AN AROMA OF MOTORCYCLES
When you walk into the premises the aroma of motorcycling, where old meets new, is something that wants bottling up and selling, and I was genuinely surprised at such a wide variety of motorcycles held under one roof. The 70s Kawasaki KH 400 sits proud, waiting to be renovated, and then I spotted a Yamaha FSIE from 1977. You may ask where the motorcycle trials theme comes in, before I spotted a good clean selection of second-hand and new-model machines.
This converted flour mill had been a motorcycle shop for many years before Austin took it over and turned it into the success it is today. The first floor is where machines, new and secondhand, are held, along with the very busy workshop where MOTs, servicing and renovations take place. With spare parts clothing and accessories on the second floor, the third floor is used for storage.
A lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, Austin was born and raised in Jamie Whitham country at Mirfield, near Huddersfield in West Yorkshire. Austin followed in the wheels of Whitham into motorcycle racing as the family moved to the South East in 1985. Road Racing attracted sponsorship, which would eventually take Austin into the motorcycle trade. Nestled in one corner of the shop is one of his old racing machines and, as I was about to find out, Austin’s knowledge on the sport is second to none. As we talked even further it became clear that, as is the case with most motorcycle dealers, Austin is not just a businessman but also a lifelong enthusiast of anything on two wheels. When the opportunity came along in May 1995 to open and own his own motorcycle business, he took it with both hands and Inta Motorcycle Services was born.
A WIDE SPECTRUM
Inta has built up a very strong customer base over the years, with the ability to meet the demands of virtually all their customers as an independent retailer. Whether it’s a trials, enduro, road rider or just a good old motorcycle enthusiast’s ride, the wide spectrum of machines available means they can usually fulfil the customer’s needs. He also prides himself on the many repeat customers who call in, and it’s usually to discuss a change of machinery, hence the wide variety available.
A walk upstairs to the clothing, helmet, boot and accessory area on the second floor is a real eye opener. With experienced and knowledgeable staff on hand to answer any questions and the large expanse of floor space it is easy to browse, try, and purchase, with products available to suit a wide range of pockets. The online side of the business continues to expand, where potential customers can view products before visiting the shop to make the purchase.
For the trials customer, upgrade parts are available and in stock, as is the wide choice of trials-dedicated helmets, clothing and boots. Austin is good friends with the Morphett and Ely families, who have benefitted from his support along with many others over the years. Austin’s introduction to trials came through John Shirt Jnr in 1998 when he sold him his first two yellow 125cc model Gas Gas machines, followed by the Sherco in 1999 and the Beta in 2000. Not to be left behind in the modern world Inta was one of the very first Oset electric motorcycle dealers back in 2007.
THE MODERN WORLD
In nearly twenty years of trading Austin has seen many changes but remains much focussed on the future of the business: “As John has explained, I am very much a motorcycle enthusiast. In the modern world it’s a case of having to be diverse and meet the customers’ demands in all areas, and that’s where we are very strong. On a regular basis we have the customer who wants to purchase a second-hand machine and returns to have it serviced, and off the back of this experience we often end up selling them a newer or even a brand new machine.
“The older customers like to bring their classic or renovated machines to us for maybe an MOT or tune up, where they like to know their pride and joy will be looked after. We took on the new SWM franchise to offer our customers something a little different and this has also worked well. The shop is always busy and with five staff on-hand it has a great family feel with myself steering the ship. I am very fortunate to remain involved in the motorcycle scene, which is where my passion has always been”.
Here at Trial Magazine we love to make the Dealer Visit features, as in many cases we never really know what we will find until we make that visit. We had spoken many times with Austin Holmes who is the very proud owner of Inta Motorcyle Services on the phone, but as is usually the case we had never met in person. Austin had showed faith in Trial Magazine way back in 2007 when we started the publication here in the UK, making his first appearance in issue 5. In late April I made the trip ‘Down South’ and what I was about to find most certainly opened my eyes!