Legend of WA motorcycle industry calls it quits after 37 years
Hundreds of Perth motorcyclists will wake in fear from February 1 knowing that the city’s only Sunday trading motorcycle shop has closed for good.
For years, Clem Nunn in Kenwick has been the last stop for motorcycle repairs when mechanical things went south.
But it wasn’t just over-the-counter support that Clem, who at age 73 is to retire and close the shop that bears his name, was renown for.
Former world No.2 motocrosser Jeff Leisk may not have ridden to such heights if it wasn’t for Clem.
Clem saw potential in the primary-school aged Leisk and gave the fledgling XR75-rider a hand. As Leisk drew attention – and wins – Clem pushed Honda Australia hard to successfully gain factory support.
More than 20 years later, Clem is now calling it quits as he opts for retirement and the closure of his (now) motorcycling accessories and parts business that has been a cornerstone shop for all types of riders.
Behind him is a legacy of industry and individual support. In addition to Jeff and his brother Mark Leisk, Clem supported Graeme Smythe and Neville Cutts.
He promoted the Kings of the Cross and Manjimup 15,000 events.
In addition to his allegiances to Honda and, later, Yamaha, he also introduced and supported brands such as CCM.
Aside from his involvement in the industry, he will be sorely missed because he closes on January 30 – Perth’s only metropolitan motorcycle shop open on a Sunday.
Jeff Leisk, now KTM’s boss in Australia, said: “Clem Nunn was a huge supporter of my racing career from day one”.
“When I started racing junior motocross back in the early seventies I was riding under the Clem Nunn Motorcycles’ banner with great success.
“Clem was extremely professional in areas of racing and was ahead of his time compared to other racing efforts.
“I spent a lot of time as kid at his Albany Highway Kenwick premises either working on my bikes or working for Clem in his spare parts department so I have many fond memories of those early years.
“The closing of Clem Nunn Motorcycles is the end of an era with Clem having contributed so much to the motorcycle industry in WA in many different ways.”
Clem, wife, Lesley, and daughters Tracy and Greer have been integral with the WA motorcycling fraternity for 37 years, starting as a Honda motorcycle and later Honda car dealership in 1974.
“The motorcycle business has changed completely,” Clem said.
“There are so few quality people available such as in parts and in repair that it makes it very hard to run a business. On top of that there is increasing competition from online stores so much that one shop has cut back its stock by 70 per cent.”
But he said it was a “fantastic industry with great people.”
“But it’s time for a change. You can’t do this forever.”
Honda Shop managing director Eddie Peters says many people in WA would like to say “thank you” to Mr Nunn for all he has done for them in their pursuit of a career in racing motorcycles.
“There are a lot of people in WA who would like to say `thank you’ to Clem Nunn for all he has done for them in their pursuit of a career in racing motorcycles,” Eddie said.
“He has sponsored and nurtured many a young man and woman from buying their first bike to becoming State, National and International champions.
“Clem has been a mentor for many motorcycle dealers including myself and spent many hours of his own time as Dealer President fighting for the needs of other dealers.
“He will be missed by all motorcyclists specially as he and his wife Lesley in their later years have developed there shop in Kenwick to look after motorcyclists needs particularly during the hours that the rest of the trade are home having time off.
“I am sure the shop sale will be a success. My family and I am sure every Motorcycle dealer in WA wishes Clem and Lesley a relaxing and healthy retirement. Put your feet up and enjoy.”
Part of Mr Nunn’s slowdown may include selling his CBR1000RR and as part of his fitness regime spending more time on his bicycle.