When Dennis Savic met the European Superstock champion and legendary Australian bike rider Jed Metcher in 2020, he wasn’t starstruck so much as united in recognition of a shared dream.
Dennis’s dream, as most of us know, began at high school, when he started drawing the design of the motorcycle that would take over his life. But for Jed, the childhood obsession began much earlier – further back even than he can remember.
“My dad says I got on my first peewee on the farm when I was four,” says Jed, referring to his uncle’s farm in Coldstream, Victoria, where the Metcher clan used to gather on weekends. Young Jed was hooning around the bush on dirt bikes for years, moved onto motocross tracks at seven, and by 10 had upgraded to MiniGP at the South Morang Go-Kart Track.
“The peewees with road tyres had me hooked,” says Jed. “I loved them so much that I got a job at the track so I could ride on weekends for free!”
These days, motorsport is a deadly serious business for Jed. Between 2010 and 2016, he was one of the most successful Australian riders on the international circuit, notching up podiums in multiple classes and in 2011 winning the European Superstock 600 Championship – a support class to the Superbike World Championship.
So how did he come to meet Savic Motorcycles, and shift his attention to electric bikes?
Jed and Dennis met for the first time in early 2020, just before both their dreams were put on ice by the COVID pandemic. But they weren’t to know that when they were introduced by our assembly technician, Adam Wilson, who was then part of Jed’s racing team.
At the time, Jed was operating out of a workshop in Brunswick in Melbourne, “gaining invaluable experience in the ways of motorcycle dynamics and suspensions”. And the first prototype of the C-Series needed help with its suspension.
“We were on the same page from the word go,” says Jed of his first meeting with Dennis. “Straight away I wanted to help Dennis build his bike, and I think he loved my enthusiasm for it. Actually they didn’t have a bike for me to ride for a while, but I was able to advise on how to design and fabricate a suspension system that would make their bike enjoyable and safe from the get-go!”
Ultimately, Jed didn’t just help with the design and testing of our prototype’s suspension, but suggested a number of specific components that enabled us to perfect the optimal long-term handling solution for the C-Series.
Although just 33, Jed has raced in every production road-race class on his epic climb up the ladder of global moto-racing. After riding 80cc 2-strokes at Broadford as a teen, he spent three years racing a Honda RS125R in the Australian 125 Championship – rising from 8th place in 2006, to 3rd in 2008. He ended 2008 with a wildcard entry to the World 125s, finishing 20th in the Phillip Island MotoGP on a bike his dad built in his garage.
Jed’s father Mal was the reason Jed got into racing, and he remains his greatest fan. “He’s an electrician, but he can do absolutely anything,” says Jed. “From fairings to suspensions to engine builds, he’s a superstar… he’s the reason I got anywhere in this sport.”
Mal funded his son’s races up until 2009, when local businessman Gary Morrison took a punt on Jed and paid for a Yamaha YZF-R6 and a van, as well as a monthly stipend towards his racing. Gary’s generous support enabled the 19-year-old to accelerate into the Supersport class where he would find international success.
After a successful Queensland round of the 2009 Australian Supersport Championship, Jed was approached by a German Superbike team with a proposal he couldn’t refuse: move to Germany to ride a Honda CBR1000RR in the legendary IDM Championship. His first year in Superbikes was a tough one, but it brought Jed to the attention of the big end of town – and a wildcard race in the south of France.
Signed up by the Yamaha-supported team, Jed won his very first race in the Superstock 600 class at Magny-Cours in October 2010, and was signed up to race in the European Superstock Championship the following year. He moved to Holland and was an instant success, taking out the Championship at his first go with two wins and seven podium finishes.
Over the next two years, Jed finished 14th in the 2012 Supersport World Championship on a Yamaha R6 and 4th in the 2013 IDM Championship on a Suzuki GSX-R600. But by now the call of home was growing louder, and in 2014 he returned to Melbourne to build his own Superbike team. Back home, Jed helped to set up a company called Race Center, which as well as servicing racing bikes specialises in building world-class suspension systems – skills we’re now benefitting from at Savic Motorcycles.
Soon after returning to Australia, Jed’s life turned an unexpected corner when he suffered a massive crash at Broadford, clipping another bike at nearly 170kph, and shattering his leg and foot. Although the accident put him out of action for two months, Jed was soon back on his feet – or in the saddle, at any rate.
In September 2014, just days after leaving hospital, Jed was back racing in the Australian Superbike Championship, taking a win in Race 2. He also took out the Harvie Wiltshire Memorial Trophy at Phillip Island on a Kawasaki ZX-10R. “I was still limping and on crutches, but once you get on a bike you just forget about all that,” he laughs.
In 2015, Jed returned to the international circuit, entering another Kawasaki in the highly-competitive British Superbike Championship with the PR Racing Team. But again, there were crashes to contend with, “and a number of small injuries”, and points were hard to come by. Jed managed to sign a contract with the Wilbers Racing Team to race a superbike in the IDM. But after a big crash during testing in Spain, he parted ways with Wilbers and returned to Australia and Race Center – where he resumed race builds and sales of prime suspension products.
“I wanted to buy a house and start a family, but I soon realised that wasn’t going to happen on a salary from selling suspensions,” says Jed. That was when the idea was born for Metcher Motorsports, his own company specialising in coaching and suspensions, but also running a race team – an idea that blossomed when he met a promising young Kiwi rider called Caleb Gilmore.
Together with Caleb and the South Australian Ty Lynch, Jed started his own race team in 2019, with him riding a Yamaha R1 in the Superbikes, and Ty on an R6 and Caleb on an R3 in the Supersport competition. The trio saw some success between 2019 and 2022, although COVID ultimately prevented Caleb from crossing the Tasman – leaving Jed and Ty to race without him.
COVID would have been a time of sustained disappointment had Jed not met Adam Wilson, who’d recently joined Savic Motorcycles to help with the assembly of our second production prototype. Between lockdowns, Jed managed to sit down with Dennis and Adam to discuss ways of strengthening the suspension of the front-heavy C-Series.
Apart from bonding over their shared obsession with the perfect suspension, Jed says the Savic Motorcycles team immediately won him over with their resolute commitment to designing a rider-friendly vehicle.
“There are so many road bikes out there that are well-known and beautiful bikes, but are scary and unstable when you get up speed,” he says. “The Savic Motorcycles team have always been determined that the C-Series won’t be like that.
“If you really love something it totally engulfs you, and that’s what’s happened with these guys. They all share Dennis’s dream to build a bike that everyone will want to ride, and they know that the suspension is one of the most important things to keep riders safe and comfortable.”
Since 2020, Jed has spent countless hours testing and tweaking and retesting the suspension of the C-Series, and he says that when they came to the recent road tests on Yarra Boulevard – “the first real shakedown” – he knew they were winning the war.
“I felt that 90% of what we’d planned was coming true,” he says. “A year ago, the bike was still front-heavy and unstable, but after redesigning the front end, extending the forks, and raising the clearance, we’re absorbing the bumps and providing a much smoother ride. I knew it would be better – but I didn’t realise we’d solve so many of these issues in one go.
“There are a lot of famous road bikes that don’t have the handling and stability of the C-Series. I’m now confident that our suspension is going to be better than many of our competitors.”
Jed says he’s looking forward to a long and very stable partnership with the Savic Motorcycles team. “After we’ve nailed the C-Series, I can’t wait to move onto the other models – which already look pretty exciting,” he says. “I’ve become good friends with several members of the Savic team, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!”
Right back at you, Jed.