At this year’s hugely popular Telford Classic Off-Road Show the news that Jeff Smith, the ex-BSA works rider, would be presenting his new autobiography was welcome news. Having a trade stand ourselves I was in the hall early, with Jeff Smith sat right next door where he would be signing copies of his new book. Craig Holmes turned up nice and early too, and we began chatting. The conversation turned to the success story of his business, Craigs Motorcycles. He told me that the business would be 10 years old in September and my answer to that was ‘Maybe it’s time to do a dealer visit’; and so the invitation was made and we arrived in Dewsbury to meet the family-run business to generate this article.
The move to open a new motorcycle shop was a brave but well thought-out plan. It was not a rational decision, but one that Craig believed in and that would work. He had 40 years of experience in the trade and was a former director of another well-known motorcycle business in the Yorkshire area.
A new Start
Having worked in the industry, Craig knew what direction he wanted to move in, and with it came his then young son Aaron who, despite his young age, had already gained five years’ experience. He was fresh and ready to move into the big wide world of the motorcycle industry, knowing that for any advice he only had to turn to his father.
The beginning of Craigs Motorcycles was in September 2008 when they opened the doors on the Dewsbury store. The first franchise they would look at and then take onboard was with Honda and KTM, two huge players in the motorcycle world.
With many contacts in the trade, they would soon attract the clothing and accessory side of the market and soon started to stock all the major brands, who wanted to be part of an overall bigger picture further down the road with this new venture.
After the first five years and, with a healthy order book, the decision was made to expand the business. With daughter Natasha now working the accounts department, the second branch was opened in Shipley, Bradford, at the former Alan Jefferies BMW shop for a Honda Road franchise run by Craig’s other son Matthew.
Now with two outlets to offer to the growing order books Yamaha, Kawasaki, Montesa and Husqvarna franchises were added to the Dewsbury store. The Montesa name is very much a part of the trials scene and also associated with Honda and, at the end of 2013 just as the updated Cota 260cc model was introduced, it was added to the other wide range of machines on offer. Since this was added, it’s allowed the trials side of the business to expand.
Aaron has successfully followed in his father’s footsteps, endorsing the family success story.
TRIAL MAGAZINE Customer care is paramount; here Jack can be seen working with a valued customer.
Workshop facilities are second to none, available for servicing and the fitting of upgrade parts.
The modern showroom covers a multitude of machines and products all on display in a very relaxed environment.
Working with Aaron Holmes at Craigs Motorcycles Graham Foster-Vigors the Honda (HME-UK) Off Road Sales Manager, seen here on the right, has been very instrumental in getting Jack Challoner back to riding in the British Trials Championship on Montesa.
Jack Challoner can be found at the end of the telephone for all trials enquiries or working in the busy showroom.