In Memoriam

John Holsinger 'Lead Dog'

John Walter Holsinger, who loved his Lead Dog nickname, was born in 1951.

It could take a long time to get to know the many aspects of John, not because he didn’t say much but because he never boasted.

Knowing John through the Sydney H.O.G. Chapter you’d know how much he loved motorcycles and loved riding with his friends. But that’s just one dimension of his long and varied life.

John also loved music and played piano, trumpet and guitar. He loved tennis, played to the professional level and also umpired. In fact, he umpired a John McEnroe vs Ivan Lendl match at Wimbledon. If you’ve followed tennis over the years you can only imagine how hard it was to deal with McEnroe’s antics on the court. In all, John was involved in the tennis world for more 20 years and health organisations for his whole working life. 

John also had his pilot’s licence and loved flying. John’s wife, Val, booked him a Tiger Moth flight for his 70th. He wasn’t a passenger, he was on the controls.

John had an international career, including work in Hong Kong where he first joined a H.O.G. Chapter, but more recently enjoyed city living in Sydney.

John loved his many friends but more than all of these combined, undeniably, John loved his wife Val with all his heart.

Val actually purchased Johns first Harley, a Sportster 883, in 1993 but later thought the 883 looked too small for John so she encouraged him to purchase a bigger Harley.

John’s H.O.G. journey started in 1997 in Hong Kong and he wore that Chapter’s insignia on the back of his vest.

His Australian H.O.G. journey started with the NSW Chapter in 2004 and then, in 2006, came the opportunity to form the Sydney Chapter.

As a Sydney Chapter founding member, John was intimately involved in creating the culture and ethos of the new Chapter and held many roles on the committee.

He could have been our Director or taken on any primary officer position in any year but he preferred supporting roles.

John was Safety Officer from 2007 to 2010 and co-wrote many of the Chapter’s safety procedures.

He was Head Road Captain from 2011 to 2016 and really played to his strengths as Awards Officer and Historian from 2017.

All these contributions to the Chapter made John the Committee Member with longest continual service. 

The Chapter planned to award him Life Membership of Sydney H.O.G. at the March meeting
this year so his vest, in the end, also carried that patch.

In his time on a Harley-Davidson John rode all over Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and, of course, the USA.

So many Chapter members would have travelled with John from the first big ride to Uluru in 2005 through to his last ride on the Short Way Round 2.0.

So where do we go next? We can honour John by being a bit more like him. Lift your game, be happy to be able to ride, participate more!

Our H.O.G. world is left a better place for having had Lead Dog in it and you may be fortunate enough to have had a little bit of John to rub off on you!


John's Tribute Video

John's funeral service livestream PIN 9147

Lead Dog Memorial Rest Area at Broken Hill


Paul 'Rainman' Williams

12 December 1957 - 2 April 2020

“I’ve gotta be honest”… Paul’s life shone so brightly, it will never go out.

Paul has not left us. He lives on, in all of us who were privileged to call him a friend. That’s by no means a small, exclusive club. He had so many friends. He made friends with everyone he met. What made him so unique was his ability to make every one of his friends feel like they were special to him… and we all were.

Paul lived his life with love, integrity, honesty, kindness, humility and compassion. He had love for all people and their many causes. Paul will live on in our hearts and in our lives as a shining example of a life well lived. Paul was a great man with a big heart who made a great contribution to all our lives. Just by knowing him and being his friend, we’re all better people than we may have previously been destined to be.

Paul grew up in The Shire and attended Heathcote high School. With Kim they lived in Woronora, still in ‘The Shire’. Destined to be a Shire boy for ever more.

Paul loved Kim. He was 35 when they married 28 years ago on September 26, 1992. From my conversations and observations, they loved each other more, every day they were together. We all reminded him on several occasions, how lucky they both were to have found each other.

Paul loved people… especially the members of Sydney H.O.G. Paul and Kim joined SHOG in mid-2008. Members 257 and 258. There’s not a moment that the Chapter wasn’t blessed to have them as members. Paul and Kim set the tone for friendliness, inclusiveness and acceptance and made all new members feel so very welcome. Which drew in even more members. The rapid growth of the Chapter to 300 then 400 members and the quality of those members who quickly got on board, was a direct result of their contribution. Paul was our SHOG Membership Officer in 2011 and 2012. Then later as Head Road Captain in 2018/19. Kim has been our Welfare Officer since 2016. It’s now our time, to look after her.

Paul LOVED music and celebrity. He would engage all of us with his knowledge and experiences from the entertainment world. He had a history in the music industry going back to ‘before he was actually born’!? He could rattle off two thousand names of people he had played with, knew about, watched play, been at their concert or met personally. Photos will attest to him with many, including Chris Shaw, Hangover. The cast from Sons of Anarchy. Mike Tyson. Buddy Guy, Chicago Nightclub. Phil Emmanuel and many, many more. He particularly enjoyed playing at SHOG Christmas parties with his mates from the Chapter.

Paul loved to ride. Whether it was on rides with SHOG, the Vietnam Vets, on weekends away or any of his adventures with SHOG. Rides like the Lennox Heads Rally in 2008, crossing the Nullarbor in 2014, the Tassie Tour in 2018 or his last run to the Byron Rally in 2019. Paul had a succession of Harleys that we were envious of, including that military WLA. His ‘riding’ wasn’t restricted to bikes, he loved fast cars like his Holden W375 – “It has a belly full of go fast!” He even loved fast boats like ‘Wild Oats’.

Paul loved travelling in the US. That love grew even stronger when Sydney Chapter travelled to the USA in 2012. Paul made many deep and lasting friendships on that tour. He loved the music, the history and riding on those fabulous roads through the National Parks and especially on Route 66… riding to Sturgis and the various music venues was his absolute passion.

Paul loved sports: He was extremely fond of his rifle collection and enjoyed being out with mates on the rifle range. Paul loved everything about life and achieved so much… there was simply too much for him to do, now sadly, he has run out of time.

Rainman was our friend. To be honest… we’ll all miss him dreadfully. There is less light in the world without him in it.

KIM, our hearts are heavy for your loss. Our condolences to you, your family and your friends. We are very sad that everyone from the Chapter who loved Paul (that’s everyone) is unable to attend his funeral due to the social isolation lockdown. I’m sure it would have been the biggest Thunder Run Sydney Chapter has ever done. As Kim said: “We’ll have to wait until later in the year to commemorate his life and conduct Paul’s Memorial Ride.” We’ll keep everyone informed as to a weekend away, as the months of isolation go by. 

–Fred Madderom HRC

Paul William's Tribute Video


Phil Stenson


PHIL AND CHERIE STENSON joined Sydney H.O.G. Chapter in April 2010 - Members 619 and 620.

I remember vividly the day Phil and Cherie turned up at the Chapter for their first ride. It was a H.O.G. ABC’s of Touring Day and we were collecting many letters of the alphabet, including the letter ‘Z’. That made Zetland our first destination. At the time I didn’t realise how new Phil and Cherie were to riding a Harley.

When we got to the Zetland electricity substation, just 3km away, Phil stopped with his front wheel up the angled driveway and the back wheel still on the roadway. The gap between, in the gutter, was far to high for Phil’s legs to reach the ground. Down they went. Cherie ‘spilled off’ onto the road and Phil managed to somewhat step off the bike, which was now on its side, in the gutter. We got off our bikes, helped get theirs upright again, and they both got back on with a minimum of fuss… and that was that.! The ‘mandatory’ drop was over on day one. Whew! Friendly banter and lots of encouragement followed.

It took Phil a little while to ‘understand’ the H.O.G. culture and that the friendly banter and ribbing were part of his acceptance into the Chapter. Phil became very passionate about riding with the Chapter and later became a Life Member of H.O.G. 

Phil loved photography and took up the position of Chapter Photographer in 2010 and again in 2011. He then had his ‘trusty apprentice’ Cherie, take on the photographer role under his tutelage. From there… Cherie’s personality evolved over the next few years as she came ‘out of her shell’ to become a better photographer than him. I know this because Phil told me more than once how very proud he was of his ‘apprentice’. Between them they captured a great history of the Chapter from 2010 to 2017. Cherie held the role of Chapter Photographer for 5 years from 2012 to 2016.

At the same time in 2010, Phil also became the Chapter Webmaster and kept us online for the next 7 years, until the end 2016. Whenever you asked Phil to do something, he would always start the conversation by letting you know how busy he was. Working late, working weekends, working 24 hours straight. He was always busy… but he was still always generous with his time.

Then there was Phil’s way of doing things and ‘no other way’. I liked that… he was definitive, always most helpful and in spite of how busy he was, he ALWAYS got it done. Phil was ultra reliable and would never let you down. He was never pushy, always guiding and ALWAYS busy!!

I never saw Phil get angry or cross… he was far too calm for that… but he would soon let you know, in his quiet way, if he didn’t agree with what you wanted to do. Phil was a straightforward, easygoing guy.

Phil became a Road Captain in 2014 and continued to help plan rides up until 2017. He and Cherie went on many Rally trips with the Chapter and Phil, a great supporter of YOTS, would always step up to take the YOTS youths on a ride.

Phil had a ‘different’, somewhat perverse sense of humour as many in the Chapter well know - Monty Python was his style. He loved ‘80s and ‘90s music. He loved his grandkids, and he loved being out on the water.

Even though Phil and Cherie were not highly active in the Chapter over the past couple of years, we did see them from time to time. I have it on good authority it was Phil’s intention to start riding again with the Chapter… he’d just had their bike serviced in anticipation! A lesson for me there. Every ride you don’t do is one ride gone forever!! 

 - Fred Madderom HRC

Phil Stenson's Tribute Video


Frank Smart

Frank Smart was a son to Helen and Harold Smart, a brother to Louise, a husband to Gabrijela and a father to Sasha. He was a kind, thoughtful, loving and loyal man.

Frank had his two greatest passions in life. His family, Gab and Sasha, and motorcycles.

Frank’s motorcycling started at the age of 16 and lasted his lifetime. He started on sports bikes and, by the time he reached his 40s, it sensibly extended into his love for Harley-Davidson.

In 2011 Frank bought “Cranky”, his beautiful Road King, which became his pride and joy.

That year Frank joined Sydney Chapter where he found a sense of belonging and camaraderie. He accumulated many lasting memories with the most significant one being “Ride for Sasha” on December 6, 2014, the last time Frank would ride.

At the age of 46 Frank succumbed to stomach cancer and we lost him.

Frank wanted his four-year-old, Sasha, to forever remember her Dad’s love for her and his passion for riding, together with the sense of freedom and friendship that came with it.

We are forever indebted to Sydney HOG, especially Mark Hurt, for supporting Frank until the end, taking care of “Cranky” and for organizing Sasha’s birthday ride each year in order to keep her Father’s memory alive.

With much love to all

Gab Juel

View the Ride For Sasha video here.