At last there are signs of economic recovery, house prices starting to go up, building work recommencing, and exciting new models arriving in our showrooms. The all new MT-09 has been well received, and we currently have a waiting list for two of the colours, the demo bike has been well used already.
As I write this, the Sun is shining and the sky is blue, and after torrential rain in the past few days we definately need it.
The racing Season is at an end for Team Flitwick, and we are chuffed to bits that
our boy Olie took the Classic TT 500 class win, breaking the lap and race record for the class in the process previously held by Ryan Farquhar.
The winning bike, complete with Winners Garland is now on display in our showrooms- make sure you drop in for a coffee and see it, still sporting the Isle of man flys picked up at 147 mph through the Sulby speed trap....
Sometimes life is tough though. my beloved Mother in law Else is losing the fight against pulmonary Fibrosis, and myself and our Family are all doing our best to make her last days comfortable as possible. So if Steve or I are not here, or seem a little distracted when you see us please forgive us, its nothing personal.
On that note, sometimes we can't always give you what you want, even with the best will in the world.
A case in point is MOT tests, where there are strict rules as to what can and can't be passed. One of the bones of contention is often the exhaust fitted. The rules state that the pipes must be BS stamped, and that they should not produce "excessive noise". We are often asked whether louder pipes will pass, and we always offer to listen in advance of the test, and for our MOT tester to say if it will likely fail or pass in his opinion regarding noise.The problem is that in recent months we are having an increasing number of bike owners that will not accept our Testers opinion, and get frankly abusive when told the machine will fail. This is embarrassing for our staff, and frankly unacceptable. In addition we have had abusive comment or "ratings" on our facebook page from some of these individuals, and their friends, who aren't even bikers, and have not even set foot in our shop! It's all too easy to tell porky pies when you sit behind a keyboard, without thought as to the consequences of those untrue posts- but those that do usually get there come uppance- what goes around comes around as s they say...So for those few of you that might have seen posts saying we are homephobic, predudice, and try to charge for repairs that are not needed, dont believe any of it- it's just NOT TRUE.
As an MOT test station, we are often audited and observed by VOSA, and we would likely lose our MOT testing station licence should we be seen to break the rules- so we really have no choice that to do the job correctly.
So as I said, with the best will in the World, you cant ALWAYS get what you want....
Best wishes, and see you all soon.....
I can't believe it's February already, I must be getting old as it hardly seems five minutes since we were eating the Christmas Turkey.We are now gearing up to the start of the racing and biking Season- new stock arriving daily, and race plans coming together.
Olie will be competing in a mix of short circuit races, both modern and Classic, and hopefullt the three big Road races, plus the Manx- budget allowing.
It's getting even harder to find Sponsors willing to back racing, things are tough out there,
and we were lucky to have additional support in 2012 in the form of Regal Leisure, from Northern Ireland- who helped with the expense of the North West 200 and the Ulster GP, but unfortunately they do not have the budget this year to assist- so Olie is frantically trying to find an additional sponsor to help make up the shortfall.
So if ther's anyone out there wanting to get involved get in touch- you will be very welcome.
The new "Mission Rossi" Bridgstone campaign was launched this week, kicking off with a video launched on You Tube- if you look closely you can see that the Shop chosen by Ethe man in Yellow" was Flitwick, your favourite Yamaha Dealer- , and also stars Saul... check out the video under our news section.
See you all soon.
What a difference a week makes- today the Sun's out, its well above freezing, and there is not a trace of snow to be found here in Bedfordshire. Great biking weather e again, so no excuses: get out and enjoy it!
We're nearly into February now, and we are getting new 2013 products arriving daily, check out the new clothing and helmets available in store, and the 2013 new Yamahas' are also hitting our showroom as we speak- the R6and RI are here now, and the all new FJR1300 is arriving imminently. With the low rate Yamaha finance options and reduced retail prices on many models, why not give Saul or Richard a ring to see what we can offer you?
It's not often I update this blog now, but as it's a new year, and there's yet again snow on the ground, I thought I would check in and say hi.
Its difficult to believe that we are in our 4th year of reccession, and its fair to say that the motorcycle world has not been immune to the effects it has had. Less money in the pocket, unemployment and job uncertainty has made our glorious passion one that is considered a luxury rather than a nescessity. In the motorcycle racing world we've seen many an established team pack up shop, with major sponsors tightening their belts and pulling out those much needed funds- times they are a changing.
There's one thing I learnt when my Dad went- lifes too bl**dy short not to do what makes you happy- time waits for no Man (or Women) and your a long time dead.So if you are thinking of getting a bike, but holding back to protect your savings, my advise to you is go for it- there's plenty of time for the pipe and slippers later in life.....
I wish you a happy new year, and suggest you get your arses in here soon, we make the best coffee in Flitwick- and it's free!!
Well, as you can see, I failed yet again to update this blog, last post was 02.08.11.
In defence however I have some reasonable excuse in that my Father became very ill suddenly in August, and sadly lost his fight against Cancer mid September. So the past three months have been a tad difficult to say the least.
Dad was a true motorcyclist most of his life- he never owned a car, preferring to travel by bike up until his mid 70's, when an accident saw him finally give up riding. I guess I got my love of bikes from him- one of my first memories is riding on the back of his beloved vincent when I was about four- no one worried about 'elf and safety in those days! He was a great Man, and I will miss him forever.
Back in the motorcycling world, things are still ticking over, and lucky for us there are those that still want to get their leg over a Yamaha or quality used bike. October was reasonably brisk, helped I am sure by the sudden heat wave, although its turned chilly again now.
There are still some great deals on new Yamaha's, some of which finish in the next week, some continue until December- so make sure you don't miss out.
Olie finished his race season last weekend at Snetterton, riding the SMV Yamaha YZF-R6 to take 4 wins, the first short circuit racing he's done since 2008- a great finish to a year of recovery following his BIG off at the manx in 2010, and a day at the time we never thought we'd see again- he is now turning his mind to plans for next year- we will keep you posted.
This week-end sees many fireworks and fires, to celebrate yet again the baulking of Guy Fawkes plot to blow up parliment. There are many of us that wish he'd succeeded !
See you all soon.....
Must try harder to update this blog- time seems to be more of an issue than it used to be.
Despite the hot weather the bike trade is still slow, but the good news for you is that there are many bargains to be had.
We try very hard to keep our customers happy, and think we get it right a lot of the time (but were not perfect) and therefore we were delighted to become Yamaha UK Master of Customer care in 2010, an award for the highest score in the customer satisfaction surveys sent out at six month intervals- so thanks, it means a lot to us.
However that didn't stop some irate person posting a short abusive note through our door yesterday. Now we have been closed on a Monday for the past 20 years, advertise this extensively, its on our website, our door, on our answerphone message etc. We close Sundays and Mondays to let our valued staff (and ourselves) have a life, and ensure we smile sweetly at you on Tuesdays. However, this person obviously doesn't check any of the above opening hour info areas, as the message went like this:
"YOU ARE A WASTE OF SPACE. YOU WASTED MY F**KING FUEL DRIVING TO YOU ON MONDAY WHEN YOU ARE SHUT"
Helpfully, and to our amusement it was signed with what we assume is their name, for future reference, as shown below
Says it all really doesn't it....but I can't help feeling it was them who wasted their fuel....
Since I last posted, Olie has got his road licence back, has raced home and abroad, and is heading across to Ireland for his first road race since the Manx accident - the Ulster Grand prix.He's riding the SMV R6, a 125 and 250 kindly on load, and the enfield in the classic.
After a highside on the enfield earlier in the year, due to a mechanical problem, he decided to sit out the season until he was fit, so Monza was his first modern race back.
15th March 2011
Well, it's been a long time since I updated this blog, with a lot happening during that period. I am sure mose of you will know that our Son Olie had a really bad crash during the Manx grand prix last year, spending 37 days in hospital as a result.
His recovery has been good, I am glad to report, although he still has some residual memory issues, which are improving all the time.
We were back on the island last week-end to visit out good friend Steve Bond, and relax in better circumstances than the last time we visited. Although the weather was inclement, we had a great time, with Steve, our good friends Janet and Merv, and Olie joined us.
We visited the scene of Olies accident at Bishopscourt. The experience was emotional for all of us. You could clearly see the grooves in the road where the bike slid, and paint markings from the bike and Olies helmet on the kerbing. The trees and bushes still have clear bike damage where he bashed against them. We also saw a pile of latex medical gloves, which had clearly been used whilst the medics stabilised Olie at the scene. Finally, we fould small pieces of "Rolling thunders" fairing just to prove it had been there.
I had a little weep, then we took pics of Olie near the Bishopscourt sign, so he will be updating you shortly.
Both Olie and other Son David are racing the week-end 26-27th March at Mallory with the classic motorcycle club. It will be olies first time racing since the crash, so I am very nervous.
Will update you soon..
Got back yesterday from the North West 200, had a good time with good company and reasonable race results. Du to fly back though, with Easy Jet- but the volcanic ash situation meant my flight was cancelled.
So the trip, instead of car to airport, fly pick up from luton, home- 3 hours in total went like this:
Blag a lift with Phil Milligan and the lovely Sue to the airport in their hire car.
Drop off car, taxi to ferry port in Belfast
Ferry to Stranraer Scotland!
Coach from Stranraer to Carlisle
Miss the last Train so...
Grotty Bed and Breakfast in probably the noisiest and most run down Hotel in the street
Next morning taxi to 2nd car hire office
Car to Bedford
Picked up by Steve
Total 25 hours after flight was due....So by my reckonig, Esy jet owes me 22 hours of my life, and around £156.00
Now, where's that claim form?
Just back from a fantastic Easter week-end with the family, at the start of the Racing Season. All three of my men were racing, and between them they clocked up 11 wins, and Olie and David are leading two of the CRMC championships- great start!
The season kicks off proper for Olie at Scarborough, Sunday 18th, when he'll be riding his all new Yamaha R1 superbike for the first time- scary stuff! Steves also got a ride on the Flitwick FZR400, he's still chasing signatures for his Manx course licence!
It was great to see David get his first two wins at Pembrey, we were all so pleased, and it's good for Bob, his sponsor to see some results.
As I'm typing this the sun is shining outside, and the phones been busy with bikes getting there bikes back on the road.
So the election road show has finally started in earnest- and already I'm fed up of the constant banging on about why I should "vote for us". Well, I vote that we kick the lot out, and start afresh- our countries in a mess, and frankly it will take more than a few empty promises to sort it.
See you soon.x
Well it's been a long time since I've put a post up here, so new year, Nearly Spring and- here goes!
It's fair to say that 2009 was one on the most challenging years of our time in the business. The economy, cr*ap Weather, and spiralling prices meant that many Motorcyclists were being super cautious when it came to spending on their motorcyling "hobby".
2010 is a new era, and the Suns shining today, and it is SO good to see so many making the trip to see us here in little old Flitwick.
We are excitedly looking forward to the promised "BBQ Summer" thats predicted, and know that you too will be hoping to get out there and ride again.
If you need new kit, dont forget to claim you 10% Yamaha discount(see the home page for full details) no need to pay more than you need to.
Was watching the Budget details with interest today, and sadly no real news to shout about as far as I can see- unless your a first time buyer of course! Sprapping the tax relief on pensions is just another reason to spend it on a bike as far as I'm concerned though, and with the 0% On key Yamahas we can offer a deal- so forget the chanceller and get on a shiny new Yam- Life's just too damned short to worry about when your old and crusty!
Check out the racing news to see what Team Flitwick Plans are for this Season- kicks off next month, and we can't wait.
Finally, get in a take a demo ride soon, Yamaha are giving away a t shirt, DVD and free entry in to a draw for tickets for the GP, just for the pl4easure of your views on their Bikes- and as usual we're giving away the best Coffee in Flitwick- so no excuses!!
See you all soon x
What a week. Now I am a snow hater, only enjoying it if I cann look out of the window, whilst sipping a hot drink, by a roaring fire. So the extreme Weather of last week was not my cup of Tea at all. With a number of our staff living some way away, in remote country villages, it was a blessing we were open at all!
Charles, or Chief Tech deserves a medal for making it to Yamaha two days in a row, for the R1 and other new model technical training. Mark Steve and I drew the short straw, as we all live close by, so no excuses!
We did, strangly enough manage to take four bike orders, so it was not all doom and gloom.
What a comparison with Australia- temperatures of 47 degrees and fires blazing. Wayne, our ex stores man is only some 20 miles away, and is definately feeling the heat!
The all new R1 is receiving rave reviews, and we can't wait for the first to arrive, Charles and Kev are wowed over with the quality and sound, following their Yam courses, and Charles recons we only have to start one up, and you'll be there with your orders!
Roll on February, and Spring! Despite all the doom and gloom, Asda announced 7000 new jobs today, we'll everyone has to eat, don't they? Joking aside it goes to show that there is still some good news, and not every trade is suffering. Our January has been patchy, but we've matched last years bike sales, and Jan 2008 was up on 2007, so it goes to show that Bikers are still out there.
What a fuss this week in the House of "Lords". The day the Hereditary Lords House was opened up to anyone who sucked up to the Labour party was in my opinion the thin end of the wedge. At least if the title was passed on, generally they were monied people, who had no need or desire to make a fast buck- although £120 K for bu***r all is definately not good value in my humble opinion!
Our man FRASER and the Emporor's of Soul have been voted out, but well done for trying- now what about a bit of entertainment here in not so Sunny Flitwick, to cheer us all up?
Have no idea where the past two weeks have gone, they seem to have flown by! On a positive note we are now much nearer to sorting out Olies race plans for this season, having got some assistance from Yamaha to enable the purchase of a new R1 and R6, for Superstock and Supersport classes. The R6 arrived today, so we are now starting the conversion/tuning process.
Managed to pull my back on Sunday- no idea how, but it was very painful. Today almost okay, thank God!
Currently watching the Eurovision auditions on BBC1, as one of the Emperor's of Soul is local to us, and a customer- so come on Fraser, we're rooting for you!
I am sick and tired of hearing how this "government" (and I use the term VERY loosly) intends to spend our cash- we are now to guarantee the Toxic loans that the Banks have on their books. My view is that it's like ensuring that they only have a win, Win trading prospect. If I make a mistake in Business, it's my error, and my loss- I don't see me getting a "get out of jail free" card. Enough's enough, I'm bored with it now.
So I am going to apply for an interest free loan, never to be repaid, to cover my loss of profits for the past few years, due to the cr*p way in which the economy has been handled, which has affected each and every one of us- any-one take a bet whether I'll get it?
Could not believe my eyes yesterday, when I looked out to see everything white, and quite heavy snow still falling. It was also ****ing freezing out there!
The upside is that its nearly 4 pm, and still quite light outside- roll on the spring!
The last of the Woolies stores close today, including Dunstable. I am strangly sad about it- my first Saturday job at 15 was in the Dunstable store, my job was topping up the light bulbs. I suppose it was never going to be a long time career- the stores are going, and normal light bulbs will be a thing of the past by the year 2010- so just as well I got into the bike business instead!
Well, back to work now, and probably at least half a stone heavier. Daren't get on the scales to check. I'd like to blame it on the horrible cold I had over Christmas stopping me exercising, but the truth is I pigged out and drank too much, so it serves me right!
The new year seems to have brought a bit of optimism back- have been fairly busy at work (for January) and it's nice to see some oldfaces again ( in fact any faces at all!).
Interesting as to what will happen at BSB and the rest of the Bike racing this coming season- there's a lot less money out there for sponsorship, and I think the grids will be emptier as as result. We are still struggling to get extra sponsors on board for Olie, but have agreed to purchase an R1 superbike, so that's a start.
My bad luck on the duplicate pressie front continued- I got THREE bottles of Ginger wine*, and two more duplicate books, also got the same toy for my Niece that my Sister got her- so vouchers all the way next year!
Wayne came back just before Xmas, very homesick and missing his other half Michelle- at the mo we've no idea if he's staying or going- will keep you posted.
Meantime happy new year- catch you later!
*(NOTE- i AM NOT AN ALKI)
Can't believe Christmas is nearly here- working to 12.30 today then off until 30th.
Yesterday was a bit manic in the shop, wide eyed panickey buyers doing last minute shopping, with Jules giving here Christmas wrapping service with glee!
Steve is back from Hospital after having some of the pins removed from his foot, and hobbling abvout with a stick- however he is still intent on going on the Boxing day Vintage run on one of the enfields if he can!
Have a great time over X'mas.
Don't know where the time has gone, 10 days since I posted. We had our works Christmas party last Saturday, fancy dress, Turkey Dinner, Disco, and lots of Drink. A bit surreal dining with Shrek, Tweetie Pie, the Pope, Robin hood and other assorted gangsters and Molls, but good fun! Have managed all the shopping now, but haven't started wrapping, and only six days to go- best make a start then!
Olies racing plans for 2009 are still very much up in the air- the offers hes had are just not in our budget, so it's likely that he will scale down next season, concentrating on the Road racing, although there are a few other interesting options in the offing. Meantime Ian has signed "Iceman" Mats Nillsen for the roads next year- no room for three in his awning, so Olie is definately not riding with Team Black Horse on the roads. Will keep you informed when we have a clearer picture of what's the crack.
Who saw the footage of the "infamous" shoe and ex-president" incident? One of the funniest things I have seen recently, and definately made me smile! Must say that the way Bush dodged the first shoe tells me that something similar has happened before- his reaction time was amazing!
Went Christmas shopping today, to be honest without much enthusiasm- but as it's only a couple of weeks off thought I had at least to start!
Met my Sister, her Husband and my Baby Niece in Town for a Coffee and catch up,which was great. Heather went to change the Baby, and I asked Ali what I could get her, he suggested a new Book out, which I got.
It's my Birthday tomorrow so after I dropped them home, Heather handed me a Birthday bag. Got home, peaked inside, and guess what? the same book!. To cap it all Olie got home, laughed, then realised it's the exact same book he's got me for my Birthday as well! So now I can read it in triplicate.
Well, got back from the show last night, and to be honest was a bit dissapointed!
Somehow the razzmataz and buzz that is normally apparent seemed to be missing.
There were definately less stands- the big ones were well laid out, but there wasn't a single big clothing company represented, and everything was in two halls, but still with plenty of room!
Some interesting announcements on the Black Horse stage ref TT- Michael Dunlpo will be riding the new Norton in the senior, and there will be Championship points up for grabs for the 2009 meeting.
Sat on the new Suzuki
Gladius 650 an it was claiming to be very low, and with a narrow frame/seat. At only 5' 2" its a major problem for me to reach the ground on most 600's, unfortunately I couldnt reach the ground at all- so not very low! In fact I sat on theYamaha 600 unfaired Diversion, and that was far, far lower!
Met up with various Race faces, as Olie was with us trying to tie up loose ends, and nothing is sorted yet. Ian was in the dog house with Jo, having had a "good" night at the Hotel the night before, he was, shall we say just a tad fragile!
With all the doom, gloom and despondancy, I was pleasantly surprised at the optimism shown yesterday by other Yamaha dealers at the "dealer council" meeting Steve and I attended. The general view is that we are all experiencing tougher times, but that Biking in general is still viewed as something to look forward to, not something we all have to do. With some great new models showing from tommorrow at the NEC bIke show, I are confident that biking will still be one of the things to do in 2009.
Mixed feeling on "Laughing boy" Browns"save the country" reduction in Vat- hanging out a sign outside your shop at this time of the year, saying Sale starts 1st December, 2.2% off just doesn't seem to light my fire somehow!
Olie has had a couple of good offers for next years racing season, but raising the budget required for the rides is even more difficult this year, so we are desperately trying to find some investors who can see the value of being involved.All teams require input either from own funds or Sponsors, unless your Rossi and co!
Good news for Team Black-Horse Yamaha, who've just signed Conor Cummins to ride at BSB Superstock 1000 for 2009, with his potential clear to see at the recent Macau GP, it's a smart move by team Boss Ian.
Wayne, our parts Guru leaves us tommorrow to fly to Sunny Australia, and take up his new life. He's been with us since he was a teenager, and I remember his first bike on the road at 16- how time flies. We will be sorry to see him go, but wish him well.
It's good to hear that there are still some kind hearted souls out there. A gentleman Friend of ours, of advanced years, who wears an old despatch riders original coat when out on his bike, was in a supermarket the other day. He was looking at the Trout, and was clearly heard by a couple alongside to say "can't afford that" as he walked away. A few minutes later, he was startled to feel a hand in his outer top pocket- just as a £5.00 note was tucked in! Embarrased, our intrepid Friend scuttled out as fast as he could, he just could not bring himself to tell them that he was a bit wealthier than he looked!!
Back on Friday with news from the show.