KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY
Andy, Alan and Heidi are a formidable team. Alan has been into bikes for as long as he can remember and Andy followed him. When Andy and Heidi got together, she soon fell under the spell of old bikes too, learning to ride and passing her test on a 1974 Suzuki TS125L – restored by the Baldwin/ Cockerton team, naturally.
“It all started with a Suzuki T500 I bought to ride to a bike show in Kent back in 1992,” Andy reveals. “The kickstart pawl broke – it meant an engine strip to repair it. We’d noticed that people were starting to restore Japanese bikes by then, so we decided to go the whole hog and restore the bike, rather than just repair it. We got it to what we thought was a pretty good state and took it to the BMF Rally in 1993. They just laughed at us, but that just made us determined to go back and win the thing with one of our own restorations.”
Alan bought a Kawasaki S3A and the team restored that, winning their class at the Wimbotsham Show in 1993. A Kawasaki H1 followed, then that TS125 for Heidi. It proved to be the bike that made good on their vow, winning the BMF Rally concours in 1997. Since then, the trio have won countless awards for their stunning restos, including the big one – best in show at Stafford with their Suzuki T10 in 2000, an S32 in 2004 and,most recently, an ultra-rare K11T in 2016. It’s been a long, hard road.
“I handle more of the work now I’m retired,” smiles Alan. “I was a fabricator by trade and I taught Andy and Heidi. I can make most things. Andy tackles most polishing, Heidi does a lot of decal and graphic work, though she rebuilt the engine on a Suzuki Stinger we did.”
Along the way, the team have bought out three Suzuki dealers’ parts stocks and have built the collection up to 33 bikes at the last count. They’ve also managed to find the time from somewhere to build and run two GSX-R racers at the Classic TT – and there are still a few more ’60s Suzuki restos in the pipeline. Where will it all end? It won’t for a while,” laughs Andy. “We all love what we do.”