Read more about our incredible line-up of motorcycle talent at the Bike Fest’s and Talk Series.


Speakers 2020

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.au/about-deakin/people/christopher-hurren

Avalon Biddle

Motorcycle Racer

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.


Heath Ling

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/

Andrew Stroud

Motorcycle Racer

Andrew Stroud has is a Kiwi racing champion. His carrier has spanned 25 years of racing, from 250cc production class bikes in New Zealand to wins at Daytona on the iconic Britten V1000 super bike, the World B.E.A.R.S. series and 9 wins in the NZ Superbike National Championship.

Stroud started racing in 1986 and won his first championship in 1988 in the NZ 250 Production class. He then raced at Bathurst where he finished 2nd (behind Mick Doohan) in the 1988 Arai 500 km Superbike race. In 1988, Stroud raced in the US Endurance series and partnered Graeme Crosby in the Suzuka 8 Hours in Japan. For the next ten years he competed internationally against the world’s best, riding for various Superbike and Grand Prix teams.

Stroud first rode the New Zealand-built Britten V1000 at Daytona in 1992. During the epic battle with the leading factory Ducati Superbike Stroud came within 0.1 sec of the outright lap record before an electrical problem stopped the bike with a couple of laps remaining. However, he won both races at Daytona in 1994 on the Britten bike while setting the fastest top speed recorded by any motorcycle at Daytona (189 mph or 305 km/h). One of the few people to have had the privilege of racing one of John Britten’s superbikes, Stroud won the Battle-of-the-Twins at Daytona on Britten superbikes in 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997.

In 1995, Stroud won the inaugural World B.E.A.R.S Series (British European American Racing Series, now part of AHMRA) on a Britten bike, three weeks before his friend, John Britten, died. Also in 1995 and on a Britten, Stroud won the European Pro-Twins at Assen. Soon after he put a Kawasaki Superbike on position for the World Endurance Championship round at the same track. In 1997 he won the American AMA formula Xtreme Championship.

Stroud competed in 41 World Superbike races, 20 FIM 500 GP races, 4 Suzuka 8 Hours races, 1 Isle of Man race and 3 24hours World endurance races.

Stroud won 9 New Zealand superbike national championships. His first championship was in 1991. He repeated this in 1995 and 1999 (riding a Britten V1000) and, riding a Suzuki GSX-R1000 (latterly the GSXR1000K9), in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2011. In 2011 Stroud became national champion for the last time. Stroud’s oldest sons are now following in his footsteps.

Simon Gotlieb

Motorcycle Rider, Enthusiast & Advocate

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.

Sgt Lachy Garrick

Motorcycle Squad, Christchurch

Sgt Lachy Garrick currently manages the Christchurch Police Motorcycle team which is the only team in the south island. Each member has a keen interest in motorcycles and as such, all ride both on and off duty. Officers wanting to ride Police motorcycles have to be selected and then qualify by undergoing and passing a challenging two week training course covering a wide variety of skills.

These skills are vital not only to ride a police motorcycle efficiently but also for enhanced safety which is necessary for anyone riding a motorcycle. Lachy appreciates the importance to impart these skills onto others and sees the Shiny Side Up events as a great opportunity to do so. While a lot riders have been riding for many years and consider themselves competent riders, some still actually lack the skills (and confidence) to ride slowly and in tight turning situations. All riders should learn these skills.

“The smile I usually see on a riders face after they have managed to complete a turn, for the first time, holding the bars on full lock, is always heartening.”

Lachy joined Police in 1989 and after changing to Road Policing duties in 2013, joined the Motorcycle team in 2015. He has always had an interest in motor vehicles and engines, which started with pulling his parents lawnmower engine to pieces when he was only 2 years old. After leaving school he qualified as a motor mechanic specialising in rotary engines and also competed in grass go-cart racing (Yamaha TT500 powered). These days he owns a supercharged jet ski, rides a 1400cc motorcycle and has been to Bathurst Australia 3 times to watch the V8 Supercar racing series. He is always willing to chat about Police work as well as pass on skills and tips to assist others.

Raymond Heron

Raymond Heron is no stranger to 2 wheels, riding both road and dirt for the past 14 years.
With 18 years of mainstream media and broadcasting experience under his belt, he uses his “gift of the gab” to share riders stories and his passion for motorcycling of all types with riders and enthusiasts across NZ and around the world by contributing to Kiwi Rider Magazine and co-hosting Kiwi Rider Podcast.


Jake Whitaker

Enduro & Trials Rider

With various New Zealand and international titles under his belt, as well as two Guinness World Records, born and bred Wellingtonian man Jake Whitaker has solidified his spot as one of New Zealand’s top Extreme Enduro and Trials riders. Jake will put on a spectacular display using both his trials bike and Enduro dirt bike, manoeuvring them over and around obstacles, jumping gaps and his wife and popping wheelies and stoppies. 

Dave Moss

Dave Moss has been on a personal mission since 1995 to save a life within the global motorcycling community every day. He travels the world giving in person classes and leverages technology to guide web users through DMT’s online resources of website, YouTube Channel, Facebook business page and Instagram.

Through his “Pay It Forward” mantra, Dave empowers riders who experience his in person and online classes to go out into their local community and give more reach to his personal mission at the grass roots level via conversations, tape measures and tools. By fostering community involvement, several riders have started home business to support their community.

Dirt, road, touring, sport bikes, track or race doesn’t matter. Decades of knowledge shared are instantly usable via simple steps all can take to start their journey in making their motorcycle right for them. Dave recognizes our human differences and incredible uniqueness as an individual, to ensure motorcycle and rider are perfectly paired together for anatomy and skills as well as ability. 

Dave races and in 2018 with AFM, he acquired 4 class championships with the American Federation of Motorcyclists – one of the toughest amateur clubs in the USA. He also continues to test and share information he gathers on all things motorcycle via his online resources. Use them!

Duncan Seed

Ride Forever trainer, 2 Drive Safe Rider and Driver Training

What’s the difference between braking with or without an anti-lock braking system (ABS) on your bike? Duncan Seed our Ride Forever instructors from 2 Drive Safe Rider and Driver Training will show you the benefits of ABS in the gravel pit.

He’ll also show you how effective a motorcycle stops compared to a car, and what could happen if you’re following too closely.

Duncan Seed is the lead instructor from 2 Drive Safe Rider & Driver Training. He’s UK trained to the highest of riding standards. His team of instructors have over 200 years of riding experience.

For more, visit: https://www.2drivesafe.com/motorcycle-training-courses/

Chris Smith & Brian Riley

Ride Forever Trainers, Passmasters Rider Training NZ

Chris & Brian from Passmasters will be in the demo area this year showcasing ‘The Pig’.

The Pig’ was commissioned by WSP Opus for a NZ Transport Agency project looking at the road surface and effects of tracking and flushing (bitumen bleed) on cars and bikes. This was the first time that motorcycles have been part of any testing here in New Zealand.

The 2014 Suzuki was chosen due to its anti-lock braking system (ABS) being a common one and therefore comparable to 90% of all other ABS motorcycles in NZ. The ABS has been modified to be switchable allowing the rider to disable it easily. The rig has been designed so that a locked front wheel skid can be held right up to and beyond the crash point while ‘reducing’ the risk to the test pilot.   This rig had been tested up to 120kph on a runway (yes, it’s quite scary).

Chris was chosen to be the test pilot as he lost the bet and is expendable. His colleague Brian just laughed and shook his head.

See more about the project here: https://youtu.be/uXWwz7_PN6I

For more about Passmasters, visit: https://www.passmasters.nz/home

MotoGymkhana New Zealand

Ride to the next level

MotoGymkhana is a growing adrenalin packed motor sport. Riders race against the clock in time trials around cones. These tight circuits test the skills of riders and the limits of the bikes in a safe, non-lethal, environment.

Each Shiny Side Up Bike Fest event will host a heat of the 2020 MotoGymkhana National Competition. The competition is open to all riders and is free to enter. Riders will get an introductory session so no experience is required.

If you are a good road rider, racer, motocross or even a postie, you are in with the chance to win.

Find out more & to register:


Dave McKenna

Yamaha Factory stunt rider

Dave grew up in rural Victoria riding Motocross bikes from an early age and developed a passion for street bike stunt riding in his teens.

Performing professionally for over 10 years Dave now regularly features at many major events across Australia, New Zealand and Asia where he lived full time for three years. Dave is also Australasia’s first and only Yamaha factory backed stunt rider. His bikes of choice are the powerful Yamaha MT09 and the world’s only supercharged Yamaha MT10 drift bike.

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