic Training Centre in Colorado Springs specific to triathlon. Unfortunately, I got hit by a car and blew my knee out and was no longer eligible for the elite team.
Between the school degrees, personal race experiences and the knowledge I garnered from the Olympic Training Centre (along with constantly researching) I created a complete process and system now popularly known as the Complete Training Solutions program. With all my sport specific programs, I take the sport specific demands/frustrations and help athletes and racers identify and systematically address until the frustrations/limiters become strengths. All of my programs include training protocols to improve sprint speed, eliminate late race fatigue, drop body fat and improve lean muscle mass, complete nutrition and hydration strategies along with a complete mental development element that equips the rider to handle the pressures of racing both from the front and from the back of the pack.
You have worked with a lot of big names in sport, but you offer your services to everyone. Do the same rules apply to all?
Absolutely! Ironically, non-professionals benefit the most from our performance programs because they are spread so thin with professional, school, social, financial, family/relationships, bike prep, travel to and from, clean up and THEN athletic (how hard should I train, how often, how hard, what should I do, etc.). Professionals have all day to get better. They have people doing everything for them. They can take naps and get massages during the day. They can afford to have someone cook and clean for them. Think about what Chad Reed said about moving from Florida to JGR’s program. He simply shows up, gets geared up, rides/test, leaves and goes home to his family. Someone is taking care of the track, his bike, etc. so he can focus on himself and his family obligations. He has a lot less on his plate than a racer who works and has a family.
You put a lot of emphasis on sports psychology, what has been your biggest personal hurdle so far?
I have two that have changed my career – personally and professionally:
First, at the IBMXF World Championships; I had a big contract on the line to ride for one of the sports largest teams. Unfortunately, I went early on the gate and nearly flipped over, and I didn’t finish in the top three (a contract stipulation). As a result, the deal was pulled and as stated earlier, my dad told me it was time to move into the world of education. I felt like I had blown four years of hard work, I had let my parents down, I lost the team opportunity and as a result I had to pick myself up and move on. I never understood what the saying “It is lonely at the top” meant until that day. When you are on top, everyone is your friend. When you are not, you find out who your true friends are. Either way it is a lonely place to be.
Second, getting hit by a car and blowing my knee out and as a result not being considered for the elite team was a tough pill to swallow. To have something taken away that I worked so hard for by someone else was hard to wrap my head around.
Ironically, I have had to lean on both “life experiences” to handle both personal and business-related matters over the last ten years that put me in the exact situation again. This is where I coined the concept of “Athletic Maturity”. Until you endure something, like a broken bone, you don’t know what to expect and you must “learn” to fix and how to improve after the situation. After you have endured something, you are better equipped with both resources and mental focus.
What is a typical workday like for you?
Monday and Tuesday’s, I am in the office from 7am until 10:00pm hosting client calls from around the world. For example, first thing in the morning I am doing Skype calls with clients in Thailand and Greece. Through the early mornings, I am on east coast calls, then as the day transpires, I move to the west coast and then into Netherlands, New Zealand and finally Australia. It is imperative that I speak to clients early in the week to discuss the weekend and make any changes to their training schedules for the upcoming week. Micaela and I take a couple of breaks to work out and eat, but these two days are busy on the phone.
Wednesday is when I do my research and writing. I write for several online magazines, our monthly newsletter, articles for our websites and membership areas as well as our social media messages. The day starts at 7:00am and I am finished around 5:00pm.
Thursday is video production and new business development. MotoE is about to launch a membership area where riders can find complete training and nutrition programs. In addition to the training programs, we will have hundreds of short videos explaining various topics: how to proper hydrate, what causes cramping, how to drop body fat, how to manage heat and humidity, etc. The membership area will have new videos and articles uploaded every week indefinitely. We also have numerous educational bundles, digital products and coaching specific resources that are also incorporated into our video production as well. Needless to say, Thursday is all about video production and editing!
Friday is dedicated to writing my client’s schedules based on the data that was collected during the week: Resting heart rate, hours of sleep, food logs, training intensity and duration, performance results and a few other elements. There is a fine line between over training and under training and our analytics side of our process keeps us right in the middle to ensure that the individual is always improving. My rule is to have my clients improving by 1% every day by focusing on both sweating and non-sweating elements of their program. All schedules are emailed out by close of business on Friday so that they have the weekend to review the schedule and compare against their personal schedules. If we need to make an adjustment, I can get this done over the weekend. During our Monday or Tuesday call, we make the final adjustments to the schedule as needed. My goal is that my client simply opens the schedule and simply follows the duration, intensity and nutritional protocols. This allows them more time to focus on the other important elements of life: work, school, family, financial, etc.
You have ridden tracks and coached the world over but are returning to Wollongong Motorcycle Club this July. What draws you to the south-east coast of Australia?
Thanks to the help of Beau Franklin and Shannon Ninness we came over in January to a warm welcome by the Wollongong Motorcycle Club and its riders. We hosted our Level One classes and was impressed with how quickly the riders embraced the integration of human physiology and motorcycle physics. The result was improved body position, consistent execution of skills and as a result, significantly faster lap times.
In July, in addition to offering our Level One class, we are offering up our Level Two class to elevate the ability level of the riders who attended Level One in January. There are so many important elements to riding and racing; however, I feel that most riding programs tend to focus on things that don’t really matter. There are many more important elements that precedes some of the requested skills currently being asked of the rider that results in slower lap times and high levels of frustrations. For example, a rider being told to “drive the bike deeper into the turn” isn’t helpful until the rider understands why the bike is unstable coming into the turn. As stated earlier, to improve a rider correctly you must incorporate human physiology WITH motorcycle physics. Until this happens, a rider will never reach the full potential of speed and endurance to become a champion.
Join Coach Robb for a special “Meet the Coach” evening hosted by City Coast Motorcycles Thursday July 4 from 6-8pm.
Protect your investment. Defend your dream with Black Knight® GPS tracking. The Z3 can be attached and hidden away in just about anything. Perfect for motorcycles!
The high-performance Z3 GPS tracker from Black Knight® is designed to be wired and hidden in almost any vehicle; a car, van, truck, motorcycle or caravan. The Z3 is directly wired to the battery terminal for an uninterrupted power supply. So long as it has a permanent power source, it can be tracked. It’s power usage is minimal and will not drain your battery, as the Z3 is designed to enter sleep mode when your vehicle’s engine is shut off.
Pair your Z3 tracker with the Black Knight® app to track your vehicle remotely in real time from your phone or tablet. You will receive alerts if it moves or becomes disconnected, and there is playback for up to 12 months of travel history. With the Z3, you’re always in control . Alternatively, you can visit the Black Knight website to track your vehicle from your personal computer.
Functions and specifications:
Light weight and small at just 38g and measuring 69 x 35 x 12mm
15-second position updates
12 months travel history playback
Simple installation to battery terminal (12-30V) via dual-pin hardwire cable
Geofence Alerts – receive notifications when your vehicle or asset leaves a set area.
Power Disconnect Alerts – receive notifications when your tracker is disconnected.
Speed Limit Alerts – receive notifications when your vehicle or asset goes over a speed limit.
Travel Distance Alerts – receive notifications when your vehicle travels over 2,000km, 5,000km or 10,000km
Packaged with your tracker:
Heavy-duty dual-pin power cable
Theft warranty certificate – for when your vehicle or asset is stolen
Unique Identification card with your tracker ID inscribed
Available in store at City Coast Motorcycles, 262 Keira St, Wollongong.
Or alternatively purchase from our online store:
My first ride was probably on a postie or dirt bike on the farm up in the Highlands where we were raised. We were always around bikes as kids, one of my earliest memories is sitting on top of Dad’s BSA, polishing as far as my arms would reach while he’d be working on it. Dad loves classic racers; he’s owned Triumphs, BSAs, Nortons, Matchless and Ducatis. Pop and my brother have always had motorbikes too. Their love for life on two wheels has definitely influenced my own.
What was your first motorcycle and where did you ride it?
I picked up my first road bike on Valentine’s Day, a red Ducati Monster 659 named Valentino. I’d only been living in the Illawarra a little while, and my Duc took me up and down the coast as I learnt to ride. There were lots of National Park runs, rides up Keira, down Kembla, to Berry or further south and up to Bald Hill.
What wheels do you have now?
I’m currently riding a very charming 2013 Triumph Thruxton 900 named Knox. I went in to pick up a helmet and had the guys at City Coast Motorcycles hand me the keys and tell me to take it for a spin. It was love at first braap, and has been ever since.
What has been your most memorable motorcycling experience to date?
For me every ride is a memorable experience, there’s a really strong and encouraging motorcycling community in the Illawarra and I often ride with my motofam, the Illawarra Café Racers or The Litas Wollongong. We’re blessed with so many beautiful coastal roads here. The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride last year though was superb, really well organized and for such a great cause. I’m excited for this year’s one. In partnership with City Coast Motorcycles and The North Wollongong Hotel, The Litas held a Santa Pub Crawl Charity Ride. It was fun riding across the Sea Cliff bridge in Santa suits and raising money for a local cause. We’re really grateful to be supported by local businesses.
Motorbikes have been like ‘a rock’ to you. Can you share with us how they have helped you?
I remember dad saying that you don’t see motorcycles out the front of psychologist’s offices, and you know I think he was onto something. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression just before I bought my first bike and I found that riding really helped me to be mindful, to spend time close to Mother Earth and to be around good people. It’s amazing the type of healing a bike can provide. If ever I’m stuck a ride on my bike really contextualizes things for me. I always return with a heart full of gratitude.
How did the idea for The Incredible Freedom Machines come about?
The Incredible Freedom Machines tells the story of a little girl and her adventures with her Freedom Machine. For me, this book is a metaphor for my own adventures on Valentino. The day that I wrote it, I’d been riding through the National Park, and along the coast before arriving in Keiraville for a cup of tea. I wrote the whole manuscript in one sitting, sent it to Matt Ottley, one of Australia’s best illustrators with the email subject: ‘Be my Illustrator?’ and was absolutely flawed when he sent it to my now editor at Scholastic.
What age group isThe Incredible Freedom Machines pitched at?
This book could be read to Preschoolers or analyzed for literary studies in High School, though the primary teacher in me sees it being loved dearly by Primary students. The illustrations (which I can take no credit for) are the most divine creations, I couldn’t have dreamt them better.
This book is getting excellent early reviews. What do you have planned next?
Thank you! It’s really exciting seeing it hitting shelves. The Incredible Freedom Machines has been selected for presentation at the largest Children’s book fair in the world, Bologna Book Fair (May 2018). It’ll be pitched there to hopefully be published in other languages.
It’s also being presented as a part of The Sound of Picture Books in Fremantle, where an accompanying orchestral piece will be played by the Perth Symphony Orchestra as Matt Ottley (The Illustrator) draws and I narrate for school audiences. I’ll be Writer In Residence at Bundanon Trust in August for Book Week, sharing The Incredible Freedom Machines with local schools.
My second book, Our Dreaming is being illustrated at the moment by Dub Leffler and will be out in June 2019. I’ve also got two more manuscripts under consideration with Scholastic at the moment and have been working on a poetry collection as well titled Mother, Earth Child, Lover.
Can you tell us about your work at Red Room Poetry?
Red Room Poetry is a NFP that aims to make poetry a meaningful part of everyday life. I manage Red Room’s Poetic Learning programs, connecting contemporary poets with 450+ education communities across Australia & New Zealand. I am also the First Nations Cultural Liaison at Red Room. I’ve developed a program titled, “Poetry in First Languages” that sees First Nations poets create and publish poems in First Languages with Elders and Custodians while also supporting students on country to do the same. As a proud Gunai woman with ties to lots of east coast nations, seeing First Nations students use language to express themselves creatively is really powerful. This year we’re leading workshops on Gundungurra, Dharawal, Gadigal, Bundjalung and Yuin Nations with local communities.
You are a co-founder of the Litas Wollongong branch which is part of a worldwide, all-female, social riding collective. How is it going?
The Litas are a group of phenomenal women riding and thriving all around the world, I feel really honored to be a part of the crew and even more so to have helped start a movement in Wollongong with Sari Lokollo and Jessica Knight (the other Co-Founders). I’ve been so flat out of late that I haven’t had a chance to get along to many of the rides, but there’s always ride outs, camp outs and wrench nights happening. I encourage all female motorcycle riders of all skill levels in the Illawarra and surrounds to get involved.
Do you have any advice for women getting involved in riding?
My advice is to absolutely do it. Buy the bike, buy the leathers and start your adventures. Riding motorcycles has helped me develop confidence and independence in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
I’d suggest researching widely and finding a bike suited to your style, build and ability. Getting some quality, well-fitting protective gear is also paramount. My other advice would be to join The Litas or another club of riders, or ride with some more experiences friends, follow their lines and take their tips on board. Like all new ventures, you must do it often in all conditions and practice practice, practice.
We think the Illawarra boasts some of the best moto daytrips in Australia. Do you have a favourite?
There’s so many great rides around the Illawarra. I do love a cheeky braaap to Bald Hill and back; I think this one is best during the week or even in the evening when the road is a little quieter. I also love extending that ride into the National Park.
Riding up Mount Keira and down Kembla with lunch at the pub is always a good time. Heading out the back of Jamberoo, finishing in Kiama or heading to Berry is delightful too. You can’t go wrong with a ride up the Macquarie Pass up into the Highlands either.
Overall though, I love cutting along the Upper Kangaroo Valley River, to the suspension bridge. That spot is all kinds of magic.
Kirli Saunders’ The Incredible Freedom Machines from Scholastic Australia is available at all good book stores.