Born on the east coast of Yorkshire and with a Father that was a construction engineer in the petrol chemical industry who tinkered with cars, I guess it was written in the stars that I would head into the engineering field in some way.
On leaving school I started a 2 year engineering course at Scarborough Technical College, Two years on I decided, possibly with a little parental encouragement, that maybe it was time to join the real world and get a “proper” job, and was successful in securing a mechanical apprenticeship in HM Naval Dockyard Portsmouth, Four years later I received my indentures as a Fitter turner.
The writing was on the wall for the dockyard, government cut backs and the like, so into the commercial environment I ventured, starting as a Draughtsmen for a subsidiary of Westland Helicopters, FPT industries. I had a number of positions within the company finally finishing up in the Quality control department as Deputy Chief Inspector, this position meant I came in contact with customers and led to a major change in direction, sales. Whether this career change was the right choice could be argued but like people say if you don’t try you will never know.
So of I went a wet behind the ears sales man for Colt international selling spiral staircases, how different can you get, a management buyout and the uncertainty of what might happen prompted a further change, still in sales but selling handmade tiles and natural stone flooring, yes I know how do you get from naval ships to selling ceramic tiles but life is like that. This eventually led to me going into partnership with an old friend and setting up our own tile import and distribution company.
We now roll on 17 years, the handmade ceramics took a major dive due to two factors, one the economic climate meant people did not have the disposable income to buy the high end products we marketed and two a total, and almost overnight change in the market to straight flat contemporary designs, our specialist market was in the handmade rustic look. Our major factory was also based in Zimbabwe and the political climate was not to healthy. I opted to leave the partnership and open my own shop.
Two years later I had major problems with my back resulting in me spending a significant amount of time bedridden and unable to open the shop. The shop had to go but as I got better I carried on running the business from home, manly supplying specialist stone flooring to the swimming pool industry. Then another twist in the career path, following a couple of emails and discussions with the former owner of Bournemouth Bantams, it turned out he was looking to sell the business (Kevin having retired to France) so two weeks later I was on a Ferry to France to collect the stock and do the deal, that was at the end of 2011 and to be honest I don’t think I have ever been happier, the majority of the people I come into contact with are passionate about their bikes and often the telephone conversations become quite protracted, but hey that is part of the fun of running old vehicles.
I have a close working relationship with the British Two Stroke Club and currently serve on the committee and act as the dating officer for the club helping members reclaim or reregister their bikes.