1980 Suzuki GP125

GP125 on the dirt road to Young
My first motorcycle ride was at the age of about 12. A friend who lived up the road had a Kawasaki KD-80. His Dad used to take him out to a friend's farm to ride and a couple of times I tagged along. I didn't actually get to ride much though - maybe because I crashed it into a tree the first time I did.

After that there was a night in high school at a mate's girlfriend's brother's house (or something like that) where there was a 125 dirt bike, which we took turns riding up and down the road to Ball's Head in the middle of the night.

And then there was a terrific night being pillioned along the Great Ocean Road from Airey's Inlet to Lorne and back, by another mate on a CB-250. He was on his L plates, and kind enough to let me wear the helmet while he went without.

But as high school finished I got my first car, and that gave way to a couple more cars, and in early 1985 I was driving a big old Valiant. There was a petrol strike at the time, and I was also not terribly wealthy at the time, when I saw a sign outside a shop "Beat the Petrol Strike" - they were selling step-throughs. I realised this would be fun and economical at the same time - the Valiant was costing a heap in petrol.

So I got my 'L' plates and took a step-through for a test ride. I figured I should look around a bit, and went up to Welbank Motorcycles in Artarmon. The salesman there, Peter Weste, convinced me that a step-through was a poor idea and that I should get a real motorcycle. The only "real" motorcycle that fit my meager budget was a blue GP-125, and after a test ride I was hooked.

I traded in the Valiant on the GP125, and was happy to get a few dollars more for it than I paid (I bought it for $320, so we're not talking a lot here). The bike was about $450, plus helmet.

It was the end of Summer when I bought it and the weather was nice, but as Spring rolled around and the nights got cooler - I was working til midnight in a video shop - I realised I needed some warmer gear and got myself a pair of gloves for $2 from K-Mart, and borrowed a sheepskin jacket from a friend.

This bike was my sole transport for much of the year, and it took me on a big trip to Tasmania in April. In 1986 I did courier work on it for a month or two. It taught me to love the sound and smell of a two-stroke.

Patrick Jordan - patrick@ariel.com.au