Tony had a bit of luck growing up, in the fact that his Aunt owned the local Honda dealership. This resulted in him getting his first bike, a Honda C90. From there, the bikes grew along with him.
When Tony was a young lad he used to ride his little Honda around the local neighbourhood (in the days when you could get away with this) “Until a friend of my sisters totaled the bike one day. I then went out and bought a Yamaha DT250 which I rode around on my L’s.”
From here, Tony upgraded to a Yamaha XS650 which he had done up bobber style. “At the time I was also involved in speedway, custom cars and hot rods. But then you throw in getting married, two daughters and a house and before I knew it bikes had taken a back seat for many years. Despite this I maintained my bike licence knowing one day I would eventually return to the bikes.”
Helping Tony maintain his passion for bikes was his mate Simon Whittaker, who he’s known for quite a few years. “Being able to ride one or two of his many bikes fuelled my passion to hop back on and create one of my own. The bike has only been on the road for a few weeks and I’ve already enjoyed a number of rides and Canberra Café Racers events.”
Tony bought this 1979 Yamaha XS400 off an old school friend who had no spare space for the bike (due to already owning too many) a couple of years ago, having always loved the styling of Yamaha’s XS’s. “My first intention was just to get the bike going, then I thought about how nice it would be to honour my late father-lin-law, Ted, how passed away six years ago. Ted was very much into bikes in his younger days, back in the 40’s and early 50’s. Ted and his brother Bill owned, at various times, Matchless, Ariels, AJS, Nortons and Triumphs. I heard many a story from Ted about him and his brother tearing up the back roads of the Riverina area in NSW.
Ted’s love of bikes never faded and I know he would have really loved to see this bike, he also really liked the Café Racer style. The saying on the back on my bike’s headlight ‘Riding with Ted’ is my tribute to him.”