Goran Kovacevic probably has the best sense of humour in the local biking community. An afternoon with Goran is guaranteed to involve a great deal of laughter. He should probably have his own TV show. Goran is a Serbian who has resided in Botswana for the most part since 1992. He runs his own business-based in Phakalane called Heavy Works which specialises in mechanical work, restoration, panel beating and spray painting of cars as well as repairing and restoring motorcycles. Currently Goran is repairing a Harley Davidson Road King for a client. The Road King was involved in an accident. Goran prefers not to accept too many bikes to work on at a given time. This is because he is a perfectionist. For example, he has been working on the aforementioned Road King for over a year. A good example of Goran’s workmanship is a café racer on display at his workshop, which is for sale. It is based on a 1984 Suzuki GS850. Goran has made myriad modifications to the GS850. He has modified the rear frame to fit the café racer seat; he has dropped the front suspension; he has made modifications to the steering damper; he has fitted Showa rear shocks and classic racer handle bars; he has fitted modified headlights with integrated LED indicator lights; he has painted the tank in custom black with chequered flag strips. The frame of the GS850 is painted in classic Yellow Mellow. It has a Classic Cowley 4-in-1 exhaust and K&N air filters. The brake and gear controls have been moved back for the racer look. It also has aftermarket levers.Goran’s love of motorcycles traces its roots all the way back to his youth. At that time the then Yugoslavian motorcycle scene was dominated by Eastern European brands. There was a local brand called Tomos. There were also other brands from Czechoslovaki and Russia. These bikes had very small engine displacements.To give an example of how small the engines were on the Tomos, Goran fondly reminisces about the time his uncle bought a 90cc Tomos. “That was the top of the range,” he laughs. When Goran eventually got his own 90cc Tomos, he was upgrading from what he was used to. “Obviously with a bigger and better bike, you collect better chics,” Goran humorously states with his infectious laugh.
In those days, Goran and his friends would modify their bikes to improve performance. They were never satisfied with such low top speeds as 100 kilometres per hour. They tinkered with things such as ports and pistons.Goran recalls that the first time that he saw a Japanese bike was when his neighbor bought a Kawasaki Z900. He had never seen anything like it before. Thus began his love affair with Japanese motorcycles. He says that this was around 1983.When Japanese bikes first appeared in Yugoslavia, the contrast with the Eastern European brands was striking. The Eastern European motorcycles paled in comparison to the speed, handling and aesthetics of the Japanese motorcycles. When Goran saw his neighbour’s Z900 he told himself that his next bike would be Japanese. Needless to say, it wasn’t; his next bike turned out to be the aforementioned Tomos.Goran finally got to own his first Japanese bike when he came to Botswana. It was a Suzuki 450cc ex police bike. Describing how this felt, Goran says that it was like “a jump from a 90cc Tomos to a space ship”. Being so good with his hands, Goran eventually bought a Suzuki Hayabusa from a scrap yard and rebuilt it himself with help from a friend. He later bought a Suzuki Intruder which he also rebuilt. At that point he was an employee for other people, so he used to work on these bikes every day after work. Goran has been rebuilding Japanese bikes ever since.