Over the last five years or so I have helped various top riders to NZ titles and top place finishes - riders include Cam Negus, Andrew Hardisty, Nick Roder, Nicki Urwin, Sam Arundel, Michael Phillips, Mathew Hunt (Junior NZ MX champs) Rhys Carter. I also started servicing MTB rear shocks in 1997. In the earlier days we modified the valving stacks on the shock pistons with favourable results. Now I am using top quality aftermarket components like suspension tech and race tech, which offer considerably improvement over most stock suspension components. I still race MX today, mainly club MX and Vet MX. I also have been servicing and improving front and rear road bike suspension units, and in the last few years there have been suspension kits available that markedly improve the road machines' suspension.

A bit of history.

For those of you out there who may not know me, here is a brief career and racing history. I started riding motorcycles on the farm about age 12, this progressed to riding motorcycle observed trials. Worked my way through novice ranks to expert and finished 3rd in NZ championships in 1978 and was chosen to represent NZ in a three man team to compete against the Australians in the annual Trans Tasman championships at age 16. I started work as a motorcycle mechanic apprentice at the Rotorua Kawasaki Dealership at age 15, worked at the Suzuki shop in Rotorua at completion of apprenticeship, then moved on to work at the Honda Dealership in Tokoroa, before moving on to start my own Motorcycle Repair Shop in Tokoroa in 1984 called "The Bike Shop". Passed my trade certificate and A grade certificate in motorcycle engineering. Started riding MX in 1979 culminating in a best finish of 2nd in the 250cc class NZ championships in 1984 (1st NZ rider). My interest in motorcycle suspension was a natural progression I guess from being a motorcycle mechanic and an MX rider, of course I was very interested in getting my own machines to handle properly.

Back in the mid to late eighty's there was a lot of emphasis on engine tuning, porting etc, but most people seemed to ride with their suspension as "stock". I think this was mainly because there was very little information available regarding servicing and performance improvement, particularly for rear suspension units. It was regarded I think, as a bit a black art and probably still is in some respects to this day.

To start with I was just happy to be able to service the rear suspension units with some degree of knowledge that I had gained through servicing my own shocks. But I then had people coming to me asking me if I could improve the action of their suspension, eg. MX bikes being ridden in trail riding situations. I will admit at this stage my knowledge of rebound damping, compression damping settings and appropriate valving settings was very limited.

In 1989 I started work at KTM Importers where I started servicing the Dutch WP shock absorbers. We had a complete shim set of shock valving shims and I had quite a close relationship with the technical people at WP in Holland, I gained invaluable experience regarding valving changes etc. which continues to this day. In December 1994, myself, my brother and Bryan and Fred O'Connor started Patterson O'Connor Motorcycles (a Kawasaki Dealership). In 1996 we were appointed a KTM Dealership as well. It was about this time I devoted more of my time to specialising in servicing and reconditioning suspension units.