The history and events of the Laverda Club in Victoria is long and varied, this webpage represents a condensed modern history from the perspective and involvement of DAM Classic Racing Pty Ltd in the development and support of the club(s) and friendship groups.
D.A.M. Classic Racing (D.A.M.C.R.) has supported the Laverda Club Victoria Inc.,  Club Laverda Victoria Inc. and the Laverda Owners Victoria social group with substantial sponsorship of events, contribution for fund raising and raffles for many years and has hosted this webpage on DAM Classic Racing and a similar page on the DAM Group website since 2007. As a Laverda Parts Dealer it continues to provide a central point of contact for Laverda spare parts worldwide and mechanical services to its members and owners of all types of classic motorcycles.

Many people have been instrumental in the continuation of Laverda motorcycle ownership and enthusiasts in Victoria. This page cannot detail all their vital contributions or give the credit that is due for the hard work of all those who have played a pivotal role in the history of the clubs and groups over so many years. Some have passed away leaving us with fond memories and tall tales, some have enjoyed their time as a Laverda owner and moved to other interests, a core group has stayed with Laverda since it's earliest beginnings. Anyone with knowledge of the early years and who would like to contribute details to make this page more informative please email us.

The Director of D.A.M.C.R. Greg Parish ACS became a member of the Laverda Club Victoria in 1984, and was an office bearer in various capacities at times when the Club was staging rides, track days and race meetings for its members and other clubs for several years. These were the heydays of club racing in Victoria when genuine Laverda SFC750s along with several 1000/1200s were regularly seen on the tracks around Victoria and South Australia. John NicklesHillary Heenan and Phil Peacock regularly organised members ride days at Winton Raceway. For several years from 1980 Phil Peacock raced his Laverda Jota 1000 with success in Superbike races at some of the world renowned racetracks like Calder Park Raceway, Sandown Park and Winton. Laverda was a current model bike and competitive. Phil Peacock remembers, "These were the days when we got paid prize money for racing. When I look back, if I finished in the top 5 places the prize money actually covered the cost of entry and tyres" Phil recalls. "Sometimes I found myself lining up with names like Robbie PhillisKevin Magee and Andrew 'AJAY' Johnson on the Syndicate Kawasaki Superbike.". When the Syndicate was retired Greg Parish obtained one of the sets of special grind cams for his Kawasaki Z1R based 1100cc superbike. The Australian Superbike Series beginning in the 1970's became a crucible for some of the best riders in world championship motorcycle history. The story of how it created the world’s longest-running and most successful race category is told in the book Race Across The Great Divide.

Vena Lavery, an accomplished mechanical engineer and rider, campaigned a highly modified Laverda 500 Montjuic that often won races against larger capacity Japanese bikes for two years 1984-85. His very loud Monty was easily recognised by its bright orange paint and external oil hoses from the crankcases to supply the overhead cams. The bike subsequently changed owners several times and while in need of some loving care was on display for many years in the National Motor Museum in South Australia.


After switching from Kawasaki to race Laverda Greg Parish wrote to the racing committee to suggest running a BEARS series, asking that they specifically exclude the fuel injected 4 valve Ducati 851. The BEARS (Formula European Championship) Series went ahead, but the committee declined his suggestion and the Ducati 851 was not excluded from the competition. The ensuing battle between the Laverda and Ducati for the title was colourful, filled with great battles for 2nd and 3rd places as the Ducati 851 easily left the field far behind but failed to finish on several occasions lifting the every contender each one place.


Sponsored by Norvin Bike Hire with support from Brighton Kawasaki (a former Laverda dealer) Greg Parish won the BEARS (Formula European Championship) Series in 1990 and finished 5th in the International WSBK Classics at Phillip Island on a modified Laverda 1200(*2350) that same year, both having substantial prize money. The final round of BEARS was staged at the iconic MacNamara Park Raceway in South Australia. This raceway has a rich history of fostering top class riders, many going on to the world stage to represent Australia in World Superbikes and MotoGP. The outside dining area of the clubrooms is paved with tiles commemorating past winners, sponsors and club members. Not withstanding the common spelling error in Greg's surname, it is great to see Laverda represented in the flagstones of that courtyard.


 

The Public Officer and Committee member of Laverda Club Victoria at the time Phil Murrell took to the tracks in the early '90s on his Laverda Harris Magnum II 1200. After several years of successful competition in Superbikes, Thunderbikes and BEARS, and with legendary Laverda tuner Ennio Bardalla working his magic on the engine he took on the best race teams in his class over of the 3 round/year series to win the prestigious Master Of Mac Park (Period 5) in 1995.


These were the days before computers and mobile phones started to play such a big part in our lives and the hardworking Laverda Club committee headed by Judy Woodruff and Antony Carberry produced regular hardcopy multi-page A5 sized Club Newsletters that were typed, printed, photocopied, placed in envelopes, stamps added and sent out to members in the mail. Email wasn't on the scene for most members until the mid '90s and immediate communications were done by landline telephones or word-of-mouth. Ride days and social events were organised with this method and held at various members homes and much enjoyment and friendship was enjoyed by the group, some with very young families at the time.

Extracts obtained from Victoria Consumer Affairs show that on their database in 1991 the club was still registered as Laverda Club Victoria. In 2002 new members took control of the club who didn't want to be held accountable for matters that may have arisen from the club membership activities, or fulfil the  responsibilities of incorporation of regularly publishing the minutes of meetings or the financial position of the club. Sergio Canale deemed that the paperwork involved with being incorporated as a club offered little benefit to the members ([sic] Dave Doyle Sept 2020) and the Laverda Club Victoria Inc. was officially deregistered on May 16th 2002.



















Canale started a social group calling themselves Laverda Owners Victoria, named to distinguish itself from the former incorporated organisation and to indicate that it was not a club but simply a casual social group. The group laid claim to the bank account of Club Laverda Victoria and its membership list. Because the incoming leadership bypassed the provisions for corporate governance, financial accountability and other matters relating to the rules and membership of a club the group was no longer able to stage race meetings or track days and could not facilitate their own Red Plate Classic Registration scheme. The accepted club protocol of all positions becoming vacant for re-election each year was also abandoned. It was the end of a grand era.

Although D.A.M. Group staff were not directly involved in decisions made by the new social group, as members and Laverda enthusiasts they recognised that 'Laverda Club Victoria' was a still a common search phrase on the internet so a webpage was launched on the the D.A.M. Group website in 2007. Laverda riders searching for the social group now had a worldwide internet point of contact, a regular entertaining email newsletter was produced, the Laverda brand gained attention at Festivals, Race Meetings and Rallies and the membership numbers grew.

That same year club member Greg Parish working as a cinematographer was contracted by FIM (Federation of International Motorcycling) as Director of Lighting Data Acquisition to work with five times 500ccGP World Champion Mick Doohan and lighting manufacturing groups to formulate night-time tests to ascertain the feasibility of running MotoGP under lights. Extensive testing was conducted at Australia's Calder Park Raceway from sundown to 2am using road and racebikes with lights fitted as per 24 hour endurance racing and without lights in the usual daytime MotoGP guise. The tests used various innovative lighting systems optimised for safety in the event of potential impact, the rider's visual acuity at the extreme high speeds of racing and to satisfy the technical requirements of television transmission. The results were promptly and stringently analyzed, and remarkably the first MotoGP under lights was staged the following year at the Qatar Losail circuit. The winner of the first night race in MotoGP history, the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar in March 2008, was Australian Casey Stoner. In October Greg and Jimmy Parish were filming an international documentary about Casey for German Television DAZN and interviewed Stoner in the run-up to his the Pole to Finish win on home soil in the 2008 Australian MotoGP.

When the D.A.M. Group launched it's first  online parts sales webpages under the name D.A.M. Classic Racing in 2012 it included a PayPal Direct Debit facility for Laverda riders to have their contributions to Laverda Owners Victoria automatically renewed. This facility was eventually discontinued in 2017 in preference for Laverda Owners Victoria to process fee-free bank transfers.  Retired racers had been encouraged to dust off their leathers and take to the tracks, and spectators were treated to the incredible sound of thundering Laverda(s) at full throttle again as members from Victoria, Queensland, NSW, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia took to the circuits again. The resurgence of interest in racing Laverda was exciting! The D.A.M.C.R. Laverda re-appeared on the tracks at the 2011 Australian MotoGP Historics after being inspired by the awesome appearance of the Legendary Spaceframe Laverda 1000 of Crispin Trueman with rider Blair Briggs aboard at Phillip Island the year before. Laverda Owners Victoria members were out in full force to support Greg Parish finishing 9th outright in the 2013 Phillip Island International Classic2nd in the 2013 Australian Historic Road Race Titles, and continued to entertain a strong club following in subsequent years finishing 3rd in the 2014 Australian Historic Road Race Titles while setting the fastest lap time of the series in the same year, 11th in the very competitive 2014 Phillip Island International Classic and unfortunately supporters watched in dismay as he crashed out of the final race with serious injury while in 3rd position of the 2014 Southern Classic Road Race Titles. Such was the support of Laverda Owners Victoria social group in those days that on more than one occasion they “passed the hat around” to raise funds to help with the costs of keeping Laverdas on the track. These were great years for Laverda enthusiasts to see Laverdas racing against the top international competitors in classic racing from the UK, New Zealand and the USA.

D.A.M. Classic Racing produced promotional flags to add a festive feeling to club events and presented one to the social group with the Laverda Owners Victoria logo at the top. 



 

Any race meeting where a Laverda was to be seen on the track always provided the opportunity for this casual group to ride together to share the passion, sometimes renting houses near the track locations, sometimes arranging camping sites. And always, the sight of a band of Laverdas parked together never failed to spark the attention of the motorcycling public.

In 2017 Laverda Owners Victoria feted Piero Laverda and his Laverda Corse team from Italy when they visited D.A.M. Classic Racing in Victoria (video content).


D.A.M. Classic Racing staged a rally for riders to meet Piero Laverda, the surviving brother of Massimo. These two men were the driving force behind the creation of the famous Laverda motorcycles that became the catalysts for long standing friendships and adventurous lifestyles for many people over many years. These bikes had represented a certain character of a person that created friendships and sparked romances that often became lifelong relationships. Laverda motorcycles had been the instrument of youthful, and now not so youthful, hooligans to burn off testosterone driven energies, created situations that still initiate laughter and fond memories of time spent with good friends, epic journeys around Australia, rallies and race weekends.


Piero had brought the awe-inspiring Laverda V6 with him from Italy to the Eastern Creek Raceway in Sydney and D.A.M. Classic Racing financed and arranged for John Nickles’ (r.i.p.) 750cc V8 motorcycle to be shipped north to run side by side with Piero riding the 1000cc V6 Laverda at the International Festival Of Speed.



 


A sight and sound like no other. John had commissioned and financed Drysdale Engineering to build this extraordinary bike in the mid ‘90s. Although the 750V8 is the property of the Nickles’ Estate it remains For Sale to the discerning buyer.


Specially embroidered business shirts displaying a map of Australia surrounding the event title designed by Angus Parish were purchased by D.A.M. Classic Racing and presented to the Italian Team to commemorate their visit. The Laverda Corse Team wore them every day for the duration of the event.




Laverda riders from Victoria and all across Australia joined in the lunchtime parade around the race circuit. Never before had so many Laverdas been seen in one place in Australia. It was a grand sight, and sound. At the Gala Dinner for the International Festival of Speed Piero unveiled the Laverda SFC/4 and announced that Greg Parish from D.A.M. Classic Racing was to be the first rider to officially test-ride this evolution of the air-cooled, fuel injected,180º parallel twin. Greg, with the Laverda Owners Victoria decal on his helmet, felt very honoured to be selected to display the agile abilities and speed of the air cooled fuel injected Laverda 668 based race spec machine to the world and Australian Motorcycle News magazine reported the test with photos promoting the latest creation of Laverda Corse.


Laverda enthusiasts saw racing Laverda continue into 2018 when Laverda Owners Victoria members Maurice Turner (Laverda 1200) and Jimmy Parish (Laverda 1000) entered their 3 cylinder machines in the Geelong Speed Trials staged on a 400m continuous curved section of closed public road along the foreshore of the beach. After reaching speeds well in excess of 200kmh the riders were presented with the finish line that demanded a very heavy braking requirement to negotiate the limited run-off area. Courage and skill was needed as much at the end of the run as during it.


Jimmy Parish who had a background in enduro dirt-bikes and had little experience with road bikes when he entered the event and struggled to control the wheelie of the front wheel of the Laverda. After some advice in conversations with the experienced Maurice Turner, Jimmy set a new Drag Racing Record for Pre 1973 motorcycles at the 1/4 mile curved beachfront street track on the D.A.M.C.R. 981cc Bol d'Or replica race bike. This record stands unbeaten.


 2019, being the 70th Anniversary of Laverda Motorcycles, was a grand occasion for his brother Angus Parish to set a Land Speed Record on March 5th (his 30th birthday) for Production Classic 500cc Class Motorcycles piloting a 1977 Laverda 500 (*1652) Alpina on the Salt at Lake Gairdner. This was the first time in the world that a Laverda had attempted a Land Speed Record on a Dry Salt Lake. Laverda Owners Victoria group associate Dave Doyle supplied the covered trailer and support equipment for the trip. A commentary of this record is published in the book MOTOS LAVERDA LES MOTOS MYTHIQUES DE BREGANZE (The Mythical Motorcycles of Breganze 1949-2019) by Jean-Louis Olive.


 

A few months later in July 2019 a number of Laverda Owners Victoria riders travelled to Italy for the official rally and International 70th Anniversary Celebrations of Laverda held in its hometown of Breganze Italy. This was a major event for the marque and Australia was well represented. Some had shipped their bikes to Europe, some via England, to tour the European continent to Italy to take their their bikes to visit their place of birth. During the rally Piero Laverda announced to great acclaim the release of a new Laverda book La Diva, Laverda 750. It was said to be the largest gathering of Laverda enthusiasts in the history of the small Italian village.

At home local weekday country rides became more frequent and racing continued with members again entering their Laverda into the Geelong Speed Trials, the BEARS races at Phillip Island and in conjunction with the Australian Road Race Championships at Broadford Raceway of which D.A.M. Classic Racing is a regular sponsor. Groups of Laverda club members from every State in Eastern Australia travelled to Broadford to watch the final round of the combined BEARS Championship race series and interclub event on November 9th and 10th 2019. It was a major event and an opportunity for members to see Laverdas from QLD, NSW and Victoria racing on the track at the same time and to celebrate a Laverda winning another Championship for the history books. The contingent of Laverda motorcycles rolling into the carpark created quite a spectacle and old friendships were rekindled under the banner of shared experiences of Laverda ownership.

Following the publicity surrounding the collusion of Laverda Owners Victoria with a QLD Laverda race team to exclude D.A.M. Classic Racing from attending interclub events during that 2019 Victorian Road Race Championships/BEARS meeting at Broadford, there was a sudden rearranging of the seats in the social group of Laverda Owners Victoria. The title of president was passed from Sergio Canale to Dave Doyle at a Christmas gathering on November 30th. The unprecedented actions of the group at the Broadford race meeting was the most divisive chapter in the 40 year history of enthusiasts in Victoria. 2019 had been an exceptional, event-filled and somewhat paradoxical celebratory 70th Anniversary Year of Laverda Motorcycles for Laverda riders in Australia.

2020 started with great enthusiasm for weekday rides as bushfires continued to rage across thousands of hectares of Victoria and South Australia. It was a sobering experience for many.  There were some Laverda owners who lost their homes and property in the fires and a raffle to support the victims was staged at the Curdievale Rally with the Moto Guzzi Club. But the world changed dramatically with the advent of the Coronavirus Covid-19. The Swanpool Motor Festival was cancelled and all group activities were banned, Government Lock-down measures restricted people to stay at home, only one person could leave the house at a time to shop or exercise for 1 hour and travel was only allowed within a 5km radius of home address. No race meetings were allowed, no club gatherings. Shops were closed, some businesses failed and many motorcycles came up for sale and changed owners. In September the Government created what was termed 'a ring of steel' around metropolitan Melbourne with police roadblocks in place to to prevent anyone leaving the city area in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus. There were a few independent souls who managed to find ways of getting out for short rides on their Laverda but for most it was a time to polish up the bike and do repair jobs in anticipation of normality returning. Preparation and development of race bikes around the country continued behind closed workshop doors in anticipation of a relaxing of restrictions to open up racing events at the earliest opportunity and provide an opportunity for the club members to get out of town for a ride together.

The beginning of 2021 was a stop start affair as Covid restrictions were lifted and then suddenly imposed again as Australia battled to bring the virus pandemic under control. Laverda enthusiasts were regularly meeting in small groups for ride days social meetings according to the Government restrictions. The Curdievale Rally with the Guzzi Club was cancelled with only one day’s notice due to Covid Restrictions. When restrictions were eased a new date was selected. it was an unfortunate coincidence that the Curdievale Rally date was rescheduled to the same date as the annual Swanpool Motor Festival.












   

















There were 9 Laverda joined with the Guzzi Club at the Curdievale Rally while 14 Laverda including some from NSW and ACT were among the 90 motorcycles and more than 385 other classic vehicles that gathered at Swanpool. Both events were hailed as a success and anecdotally created great memories for all who were there. Many riders lamented that it was unfortunate that they could not attend both events.

The Laverda enthusiasts in Victoria have seen a number of name changes of clubs and social groups over the years. While the content of Laverda Owners Victoria group Newsletter is influenced and determined by prominent Queensland Laverda racing team and business personalities Laverda Owners Victoria is the remaining casual social group in Victoria that continues to welcome new Laverda friends via the D.A.M. Classic Racing webpages and word of mouth. Rides are arranged throughout the year by the core group, and more often by individual Laverda owners, that cater for all riders and other events that include their families. Events such as joining with the Classic Italian Motorcycle Association (CIMAA) for free coffee mornings and hamburger nights, weekday rides and other special regional events with like minded motorcycle clubs held throughout the year, dart competition evenings and club meetings, the Curdievale Rally with the Moto Guzzi Club, and the annual Swanpool Motor Festival . An interest in Laverda is all you need when friends get together or go for a ride and all are welcome regardless of the brand of bike.


You can contribute $30/year to Laverda Owners Victoria social group to receive their newsletter. You can also sign up for the D.A.M. Classic Racing Newsletter (at the bottom of the HOME web page) to receive information about special promotions, events, discounts on parts and service. Check the NEWS pages of D.A.M. Classic Racing for other events that may be in the best interests of Laverda enthusiasts.


Feel free to Contact us for further details. sales@damclassicracing.com.au


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Note: In November 2020 Greg Parish was verbally abused and threatened with physical violence by the prominent member and former ‘President’ of Laverda Owners Victoria social group at the workshops of D.A.M. Classic Racing Pty Ltd. The company’s obligations under the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act legislation deemed legal action was required to be taken against the assailant to limit his uninvited attendance to its workplace. Despite ongoing personal acts against the best interests of Parish by this particular member and his colleagues, D.A.M. Classic Racing continues to support the greater Laverda Owners Victoria associates while distancing itself from direct involvement with the group.

 

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