26th & 27th June, 2019, report from the Australian Premiers, Sydney & Melbourne.

Twenty five hours flying isn’t fun under any circumstances, but embarking on a trip to Australia having had a big off the day before was extra gruelling. Hobbling with heavy bruising and swelling, and a battered Norton Commando in the garage, made matters for director Gareth Maxwell Roberts considerably worse.

Gareth arrived in Sydney exhausted and ashen, but was met by Andy Dorr of Sabotage Motorcycles and all his woes disappeared.

Andy and Giles who make up the Sabotage crew had teamed up with Andrew of Pipeburn fame and Geoff at Return of The Cafe Racers to stage the Sydney and Melbourne premiers of the film. Along with Andrew’s partner Ann, their organisation was a well oiled machine fuelled with good humour and hilarious banter.

They had also invited Aussie bike building legend Craig Rodsmith, who returned home for the first time in fifteen years, to host the screenings with Gareth.

Giles, Geoff, Andy, Andrew and Ann had mounted a well strategised PR campaign around the premiers and it was no surprise both venues sold out.

The evenings ran like a lovingly restored Honda; smoothly and perfectly timed. The audiences were met with bikes in the foyers from our sponsors Royal Enfield and the excellent Gasoline Motorcycle Company.

Drinks in the bar were followed by a Q&A with Gareth and Craig, and then raffles with prizes from our sponsors, culminating in a give away of the TW Steel Oil In The Blood collaboration watch.

The screenings opened with the excellent short film ‘Sandstorm’ by Gasoline, featuring Gasoline team member Sean Taylor and our good friend Jay Young surfing dunes on the Gasoline custom Triumph scramblers.

The film looked and sounded great in both the Dendy and Westgarth cinemas, both landmark theatres. Both audiences reacted enthusiastically, and we got the chance to hang out and chat with Aussie builders and riders into the small hours.

Australia is a long way to travel for only a week, but it was so worth it. The premiers were terrific, amongst the very best so far. It was fun to hang out with Giles, Andy, Andrew and Geoff, who pulled out all the stops to make the events as wonderful as they were. It was also great to learn more about the tight knit but thriving Australian custom scene.

One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the Gasoline space and communing with Jason, Jody and Sean. They have an incredible selection of motorcycles, including three stunning Ducatis from the talented Aussie crew Shed X. Gasoline threw all of their support behind the screenings.

We visited the communal workspace Rising Sun Garage in Sydney, where local builders and fettlers can work on their machines and glean advice from the knowledgeable Rising Sun team. Attached is a stellar coffee shop serving delicious food. A great hangout.

It was also a privilege to meet builder Matt Machine of the The Machine Files and The Machine Show, an incredibly sincere and generous influence on the Aussie Custom scene.

We also couldn’t spend time in Aus without visiting our good mate Mark Hawwa of The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride and Throttle Roll. He was as charming and funny as he always is. He’s got a pretty sweet spot himself for his ever expanding collection of two and four wheeled toys.

At the Melbourne screening we met Kano, the dude behind Fuck Your Bike Sucks Instagram page, who was is as hilarious in person as he is online, and who illustrates the thick vein of humour that runs through the custom community.

As always it was a delight to spend time with Mr Rodsmith, who has become a huge champion of the film. His stories of growing up a flame-haired and freckled motorcycle hooligan on the streets of Melbourne kept us delighted well into the small hours. It was an honour to meet three generations of his family at the Melbourne screening, and witness the grizzly old metal bender shed a tear or two.

Twenty six hours to get home gave Gareth plenty of time to reflect on a wonderful and successful trip. An experience that reinforced how robust and welcoming the global custom culture can be, demonstrated by the overwhelming response of the Aussie audiences to the film.

Thank you again to the Sabotage crew, Pipeburn and Return of the Cafe Racers for staging the premiers and for being such generous hosts.

See a collection of images over on our gallery page.

Oil in the Blood