Tributes pour in for Busselton Black Dog rider

Local legend: Busselton Black Dog Rider Les James tragically died in a motorcycle crash on Monday whilst taking part in a leg of the ride.

Local legend: Busselton Black Dog Rider Les James tragically died in a motorcycle crash on Monday whilst taking part in a leg of the ride.

TRIBUTES have poured in for well-known Busselton community member Les James after he tragically passed away on Monday morning. 

The 57-year-old’s motorcycle collided with a truck on Geraldton-Mount Magnet Road while on the ride at 9.40am about 30 kilometres from Mullewa.

Black Dog Ride founder Steve Andrews paid tribute to Mr James after the tragic incident.

“Les was a mate, he was a dedicated Black Dog Rider and he was one of the world’s true gentlemen,” he said.

“His enthusiastic support of our cause knew no bounds and rubbed off on those around him.

Mr Andrews said an example of this was Mr James’ idea to get the Freemasons Lodge involved in the production of a Black Dog Ride support trailer.

Soon after he had the support of other lodges in the district and staff and prisoners at the Bunbury Regional Prison.

The result was a trailer which Mr Andrews said was a real asset to the Black Dog Rides.

The Black Dog Ride has been raising awareness of depression and suicide since its inaugural ride in 2009, a cause close to Mr James’ heart.

“A humble, quiet man, Les sought no fame or glory – he just got on with the job of supporting a cause which he was passionate about,” Mr Andrews said.

“Les, I will miss our chats and our rides together. Ride on buddy.”

Mr Andrews said the Black Dog Ride around Australia and the connected State rides will continue the mission which Mr James and his fellow riders started, in his memory.

South West residents have paid tribute to Mr James following his tragic passing. They offered condolences to his family and described him as a man who was a great friend, had a big heart and will be sorely missed.


One of nature’s true gentleman, a dedicated Freemason always thinking of others less fortunate. He will be very sadly missed and never forgotten.

Paul Powell, DGIW (Freemasons WA)

When you stand together in the face of fire, it creates a bond that holds deeper than most. Your spirit will always shine in the beacons of our truck as we race to save the day, your smile reflected in blackened mirrors, and your laugh in our blazing sirens. Ride on for eternity, Les.

The crew of Sussex Volunteer Bushfire Brigade

A very sad day to learn about Les's passing.  He went doing something he believed in deeply and that he was on a mission to help others is not surprising.  He had a massive heart. To Rhonda and his family our deepest condolences.

Marnie and Kim Davis

Les we were only sitting and talking to you last week about cars. You were always there for me when I needed help and you were a great friend. We had fun, laughs, jokes and serious talks. You will be sadly missed. My sympathies to his wife and family.

Linda James

Deepest sympathy to Rhonda, Patrick and Michael on your sad loss. Les James was a sincere, honest and kind person. I have bought many of cars through Les including my first ever car. A great man taken way too early. You will be sadly missed. RIP Les James.

Frank, Lyla, Darrin and Leanne Douglas.

I too am one that did not know him as well as I would have liked but what I do know is that he was a genuine bloke with a good heart and a kind spirit. He would often help those without questioning the why and truly loved his family and this town he called home. We as a community have lost more than what many will ever know we have in the passing of Les and are that much poorer for it. For an example of his giving nature and kind spirit you look no further than to what he was doing upon his untimely demise - raising awareness of a tragic condition and consequence of depression for those less fortunate than himself. R.I.P. Les. Sadly missed, never forgotten. 

Adam Van Nellestyn 

The Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades offers its heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and community colleagues of Les James on news of his tragic passing. Mr James will be remembered for the enormous contribution he made to his local community in many roles including the Lieutenant of the Sussex Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade in the City of Busselton. 

From your extended family in the Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades

Deepest Sympathies to Rhonda, Michael, Pat and all the James’ family. I had the great pleasure of working closely with Les on the door at the pub and he always managed to put a smile on my face with his stories. He warmed my heart with his constant concerns for my welfare and we would always laugh about being the "odd couple" when working together. It is ironic to have news circulating of Robin Williams succumbing to depression at the same time as my dear friend loses his life raising awareness for the very cause on the Black Dog Ride that he was looking forward to for so long. The South West has lost a true community supporter. RIP Les- you leave a long & wide path of saddened people behind with nothing but great memories of the true, kindhearted, Aussie bloke that you were. We will miss you sorely.

Jade Mason and family

Our sincerest condolences to Rhonda, Patrick and Michael on the sad loss of your wonderful husband and father. Les was an inspirational man with a huge heart ready to help anybody. He was a very special friend to us both and he will always hold a special place in our hearts. Ride free with the angels Les, your memories will live on forever.

Geoff and Kerri Atkinson

I purchased my first car when I was a teen from Les James at a local car yard roughly 20 years ago. One of his fellow workmates had convinced me to look at cars way over my budget which was certainly not my intention at the time. Young and naive I was almost convinced to buy a brand new car with a massive price tag.  Les had overheard the conversations between his co- worker and myself and as soon as he had the opportunity he took myself and my dear Grandma who was helping me aside and showed us a great little car that he assured me was in good condition and was the most sensible purchase for me at the time regardless of the fact that he wasn’t going to make much out of the sale. We took his word for it as he seemed so genuine. He still let his co-worker make the sale and of course earn the commission therefore everyone was happy. A sacrifice not many people would make. Sure enough the little car was an absolute pearler that I never had a problem with. I always admired him from that day on for being so honest and not chasing the big commission. He also remembered me from that day and we often stopped for a chat with him asking after my Grandma and how the car was going. He really was a true gentleman. Such a sad, sad loss. Sincere Condolences to all family and friends. May he ride on in your hearts.

Cassy Longfield

Les has been working with us at The Pourhouse since December last year. We are shocked and devastated by the news. Les will be severely missed; he was a true gentleman, always polite and welcoming to all our customers young and old alike. We'll miss you Les.

Justin Rees 

We would like to pass on our sincerest condolences to Les James' family and close friends. We are all shocked to hear of his passing. Such a gentleman who was so generous with his time as a volunteer in the community. R.I.P. Les. 

Gary, Mandy and Jason

To all the Black Dog crew, friends and family. Thought I did not know Les James, a fellow brother in the craft what a wonderful man to share life and the darkest days a man can have to others. Rest in peace. 

C.A North fellow Black Dog Rider 

RIP Les mate. Many happy memories of rides with girls and The Black Dog Ride to Alice Springs last year.

Colin and Kathy Spark

Les James will be remembered in my heart for many reasons.  Firstly he was a local businessman and a gentleman who was kind and generous in nature and also worked tirelessly in the community with his involvement in such things as The Black Dog Ride and The Freemasons.  He always put 100 per cent effort into everything he did especially when it was for a good cause.  Secondly, I was very privileged to have the opportunity and purchased Les’ previous pride and joy being a Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Motorcycle in December last year.  This motorcycle was ridden by him last year on The Black Dog Ride throughout Australia and to The Alice Springs.  I now feel a certain connection to him whenever I ride this beautiful bike.  My thoughts are with his Family and Friends.  Les touched hearts on many levels and will always be remembered fondly by all.

Matthew Macauley

To leave a condolence email tasha.campbell@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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