TAVERNER MOTORCYCLES really started back in 1970 when Paul Taverner began his apprenticeship in a little town in country NSW that most motoring enthusiasts have heard of, that notorious hub of motor racing, Bathurst. His first bike was a BSA, but in 1973, he bought a brand new 750 fastback Norton and fell in love with them forever. During this time, he began to do repairs on friends’ bikes. It wasn’t long before these odd jobs turned into rebuilding engines and making modifications, and the work began to extend beyond his acquaintances’ machines to include many of the motorcycles in town. One day, his mother came into his bedroom and was greeted with the sight of no less than six Nortons, so that was the end of that.
In 1977 Paul Taverner and his friend Paul Braywhite opened a workshop in Bathurst named Streetbike which quickly carved a niche for themselves in the market. Unfortunately, Paul Braywhite died due to a motorcycle accident in 1979 which led to the demise of Streetbike and Paul moving north to Queensland.
In 1988 Paul was involved in an industrial accident (courtesy of a finger-hungry drill-press) which left him unable to work for two years and still gives him problems to this day.
In 1990 he was employed by Brett Stephens at American Bikes in Brisbane as the first Crew Chief for the Nitro Harley then sponsored by Jack Daniels.
Meanwhile, Paul had begun taking his own street bike to Brisbane’s Lakeside track and Willowbank Raceway. This was a Genny Shovel, the first incarnation of the motorcycle he presently races. At that time he ran it as a standard 1969 Shovelhead and achieved a best end time (BET) of 13.1 on the ¼ mile.
Paul’s accident in 1988 prevented him being able to keep up with the workload at American Bikes, so he left his employment in the mid ’90s, but soon found himself doing repairs, rebuilds and modifications on motorcycles from home. His clientele was varied, from wicked street Harleys and choppers to fully restored British motorcycles. During this time, he became involved in classic racing, namely a 1959 500 twin Norton which in its best year came away with 18 trophies from 22 starts, including a 1st at Phillip Island.
Paul’s sons, Joseph, born in 1981, and Mark, born in 1984, were both keen from the time they could walk to ride motorbikes and pull engines apart. By 2001, both Mark and Joseph had finished school and, with the backyard being full of motorcycles their father was in various stages of fixing, the three of them decided they should open a shop together and Taverner Motorcycles was born.
The shop has slowly but steadily been gathering a solid client base. The varieties of the jobs they handle include not only repairs and modifications but also concourse restorations, wide-arse choppers, sleepers, and performance engine builds. Of course, classic British motorcycles have always been part of their repertoire.
The Taverner Motorcycles drag racing team was created due to a shared love of racing among family and friends. Presently, the line up consists of Paul Taverner on his 1954 Pan-Shovel which races in both Nostalgic and Screamin’ Eagle classes with a BET of 11.7; Joseph Taverner on his JIMS 120 cube 1991 FXR whose BET is 11.1 (this bike is currently having the engine re-built in order to participate in ANDRA’s new Supertwin Class); Mark Taverner on his 2005 V-Rod with a BET 11.4 (at present the bike is on a diet and runs with slicks, wheelie bars and NOS in preparation for its debut in the Modified Bike this year); and Chris Feriouru on his custom V-Rod with a BET of 11.5 in the Screamin’ Eagle class.
Taverner Motorcycles offers a wide range of services and, put simply, they can turn your ideas into fact. Anything from fixing your brakes to modifying stock motors, to building you your dream bike from scratch, they can handle the job. They are happy to help you plan your modifications and total rebuilds to suit your budget. For them, it is about making their customers’ bikes more user-friendly while increasing the performance of the machine to ensure total riding satisfaction. To find out how Taverner Motorcycles visit the website: www.tavernermotorsports.com.au
words by Sarah Taverner; pics by Jo