Read more about our incredible line-up of motorcycle talent at the Bike Fest’s and Talk Series.
Dr Chris Hurren
Senior Research Fellow (Fibre Science and Technology), Deakin University, Australia.
Dr Chris Hurren is the scientist in charge of the laboratory that undertakes testing of motorcycle gear for MotoCAP. Chris works for Deakin University in Australia and conducts research in the area of protective motorcycle clothing.
An Avid motorcyclist himself, Chris will be talking about how much protection you need, including:
• What his team tests and how they test it.
• What the MotoCAP protection numbers mean.
• What the MotoCAP comfort numbers mean.
• What they found when they tested on NZ roads
• How city roads are different to country roads and motorways.
Chris is doing his dream job. He does research into textiles with a specialisation on motorcycle clothing, with a PhD in material science. Chris’s first good road bike was an Yamaha RZ250 air cool. He gets to work most days now on a Honda GB400. although rumour has it that a new Yamaha XSR700 may be close to appear.
Chris has worked for Deakin University since 2001. His expertise is in the development of protective and performance textiles. He specialises in the measurement and development of protective textile structures for motorcycle apparel. His laboratory at the university Campus has the only Cambridge style impact abrasion tester that is capable of testing to EN13595-2 requirements in Australia and New Zealand. Chris has built up a complete testing facility that can achieve all of the protective tests of impact abrasion, stab, cut, tear, burst, air permeability, water resistance and thermal comfort relevant to motorcycle apparel. He led the team that developed the MotoCAP performance testing program for motorcycle protective clothing that was launched in 2018. He has authored and co-authored a number of papers in the measurement of protection and comfort levels of motorcycle clothing.
Chris does research in many areas of textiles with an emphasis on physical problems. His research has won him a number of awards including a H&M Foundation Global Change Award in 2017 for his work on recycling colour from used denim jeans; and a National Innovation Award at the Land Forces Conference in 2018 for a textile based medical diagnostic device.
For more, visit: http://www.deakin.edu.
Avalon Biddle is a motorcycle road racer. In 2018 she came third in the New Zealand Supersport 600cc Championship. Avalon will be talking about talk about motorcycle road racing, techniques for riding safely on the roads and track, and specific skills that apply to riding all motorcycles.
Avalon has raced motorcycles since she was six years old, starting out in mini motocross and starting road racing when she turned 13. She made it to the very elite level of the sport winning two European Women’s Championships and one New Zealand title. Avalon is currently racing the MTF Finance Kawasaki ZX6r in the New Zealand Supersport 600cc championship. Alongside this, she works fulltime in marketing for a motorsport orientated company and keeps extra busy with physical training and some Sky Sport TV appearances.
Find out more:
Sgt Peter Sowter
Serious Crash Unit & Road Policing, Wellington
Sgt Peter Sowter has been a passionate motorcyclist for over 40 years and has spent the past 25 or so years with the Police Serious Crash unit, attending and analysing fatal and serious crashes to determine the cause. He has a special interest in examining motorcycle crashes to figure out ways to stop the loss of life. This year Peter will be talking about serious and fatal crash investigations, including:
Case studies of recent crashes (and what can be learnt).
What are the common causes of motorcycle crashes.
Dispelling myths regarding causes of motorcycle crashes.
- What we as motorcyclists can do to save ourselves.
Peter joined the Ministry of Transport (MoT) back in 1988 because they were prepared to pay him to ride a motorcycle for a living. Peter says that worked out well as he rode Yamahas and BMWs up and down the Remutaka Hill, near where he was based in Upper Hutt.
He moved to Taupo in 1992 and stayed on after the Government merged the MoT and Police in July that year.
Over time he became more and more fascinated in figuring out the cause of fatal and serious crashes that occurred all too frequently.
Since 1995 he has specialised in attending and investigating fatal crashes beginning in the Taupo area, and then from 2009 in Wellington where he took up the Sergeant’s position in the Serious Crash Unit.
Bret J Tkacs
International trainer, curriculum developer, researcher & world traveler, USA
Learn the secrets that will reduce your chances of dying in a motorcycle crash by 92%. Mr. Tkacs will speak about the secrets of the most successful motorcycle training program in the history of the United States Army Special Forces Command. These processes and concepts are now being taught to police and to new as well as experienced riders in the Learn To Ride and Street Skills curriculum available in the USA.
Myths and facts about motorcycle accidents
The lies we have been told about cornering
The truth about braking
Harnessing fear and controlling cognitive bias
Bret Tkacs is known internationally as an expert in the world of motorcycle safety and riding skills development. Along with founding his own training school in 1996, he has trained alongside some of the greatest names in the motorcycle industry.
Contracted by the United States Army Special Forces Command in 2008 (to present) to reduce motorcycle fatalities of military personnel while riding motorcycles off-duty. Bret authored the most successful accident-reduction training curriculum in the USA to date.
In addition to his long list of accomplishments as a motorcycle safety expert, he is an avid rider who has traveled through more than 56 countries accident-free. This includes riding the full length of the Americas (north, central and south) and the forbidden west coast of Africa.
He is also known for his years as a freelance journalist, product/motorcycle tester and as the host of the well-known MotoTrek video training series on YouTube for adventure riders.
Photographer/Author, Christchurch, New Zealand
In July 2016, Heath embarked on a solo motorcycle ride around the USA and parts of Canada, covering 35,000 kms and 28 States in just over 5 months.
At this year’s Shiny Side Up, Heath will be talking about his trip, how he made it possible, equipment used and experience gained alongside other trip related topics.
Could you spend 6 months overseas traveling by motorcycle?
When to start planning and where to go?
Which motorcycle and shipping vs buying?
Physical and mental fitness, how fit do you need to be?
- What do you actually need whilst traveling?
- Random musings of experience’s on the road.
Heath has a passion for writing and photography and although to date, his many varied career experiences hasn’t included either of these two professionally. His lifelong passion has always been to entertain, inform and educate through the written and visual arts.
Heath started his motorcycling journey on a 1979 Suzuki 50cc when he was 17 and was fortunate to have an older brother who also rode motorcycles and owned classics such as an RD250, GSX 750 and GPZ 750 etc. Jump forward to 1998 when Heath moved to New Zealand and his first bike here was an Kawasaki EX500. In the last 20 years Heath has owned four Suzuki GS1200ss, two BMW GS1150, two BMW GSA 1150 and a Kawasaki Vulcan 1500. He currently owns ‘Blondie’, a 2002 BMW GSA 1150 and is a self-confessed book collector and movie addict.
Heath’s interests are diverse, ranging from architectural and landscape black & white photography, collecting rock samples from places he visits, plate tectonics/vulcanology, archaeology & history, creating wildlife spaces and writing fiction and non-fiction.
Find out more: http://heathling.co.nz/burning-rubber-travelogue/
Simon presents a real-life case study of the benefits of emergency braking techniques, what it takes to come back to riding from a crash that kills many riders, and how applied training can turn a situation where loss of life is a real certainty into one in which survival is a real option.
Simon Gotlieb is a technologist, musician, and third generation rider who’s been crazy about bikes for over 40 years. He’s been in bands since 1979 and currently plays in Wellington rock band Mister Unit. In his spare time he likes to build and repair guitars and guitar amplifiers, ride his Vertemati 450 enduro bike and is doing a ground up restoration of a 1980s Suzuki Katana. He successfully led the BRONZ campaign against Wellington City Council which resulted in the retention of free parking for motorcycles and spoke publicly at the bikers protests at Parliament. Simon is a passionate advocate (for obvious reasons) of rider training.