My passion for V-Twin motorcycles started when I was a teenager. I remember leaving a picture theatre in Gloucester, my home town, and one of the local lads had his new Ducati 750GT parked at the front doors of the theatre. As my friends and I were leaving the GT burst into life with both booming Conti Mufflers shooting there magnificent note straight up the stairs to where we were standing leaving an impression on my soul only a musician would understand. Back then V-Twin motorcycles, and in particular Ducati, didn’t have a good reputation for reliability and weren’t a popular choice of bike, I was riding a CB 500 /4 at the time ,but I new after that moment that one day I would have one of these magnificent machines Little did anyone, especially me, believe that the that first impression would grow into the incredible business that we have today, North Coast V-Twins. It wasn’t for about another 6 years until I was able to get my first Ducati, but the 1978 900SD Darmah was my pride and joy back then and still is to this day.
Jill and I opened our first motorcycle store in 1988, originally known as North Coast Ducati with 2 partners at the time Don Adams & Rob McLauchlan , this partnership dissolved amicably after we started to realise that the initial investment wasn’t cutting it after Warren Fraser of NF imports wanted us to take on the Ducati Franchise for the North Coast . We knew that we would require a fully qualified mechanic if we were going to be professional about this new venture so I called on an old mate Brad Wiseman formally of Wiseman’s Motorcycles in Marcia St and we landed ourselves one of the best Ducati techs Mark ‘|Doc’ Downie who has been a long time family friend and still works for us today.
Brad was responsible for introducing me to Motorcycle Racing in the late 80s setting me up & spannering for me on weekends on an old TZ Yamaha with a hot as a stove XL 500 Honda engine bolted into it & a 40mil Delorto Carburetor hanging off the back. There was a strong series running around the world at the time called Sounds of Singles & we held our own on most of the tracks in NSW & Qld until the big dollar bikes started to arrive in the second & third year. We then retired the old Sounds of Single project & moved onto a 600 cc Ducati Pantah in fairly stock running order , myself & mates ,Charlie Sales, Doc, Rob McLauchlan, Mick Johnson , & several more great guys had loads of fun dicing on these little weapons against the much more powerful Japanese bikes always coming away with good results & fun memories.
This & the odd track day fuelled my addiction for fast bikes and in the early 90’s I developed my road racing career. I spent over 8 years on the track racing mainly in Bears and Club Events & State titles around NSW and QLD , I was also lucky enough to race the old legendary Bathurst circuit in 93 & 94 against the Britton & several other legends of the day, most races we were top 3 or 4 on our hybrid 851 chassis with a 2 valve 907 Paso engine , this was a joint concoction build by Doc (Mark Downie ) and Rob & Brad also had plenty to do with the build . We left Bathurst with great results & life long memories with my Dad ,Norm also there at both meetings to help out , all this Racing was time away from the Family that can’t be reclaimed but in all it helped to build the business we have today that employees over 25 people .
In 1996 the fun almost stopped after a big accident at Lakeside that busted me up, at the same time when Warren Fraser from NF Importers approached us again to take on the Harley-Davidson. This proved a challenge in regards to space & funding so there was a lot of hard & consistent work needed for many years plus more staff and of course a name change was in order. The votes were in and North Coast V-Twins was the winner! Some years later Harley-Davidson opened up a headquarters in Australia, which had it’s teething issues as any big move does but streamline processes were now becoming more apparent and we have had to learn a lot about acronyms. In all honesty I do feel that the risk of taking on Harley-Davidson all those years ago has paid off and to have these two premium brands such as Harley-Davidson and Ducati under one roof is something we really are proud of.
And now here we are, 30 years on & I am still riding as much as I can on whatever I can. We have made North Coast V-Twins what it is today with the support of my family, my wife Jill and our children Richelle, Tonya, Karissa and Beau, all of which have helped the business in one way or another. I am grateful for the talented crew of staff that we have and find great honour in having people that have worked with us since the early days. We couldn’t have succeeded without their support, willingness & knowledge.
I would like to close by saying that the thing that Jill & I are most proud of is our children. Followed by our Staff , I believe Jill & I have instilled a great set of moral fibre within & we all have the same goals to keep our quality honest customer service strong & at the forefront of our Businesses.
Thank you to all