Back in 2001 Duques Garage, the local dealer, introduced Guernsey motorcyclists to Suzuki’s new muscle bike, the GSX1400. In the first year they sold nine and in 2002 Duque’s Ian Lavenne said they sold another 19. Quite an achievement considering Suzuki’s original plan was to only import 140 bikes into Britain. A feature in the Guernsey Press in 2002 reported on the gathering at the old Harton Lodge Hotel where 26 owners and their bikes got together for a photo shoot followed by a bar meal. This gathering was organised by Tony Simon, the first Guernsey owner of the much sought after blue and white K2 model.
Although production ended in 2008, the love of these torque-laden bikes remains as strong as ever. Tony acquired a secondhand GSX1400 in 2018 and decided to change the colour from blue and white to Tangerine Scream orange and white as part of his restoration project. Later his friend Dennis Le Prevost found a replacement for the GSX1400 he owned from 2002 - 2007. Dennis is now the proud owner of another restored K2 model. ‘I like the original blue and white but decided to change the colour to Soul Red Crystal and white and I also added a Honda Fireblade headlamp unit to give it a unique look.’ he said.
`Knowing there is still a strong following of these iconic bikes in the island, I put the call out on social media to invite present day owners to ride their bikes to the east arm of the QE2 marina for another photo shoot. On the day I was very pleased with a turnout of eight bikes.’ Former owner Graham Guilbert and Duques Ian Lavanne were also invited to make an appearance.
Local photographer Craig Le Lerre, who has been working on his own Guernsey Bike Portrait Project, kindly agreed to take the photos. He said ‘The Guernsey Bike Portrait Project is drawing to a close after 3 years. A book is well underway which will showcase the hundred or so portraits taken, along with coverage of the wider local motorcycle community and motorsport events. Profits from the sale of the book will be going to charity. The book is expected to be completed by Autumn’.
If there are any other GSX1400 owners on the island or in Alderney you are invited to join the Guernsey GSX1400 Owners Facebook group. If the numbers increase we will hopefully get together again for another photo shoot.
Front row left to right; Tony Simon, Dennis Le Prevost, Greg Deheaume, Phil Leale. Back row left to right; Peter Le Noury, Tony & Sue Mollet, Graham Guilbert (former GSX1400 owner), Ian Lavenne (Duques Garage), Neil de Jersey and Carl Hickman. Photo by Craig Le Lerre
This photo of Dennis Le Prevost's and Tony Simon's present day GSX1400's was also taken by Craig Le Lerre for the Guernsey Bike Portrait Project, The new colour schemes, professionally applied by ARC Guernsey, are Crystal Soul Red and Tangerine Scream respectively. Both bikes are fitted with Delevik exhaust systems and the wheels have been powder-coated in a brighter white, which look great but do require a lot of cleaning !