HOW IT ALL BEGAN IN THE SUMMER OF '18
The Fortyfivers MC is an invitational club of like-minded owners, riders and builders of Vintage Harley Davidson Flatheads founded in the UK, with a global membership reaching as far as Japan, Australia, South Africa and Argentina as well as the usual locations of USA, Europe and (of course) UK.
It was a chance meeting in the summer of 2018 when co-founder, Clint Vosloo pulled up on his ’52 WL at the fuel station in Old Windsor, Berkshire. “I was getting ready to refuel when a pickup pulled up really close behind me, too close, and a guy got out and started walking towards me. I thought ‘This is going to get interesting….’”.
As it turns out, the driver became co-founding member, Darren Hanson, who had just purchased a ’42 WLA from Romania – his first bike (ever).
“We became friends and rode together a few times,” says Darren “then Clint pushed it to the next level on social media platforms and connected with three other owners, Reece Hill, Malcolm Piper and Chris Kinsey. We all met for the first time at Guildford Harley Davidson’s Birthday Bash in 2018 and rode to a local pub for a few drinks – this was really the humble beginnings of the Fortyfivers MC”.
Since its founding in Summer ’18, the Fortyfivers MC has embraced the digital social platforms and exists primarily as a global digitally native club, with registered members connecting through their private WhatsApp Page and boasting a current social following of over 3000 people across their Instagram and Facebook pages. Club Membership is through an invitation only basis with over 250 registered Lifetime Members.
“We receive at least 10-15 requests a week to join the club through our social platforms, but we are really strict with membership. All requests need to be supported with photos of bikes, history of the bike and your Instagram name – so we can check on details.” Says Clint, who manages the clubs’ membership and social platforms. “We only accept owners or builders of vintage Harley Flatheads - this keeps things pure within club members - Something I learnt from my father, who ran a Harley Club back in the sixties”
The Fortyfivers have managed to grow a global community of Harley Flathead enthusiasts that includes members across varied interests, from military restorations to beach drag racers with membership reaching as far as Australia, Indonesia, Argentina and South Africa. “We are very honoured to have members who are veteran TROG racers, like Ant Carpentier, Romo Motor Festival co-creator Carsten Bech, the first American to race in the beach events in Europe, Chris McGregor and many of the members who represent the club name in Japan.” The club is also very proud to have female members in USA, UK and Europe. “Our First Lady Thelma Tomalewicz, a TROG racer, who we reached out to with an invitation to become a member, has been great for the club. Since then we have female members who are social riders, like Mara Luduena in Brazil and hardcore racers, like Karen Howell from the USA”
All registered members receive a Lifetime Membership card and number that is paired to them for life, and often required to get member discounts through partner brands, like PS-Vintage in Switzerland, and on the clubs’ webstore. It has created somewhat of a ‘tradition’ with new members who photograph and post their membership cards in some interesting locations with their bikes. Check out our Instagram page @fortyfiversmc for photos and vids. The Instagram page is also a very impressive collection of photo postings of Fortyfivers MC Member bikes and lifestyle and has an ever growing following.
“We are very lucky to have members who are passionate about the vintage Harley lifestyle, so we always have an abundance of content to share on Instagram and Facebook”, says Clint, who posts on a daily basis “It’s important to keep things fresh and new, so we are constantly collecting photos and enhancing/adjusting in Photoshop before posting”.
So, what’s next for the club?
The Fortyfivers are very excited to be working closely with brands like Motostuka and Eastman Leather to create exclusive leather products under the Fortyfivers MC brand. Both collab partnerships will offer handmade, pre-order products of superior quality and craftsmanship. “We have been working with Rob at Motostuka for almost 8 months now, to create a model that is exclusive to the Fortyfivers –a unique two-tone handstitched and waxed leather glove that we call Black Gold. We are also working closely with Gary Eastman, a Fortyfivers MC member, to create a jacket based off a vintage WW2 German Flight Jacket which will hopefully be available to members in 2020.”
The club has also been working closely with UK based Hexanmotorworks, to create a small collection of sustainably sourced apparel items which will be available online in October. “By mid 2020 we should also have an extended product line that includes gloves, jackets and additional clothing items. We are developing a water and windproof corduroy fabric with Hexan Motorworks, that will be used in a vintage styled Garage Jacket.” says Clint, using his 20+ years experience in product design and development to help create the collections.
2020 will also see the club at more events and have members representing the Fortyfivers through Vintage Racewear apparel at major beach drag races around the world.
The Fortyfivers MC is more than your typical motorcycle club. It has become a social community that gathers like-minded people with a passion for vintage Harley Flatheads and the lifestyle surrounding them.
As co-founder Darren Hanson puts it, “All Fortyfivers members are just like that first handshake that Clint and I had - All are welcomed as a friend and an important member to the club. The latest member will always be as important as the first, with the interaction of members proudly showing their bikes to the group always amazing me – the differences in personal style and slight alterations to each personal ride is always lovely to see. As a club, we have taken and restored an amazing array of Harley Flatheads, some to race, some to recreate war events for remembrance and others to enjoy the ride.
Every member has their own unique story of ownership and every bike has a history and way that they like to be treated. It’s great to be part of the Fortyfivers MC and something that preserves the heritage of vintage Harley Flatheads, bringing people together on a global scale.”