Me and My Bike: How he misses that Valiant
William Goodfellow is managing director of the Explore Group and skipper on the new Explore Waiheke ferry service
You have a black 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 650L motorbike?
I got my licence last year because I was supposed to go on an adventure ride in Northern Queensland for my cousin’s 50th birthday. I was gutted when I had to withdraw at the last minute for work reasons.
Why this bike?
Thirty minutes before collecting my kids from school I walked into the motorbike shop and said I was after the biggest Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme bike they had and, as I hadn’t ridden much, said I thought ABS would be a good idea. Fifteen minutes later I was signed up for the Kawasaki Ninja 650L.
I was cautioned by a seasoned rider that my maiden voyage was overly ambitious. I rode to Whitianga to look at a boat for the business and, by the 400km mark, in typical Auckland showery equinox spring weather fashion, I started to question if the comfort level of my new ride was acceptable. The intention is to use it for day trips when I go to the Bay of Islands for work.
A $400 1975 Holden Belmont. My mother wouldn’t let me park it at the front of the house, it was a wreck. I have no idea how it managed to get a WoF. My second car was a 1971 VG, VIP, V8 Valiant. Different story, I spent a bit of money on it and it was a trophy car. Very cool in the student car park. Somehow I made money on both. I wish I still had the Valiant today.
What other vehicles do you ride/drive/skipper?
My real thing is sailing and for petrolheads I can sort of understand why sailing has been likened to watching paint dry. However, skippering Explore’s America’s Cup yachts when they are developing 2000hp is a buzz.
I also skipper the other boats in the Explore fleet, from the Waiheke ferries to the sailing boats and high-speed RIBs. On the road I have a 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander. I bought this for the seven seats and 4WD. My favourite, however, is the trusty 2005 Holden VZ Commodore Acclaim Wagon. I’ve had her for 10 years.
Dream vehicle ...
I have watched the Tesla evolution and think one of their new models would be outstanding as I’m a big fan of new technology and interested in the challenges ahead with the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.
It’s harder to get a bike licence than a car?
I think that is a good thing. Clearly all road users need to be competent but the consequences are generally more severe when something goes wrong on the bike.
Most memorable road trip?
On four wheels the most memorable was a boys’ trip for the 2003 RWC in Australia. We dropped into Melbourne for the quarterfinals and someone decided we should do more than watch rugby and spend time in pubs.
I don’t think anyone has toured to the Twelve Apostles quite the way we did. One hilarious moment after another.
Favourite motorbike movie scene?
Mission Impossible 2, Ethan Hunt v Ambrose on Bare Island, Botany Bay. I spend time in Sydney with the business and went there once, I recognised it immediately and was very excited.
What protective riding gear do you wear?
When I bought the bike the salesman said, ‘‘Live the dream’’. When I went upstairs to buy the kit the next salesman said, ‘‘Most of my friends have had accidents’’. So I have everything recommended.
Great day trip out of Auckland?
Waiheke Island is my favourite, it has always been beautiful and the diversity of attractions is outstanding.
Do you judge people by what they drive?
No, I don’t judge, but think you can often glean some context to the person.