Some information on the guru’s and talented people you will see and hear from at the Shiny Side Up events.


Speakers 2020

Dr Chris Hurren

Senior Research Fellow (Fibre Science And Technology), Deakin University, Australia.

Last year, Australia and New Zealand created the MotoCAP rating system for motorcycle gear. Dr Chris Hurren is the scientist in charge of testing at Deakin University’s materials laboratory in Australia.

At this year’s Shiny Side Up, 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 you need to wear if you ride in the city

•            What you need to wear if you ride on the motorway or open road.

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.>

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. This year Avalon joins us at Shiny Side Up to talk aboutthe sport of 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 is a passionate motorcyclist with a particular interest in examining motorcycle crashes to figure out ways to stem the loss of life. This year Peter will be talking about serious and fatal crash investigations, covering off:

  • scene examinations

  • what investigators look for and how things can affect the outcomes of crashes

  • the common reasons why people crash.

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.


Jake Whitaker


With various New Zealand and international titles under his belt, as well as two Guiness World Records, born and bred Wellington 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 on both his trials bike and Enduro dirt bike, manoeuvring them over and around obstacles, jumping gaps and his wife and popping wheelies and stoppies. 

Duncan Seed

2 Drive Safe Rider & Driver Training

What’s the difference between braking with or without an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) on your bike? Our Ride Forever instructors from 2 Drive Safe Rider & Driver Training will show you the benefits of ABS in the gravel pit.

We’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 and are New Zealand’s best. They are experts in explaining how to get the most of every ride.

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

Chris Smith

Ride Forever trainer, Passmasters Rider Training NZ

Chris 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

James Riley and the Coneheads

Ordinary riders doing extraordinary things on their bikes

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.

James has been learning the art of motogymkhana for the past five years. This year he’s proud to present the Coneheads team, which includes riders with varying experience levels who are all are now exceptionally competent riders. 

They will be showing some of their standard practices followed by a short, timed race. 

Find out more here:


Nonstop Adventures


The Nonstop Adventure team has come out of retirement to give you a taste of riding skills that will help any motorcyclist to ride safer while negotiating the day-to-day hazards of riding a motorcycle.

The Oliver Clan are well-known nationally for their display riding at major events such as Mystery Creek and closer to home at local A& P shows. At Shiny Side Up in Nelson the Oliver Brothers, starting with the youngest Peter and then Nick and Andrew along with their father Stephen, will put on several displays for your entertainment.

The team are very approachable and will be available to answer questions and give tips on the skills and techniques that have taken them to the top level in trials motorcycling in New Zealand and abroad. Trials motorcycling is a great starting point for building the foundation for success and survival on and off the road

Dave Mckenna

Yamaha Factory Stunt Rider

Dave grew up in country Victoria riding Moto x 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 and throughout 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 radical world’s only supercharged Yamaha MT10 drift bike.