Graeme Boyd Motorcycles goes into liquidation

NEWCASTLE motorcycling identity Graeme Boyd says market conditions are to blame for the liquidation of the business he has run under his own name for more than 20 years.

Mr Boyd, who has also been an enthusiastic promoter of moto-cross events in the Hunter over the years, said that if there was any hope of the market recovering he would have tried to keep trading. But things were getting progressively worse and he was left with no option, financially.

Liquidator Brad Morelli of insolvency specialists Jirsch Sutherland said he was appointed on Monday and shut the Maitland Road, Islington, business the next day.

He said the company’s 15 employees had been laid off and they would have to apply to the federal government’s Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme to recover their entitlements. Mr Boyd said he hoped he would have the funds to cover them himself once a sale of the company’s assets had taken place.

Mr Morelli said it was too early to give a complete financial rundown but the business owed at least $150,000 to about 30 unsecured creditors. Money was also owed to the dealership’s main brands, Suzuki and Yamaha, and to a bank, the tax office and the landlord.

A sign on the dealership fence yesterday said “possession taken by owner due to breach of lease”.

Mr Boyd said he had pumped a lot of his own money into the business recently to keep it afloat.

“I’ve done six days a week for thirty years, and I haven’t had a holiday for four years,” Mr Boyd said.

Mr Boyd, who turns 60 this month, said motorcycle dealers in Moree and Gunnedah had also shut up shop in the past few weeks.   

Despite the liquidation of his dealership, Mr Boyd is still involved in promoting motor sports events, including two rounds of a national dirt bike circuit this weekend at a layout about 10 kilometres north of Raymond Terrace.

Mr Boyd said he was concerned about his business closure impacting on the MX Nationals, which he described as “the dirt bike equivalent of the Supercars”.

Mr Morelli said he and his partner Stewart Free were “working to determine the position in relation to stock on consignment from various suppliers” but Suzuki and Yamaha were likely to be “significant creditors”.

“Customers who had bikes in the store for repair or service are being contacted to arrange an immediate collection by staff employed by the liquidator for that purpose,” Mr Morelli said.

“A sale of residual stock of both bikes and accessories will take place in the coming weeks via the liquidators’ appointed agents, Slattery Valuations & Auctions.”

In April this year, Mr Morelli was appointed to another well-known Hunter business when the Darby’s Fresh Bake chain of stores went into voluntary administration. Mr Morelli said the director Victor de Vries had struck a deed of company arrangement with his creditors and had managed to stay open.

But Mr Boyd said that would not be the situation in his case, because he was getting out of the business for good.

“In the end it was an easy decision,” Mr Boyd said, saying that like most people who worked in the industry, he was a motorcycle enthusiast.

He said he got his start with Fraser’s motorcycles in 1980, and had been in business since 1986.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission records show he started Graeme Boyd Motorcycles in 1996 with his wife, Vicki-Lee Boyd, as an equal shareholder. Records show she is still a half-owner although Mr Boyd has been the company’s only director since March 2016.

Mr Morelli said potential buyers would be sounded out as the financial details of the business were finalised.

“Graeme Boyd Motorcycles is an iconic Newcastle brand and it is sad to see such well-regarded and long established local business struggling amid a challenging retail environment,” Mr Morelli said.

The Maitland Road, Islington, business on Thursday. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

The Maitland Road, Islington, business on Thursday. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

 The decline in motorcycle sales has been widely reported inside the industry, with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries saying overall sales were down 9.3 per cent last year, with on-road bikes down 15.9 per cent, scooters down 13.2 per cent and off-road bikes down 5.9 per cent.

Mr Boyd brought a SuperMoto race to the Newcastle foreshore in 2015 and 2016 but it moved to Newcastle Showground last year because of the Supercars. The 2018 race is back at the foreshore on September 1 and 2. Mr Boyd said last month that the move “hurt big time” but it would be back “bigger and better” with 20,000 spectators expected.