We are mad Ducati fans at TFC and our local Ducati maestro is Arthur Davis. He and his wife Jackee established Desmo HQ in Byron Bay in 2001.Arthur learnt his trade with Ian Gowanloch in Sydney and after 18 years in the workshop he took up the role of Technician and Team Manager of the Australian Ducati Dealer Superbike team. Having won the Australian Superbike Championship in 1999 with Steve Martin on board Arthur then went to the USA, working with Jeff Nash of Advanced Motors Sports Ducati Team. It was there he won the AMA Pro Thunder Championship in 2000 and 2002. He was also named Crew Chief of the year in 2000 and 2002.
The Finders Club visit Desmo headquarters unannounced on a weekly basis and ask all sorts of stupid questions, this time we brought the tape…
How did you end up in the Northern Rivers?
At first my Dad was a teacher in one teacher schools and he taught in Numulgi over near Bexhill. I did my last year of high school at Richmond River in Lismore and after that I just keep coming back and coming back!
How did you get into motorcycles?
Originally it was just a cheap form of transport, I bought a 450 Desmo Ducati for some strange reason and that’s all I’ve ever ridden since… Ducati. A 160 Monza junior was the first motorcycle I ever rode.
Three top threes for you, top three bikes?
Mmm, the 75’ Supersport (silver and blue), my 75’ 750 Sport (Ducati orange), and I’d say the Desmo Sedici V4.
Top three racers?
That’s a tough one, the current one would be Casey Stoner, also Mike Hailwood and John Surtees, the greatest of all time was John Surtees. He won three world 500cc titles and a Formula One title, the only guy that’s done both.
Top three rides in the area?
Burringbar Range is always good. Actually, the ride over to Tenterfield, which isn’t quite the Northern rivers but great, and also Lyons Road is really quite good.
What’s the best ride you’ve done in world?
Strangely enough I really enjoy the ride to Western Australia, the Nullarbor, no corners or anything like that but it’s just spectacular out there.
How long did that take?
From here to there if you ride big days then 4 and a half days or so.
What bike did you ride?
First time was on my 75’ 750 sport there and back, with about 9 guys on old, well they weren’t old then, then they were current Sports and Supersports. I have also done it a couple of times on a Ducati Multistrada.
What are the traditional aspects of motorcycling that you love and also the futuristic aspects that you like?
One of the best things is the comradeship and friendship of motorcyclists and the diversity of the people involved in it, that’s one of the main things that’s keep me in it forever. The modern aspects are the engineering, the technology that’s coming, cutting edge stuff, current motorcycles with their power to weight ratios are up there with any top line supercar, as well as being very affordable. Most motorcycles are way better than the people that ride them these days!
What about electric bikes?
What…do they make electric bikes? I didn’t think they had cords long enough! No well, their obviously going to be the future, they’ll run out of gasoline eventually and Mad Max will take over. You know they’re already in development and I do know guys who ride and sell big electric sports bikes. The biggest problem at the moment, as with all things electric is battery capacity, which on a motorcycle is obviously an issue.
Are you in a bike club?
Ducati owners club NSW. Founding member, been in it 40 years, it’s based in Sydney but we are looking at setting up a sub-branch up here.
First meet at The Finders Club maybe?!
(A blank expression holds steady on Arthur’s face)
Do you ever go with fashion over function.
(Jackee heard this question and a loud HA!! was her response!)
No not really…actually, not at all.
Newer bikes are obviously more designed for safety function and performance but do you think with older bikes as with older cars, the look was more important?
With people who want to own them now it’s definitely a big thing, but there’s also a connection that people have with their past that they might want an older Ducati because they had one when they were younger or wanted one but couldn’t afford them but now they can. But some of the older models now well, the pricing’s ridiculous.
What’s your favourite thing in the shop about dealing with the G.P, and by G.P. I mean General Public not Grand Prix?
Well they’ve got a Ducati haven’t they!
And your least favourite?
They whinge…and moan. No but really, most people who have Ducati’s are passionate about them and they share my passion so there’s always something good to talk about. There’s lots of Ducati riders in the Northern Rivers.
Arthur and Jackee are awesome people and would love to have you come on down visit the store and ask ridiculous questions anytime.
Desmo Headquarters is located at 7 Banksia Drive, Byron Bay, 2481
They are also sponsoring a ride on February 26th for Charlie Shirran who is a 18 month year old boy who needs to beat Neuroblastoma Cancer. If you can’t make it but wish to help please visit: gofundme.com/supermancharlie