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People to watch in 2005

Who will be the movers and shakers in the year to come

The evolution of motorcycling in the Northwest comes down to the people who make things happen.  In the sprit of progress we thought it might be fun to take a look at a few locals as the ones to watch in 2005.  Local entrepreneurs, racers, club members, they all make up the fabric of what's to come.

Andy Moore: Racer –After cleaning up in the GP125 and GP250 categories the last several years, Moore took it one step further this year winning both categories and winning the #2 plate overall in the WMRRA fold – all on a Honda GP125. The win has caused controversy inside the group as to the rules of the game, but as of press time the rules still stand that a GP125 racer who participates as extensively as any 600cc or Super Sport rider is just as entitled to the overall plate as the next guy. Racers may not have to worry much about Moore in 2005 as he’ll be doing something completely new for himself – racing a sidecar!! In an effort to get closer to his girlfriend, Moore will steer while partner Tamara plays monkey on the back. The hoot would be if the pair could pick up a top WMRRA plate doing it with a sidecar. Unlikely, but Moore is committed to doing the West Coast sidecar circuit this year and if his abilities shine as bright as the past we may have a number one sidecar plate holder here in Puget Sound by year’s end.

Tony Mazzarella: Shop Owner – Ever since his purchase of Mac’s Custom Upholstery several years ago, Tony Mozzarella has been a man on the move. More recently he merged his Seattle based upholstery business with Sunmark Upholstery on the eastside. Since Mac’s deals a lot in boats, Mazzarella took another turn and created a storage business under the Ballard bridge. But in 2005 Mazzarella is gearing up to grow even more and this time it will be in the 2 wheel arena.

Pat Dowling: Museum Curator – When the Whatcom Museum decided to put together a motorcycle display for 2005, The Good, The Bad & The Custom, Pat Dowling (at left) got handed the job of curetting the exhibit. Dowling spent much of 2004 scouring the Northwest for bikes, magazines, film footage and other memorabilia that signifies the Northwest and the motorcycle in general. Now Dowling will work extensively with various shops and individuals to create promotions that will keep the exhibit hopping from the day it opens in early May until its closing next December.

Rick Nakagaki: Shop Partner – 2004 was a critical year for Eastside Motosports. Amidst ups and downs at the beginning of 2004, the end result was the hiring of Rick Nakagaki as a managing partner for the dealership. Nakagaki is no newbie to the local motorcycle scene having run the sales departments of other shops like Renton Motorcycles and Downtown Harley-Davidson. After a bit of turnover, Nakagaki has assembled a core of seasoned individuals and brought a professional sensibility to the dealership. 2005 will likely see an expansion of floor space at the dealership and more events like their successful Ladies Night last November.

Barry Mercer: Club Vice President – The Vintage Motorcycle Enthusiasts have grown to 600 plus members. In 2005 elections will take place and current president Terry Kellog will not re-run for office. This leaves the most likely candidate to be club vice president, Barry Mercer. Mercer is well-liked among club members and has served in the past as publicity officer as well as volunteering in many events over the years. In 2003, Mercer suffered a serious motorcycle crash that de-habilitated him with numerous major surgeries. On the mend, Mercer took the wheel again in 2004 and had yet another nasty crash. Mercer is a feisty fighter and throughout most of the medical recovery periods continued to man his post, often in a wheelchair or on a cane (Dave Frieboth took the wheel the first few weeks after the '03 crash). Should he win the presidential position, his challenge will be to continue propelling the club forward with membership, maintain a tight noose on a now healthy club bank balance, and if he chooses to stay onboard through 2007 he’ll be at the helm of VME’s 25th anniversary.

Stu Ness and David Yeoman: Shop Owners – After defecting from the staff at Destination Harley-Davidson in 2004, Ness and Yeoman took on something of a rarity – they opened a used bike only shop in Fife, Sunset Motors. The pair spent much of 2004 trying to build clientele and a name for themselves. 2005 will be the year they must make the business grow in order to survive. Promotions like "Hot Dog Hotties," bike washes, visits from the Hooters girls and more have proven to be successful for the pair as they wind their way through various marketing angles. 2005 will no doubt be an interesting and fun one to watch these two characters assault.

Todd Thompson: General Manager – In 2004 Eastside Harley-Davidson closed two of their three locations (Issaquah and Bellevue Square). They also lost longtime General Manager, Dwane Cannady. In step with keeping it in the family, owners Bev and Keith Thompson have opted to move their son, Todd, into the GM position. Todd’s background was running another one of his father's businesses, Sound Container. He’s already known and well-liked by the staff at Eastside, so the transition should be a smooth one.

Jay & Tara Giese: Sidecar Fabricators – After a decade of working out of the garage, Jay & Tara Giese have moved their shop to a commercial location in Covington. Much of what the Giese’s have produced has been in-house fabrications. 2004 was a big year in terms of R&D expenses and 2005 is the year the Giese’s look to see the fruits of those labors. A number of creations over the years have brought the Giese’s to the forefront of three wheel innovation. Whether it’s a trailer hitch fabrication for Goldwings, or the amazing Triumph ‘Tigger’ sidecar (above) they created in 2004, no doubt their Dauntless Motors business will turn even more heads in 2005.

Darin Howard & Jim Croning: Shop Owners – In 2004 Howard and Croning left full-time jobs at a local dealership and created South Sound Motorcycle Service. The plan was to carve a niche with Croning's stellar service skills and Howard’s ability to source rare parts for Japanese bikes. If the plan is to succeed, 2005 will most likely be the determining year.

Jim Boltz: Shop Owner – With 3 decades of motorcycle business under his belt Jim Boltz (at right) and the crew of Cycle Barn will have their work cut out for them in 2005. In the spring Cycle Barn will move north 1 mile to a new location and the existing location will become an exclusive Harley-Davidson dealership, Harley-Davidson of Seattle. The challenge will be to educate customers about where to go for what and with any luck folks will diversify enough to buy from both locations!

Rich O’Conner: Shop Owner – 2004 was not the greatest year for Rich O’Conner of Rich’s Custom Seats, health-wise that is. The man who has made a career out of building custom motorcycle seats went through three major back surgeries and managed to cut a few digits off his hand while building his home in Hansville. Despite the health woes, O’Conner still made it to the BMW National Rally, the International Motorcycle Show and inked an exclusive deal to build seats for the high end Ecosse’ motorcycle brand. 2005 will prove to be a trying year for O’Conner as he moves his business to being open on Saturdays and mops up some mismanagement that occurred during his absences. But if a guy can do all that under the circumstances in 2004, it’ll be full speed ahead for this survivor in 2005.

Tom Wicken: Shop Owner – In 2004 Pete Wicken of University Honda/Yamaha/MZ transferred ownership of the shop to his son, Tom Wicken. 2005 will be the year the younger Wicken goes at it on his own but as Tom says "When my dad was here he didn’t really run the show, our customers know that ever since the day Monkey set foot in here he’s been the one in charge!"  Well, that pretty much sums up the meaning of 'Who's yo daddy.'

SR!/Winter 2005


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