How I met Ago on my first bike… aged seven
And these days the rider runs Accrington Stanley FC
One for your series on people with their first bikes, this was my first bike – at just seven years old. It was a homemade racing machine fitted with a 32cc Cyclemaster engine. I even had a John Cooper ‘mooneyes’ helmet!
My father took me to the Isle of Man TT in 1969 where I met Giacomo Agostini and took my bike through the ‘weigh in’ with his MV Agusta. As you can see, the meeting with Ago made the press with me described as the ‘Clitheroe Kid’ and my dad quoted as saying: “I brought him to the island last year and he’s never forgotten it, so I just had to bring him again.”
I went on to passenger John Holden at the 1988 and 1989 TT, finishing fourth in Sidecar Formula 2 class both years.
David P Burgess, Managing Director, Accrington Stanley FC Ed: What a brilliant experience!
Remaining loyal to MV
What a sad state of affairs the way some MV Agusta owners have been treated by dealers who are now out of business (MCN, February 8).
As another business owner and MV dealer it seems hard for me to swallow that dealers could behave like this, no matter how difficult their own financial circumstances. I would like to bring your readers’ attention to the other side of the MV Agusta story though: notwithstanding the issues you raised and the factory’s own financial woes.
The past year was very difficult for all MV dealers with the fallout of the deteriorating relationship between MV and AMG Mercedes who still own 25% of the company. What remains is a network of 10 financially strong dealers, none of whom, as far as I know is entirely dependent on MV.
Most of us are still committed to the MV Agusta brand despite the trauma; largely because, like our customers, we are enthusiasts and you just cannot take away from MV the desirability of the machines they build.
By the end of February last year we had sold more MV Agustas than either Suzukis or Kawasakis, the other two manufacturers that we deal with. In the meantime the rest of 2016 was almost written off due to the fight between MV and AMG, although they continued to support us with spares and warranty issues. Like most enthusiasts we hope that the latest news from Varese will manifest in a much improved 2017.
We are still taking delivery of new bikes and are also committed to a substantial stand space at the Carole Nash MCN Scottish Motorcycle show in Edinburgh on March 11-12, largely in order to display our new MVS.
We don’t have a crystal ball, but like the factory we remain enthusiastic about the bikes and committed to the brand. Paul Weinberger, Cupar Motorcycles, Fife
Ongoing mid-life crisis
Having recently fallen back in love with biking again after 20 years away, I treated myself to a Honda CB1000R. And what a tool it is. Mine is already stacked with a host of extras including tail tidy, Puig screen, gunfighter seat and an Ixil slip-on end can for that lovely bark.
Touring, scratching or pootling, it does it all. I enjoyed a number of A272 blasts last year and sat comfortably in the wake of the speed merchants up to Loomies café no problem. Cracking fun!
Could it be my age or a slightly distorted view through my rose-tinted visor? Suddenly I have the urge to do a trackday although don’t tell the missus, she’ll think the mid-life crisis is ongoing! Mark Sibun, email
Britain’s best truck fitter
On hearing that Guy Martin will be racing this year – and a shock to us all, after he said he wasn’t going to race again – I’d like to say life is one big ride and full of surprises, you never know what’s round the corner.
So good luck Guy, as he says himself he’s just a mechanic from Grimsby who loves riding his bike. So take a step back and put yourself in his boots, give him some space to get on with it. Louise Cullen, Wirral
Give air ambulance a lift
I was pleased to read your Letter of the Week (We should give Air Ambulances a lift, 11 January) and to learn that Wales Air Ambulance was able to save the life of Gail Bennett’s husband Philip.
Your readers may be interested to hear that last year Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance attended 712 missions, 5% of which were as a result of motorcycle incidents. It costs in excess of £9000 a day to maintain our life-saving service, and we receive no Government or National Lottery funding for routine operations. Alex Lochrane, CEO, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance
Honda need top riders
So Honda approach 2017 with a new Fireblade, an exciting prospect with massive potential. Looking back at last year we see that the old Blade was showing its age, in BSB, WSB, and on the roads.
My big question is this: have the respective teams got the right riders on their bikes? This could be the big year, the chance to put the Blade back on top. But, to beat the Kwak and Ducatis in BSB and WSB it’s going to take some pretty hellish riding
Honda should have gone out and grabbed some big names, like they did on the roads project. Getting Guy Martin back was a massive move. Leon Dempsey, email
Test ride trouble
In the market for a used commuter, I had £4500 and permission from she who must be obeyed to buy and house a second bike. Result. My bike of choice was a low-mileage Honda Deauville.
So, armed with my cash and search results from the internet, I went off to three dealers in West Yorkshire. Surely any one of these would gladly relieve me of my cash. Wrong. The first two said they didn’t offer test rides and the third said they would but then they couldn’t find the keys. My Deauville search continues! John Driscoll, email
Join us at the 59
I wish to thank you for such a brilliant article about The 59 Club. It’s both the members support and the volunteers’ hard work which has kept The 59 Club and its ethos going for so long. If anyone wants to get involved, our contact email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The inset picture was not Father Bill Shergold but Father Graham Hullett, who worked alongside Father Bill in the early years of the Club. Sandra Hall, 59 Club
‘As Guy says, he’s just a mechanic from Grimsby who loves riding his bike’
is a big supporter of Guy Martin Truck fitter, mechanic, pro racer – Louise Cullen