A short while back I managed to corner Paul in his workshop and threaten him with pictures of obese motorcycles unless he answered my questions. Here’s what I got out of him before he beat me silly with a 50mm WP left fork leg and bolted for the boat shed.
Paul, some of your biggest successes have been in two stroke racing machines, and much of that overseas, can you expand on that? What was your greatest success?
“In 1975 I took on the Husqvarna dealership. Huskys are all about racing so it did not take long before I was trying to get them to go faster.”
“I’ve won 15 Australian championships, in motorcycle racing, Supercart racing & Jet Ski racing.”
“In 1986 I took out the 125cc AMA title in the USA.”
“I have been to Europe to do the Italian ISDE, the Czechoslavakian ISDE. That’s as well preparing the Huskys for the Australian ISDE.”
“In 1988 I worked for a year on the 500 Motocross GP circuit. Working on the 500cc was good, not a lot of engine work but a lot of suspension work. Greatest success – riding bikes & being involved in motorcycling with my wife Diane & friends.”
When and why did you build your own first GS special?
“I built the 1st one in 1977. I had been riding Enduros on the Huskys & said to Diane that it would be good to ride in the same sort of places 2 up. I had a knocked around R60/5 so I put a Yamaha front end on it, 21″ wheel, long shocks, Husky plastics & away we went. By 1980 I had built 3 of them; a 750cc & 1000cc. I do not have a photo of the 1st one. It was sold to a woman who headed off around Australia on it.”
“As of a few days ago I’ve completed 61 G/S’s , 4 K750s, 8 one off frames, and about 12 Cafe racer style bikes.”
“My most satisfying builds would include all of the box frames, particularly the last race bike. The 1st Box frame (which is Chris Cowper’s BM), the blue R1150gs special (on the oilcooled page). My K100 Road-racer was great, I won a lot of races on that.”
“It’s very, very hard to pick a favourite. The last race BM is definitely the fastest over rough ground by far. As Enzo Ferrari said “they should all be prototypes”. I just want them to keep getting better.”
The two pictures you have on the wall here, of your old BMW on tour, what is that bike? where did you go and when?
“The picture with the sleeping bag on the seat is an R60/2 1962 ex Police bike. It was my 1st big trip on a BM. I had done 2 other trips on a BSA but had to catch the train home! On that BM I went from Sydney to Melbourne, Adelaide, Broken Hill, Wilcania, Burke, Lighting Ridge, Brisbane, Sydney in 1967/68. I do remember that the trip cost $75.00 & there was a lot of dirt. It was a great trip done with another rider on a Bultaco of all things. That was the start, I could not stop after that.”
“The BM going through the water is the same bike. I used to head west from Sydney nearly every weekend to Sofala, Hill End, Lithgow and Bathurst. The Sofala Hill End track had 13 creek crossings back then, a great ride.”
That’s as much as I could get out of him before he beat me unconscious. I’m going to take some time to recover and then I”ll have another crack and see what other stories I can get out of him, this time I’ll make sure there are no 50mm fork legs in swinging distance.