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2018 champions revealed at bdn awards

British Dealer News congratulates all the winners of the BDN Motorcycle Industry Awards 2018 and thanks everyone who voted in the seven categories decided by reader poll.

The full list of winners is as follows:

NMDA MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR

WINNER: HARLEY-DAVIDSON

The award was presented by NMDA head Steve Latham to David Hackshall, country manager for the UK and Ireland

The National Motorcycle Dealers Association introduced this award four years ago to recognise what its motorcycle dealer members consider to be the best all-round motorcycle franchise of the year. The award was presented by Steve Latham, the association’s Head of Motorcycle Division.


eBAY AWARD FOR THE BEST SELLING 125cc AND UNDER USED MOTORCYCLE

WINNER: YAMAHA’S YZ/YZF125R SERIES

The award was presented by Laura Richards, eBay’s senior business development manager, to Adam Kelley general manager sales and marketing, Yamaha Motor Europe


eBAY AWARD FOR THE BEST SELLING 126cc AND OVER USED MOTORCYCLE

WINNER: YAMAHA YZF-R1

The award was presented by Laura Richards to Adam Kelley of Yamaha


BDN MOTORCYCLE FRANCHISE OF THE YEAR

WINNER: LEXMOTO

The award was presented to Dan Frost, business development manager

Having been runner-up in this category in 2016, this year’s winner has now made the breakthrough into the big time with its impressive range of 50/125cc own-branded Chinese motorcycles.

Euro 4 was a huge challenge for the industry, with some Chinese brands choosing to fall by the wayside rather than invest the sums required. Our winning importer/distributor, on the other hand, made sure its supplying manufacturers not only met the higher specifications but used the opportunity to make a tangible advance in quality and styling.

Speculation was rife in 2016 that Euro 4, currency fluctuations and rising factory-gate prices could be the death knell for the sub-£1500 125 but the winner of the Motorcycle Franchise of the Year 2018 award has proved the doomsayers wrong by launching a new entry-level brand that still meets that budget-price criteria. It also took on a range of cruisers, scramblers, adventure and supermotard machines to cater for consumers seeking a step-up from our winning brand.

Our winner also has an excellent track record in the Scooter Franchise of the Year category, winning in 2014 and 2016 and taking the merit last year.


BDN MOTORCYCLE FRANCHISE OF THE YEAR

MERIT: Kawasaki Motor UK

Turning the clock back 12 months, our runner-up in the Motorcycle Franchise of the Year category unveiled four additions to its range including the mind-blowing carbon version of its supercharged Ninja H2. But it was probably bikes such as the Ninja 650 and the latest iteration of the Z1000SX sports tourer which found most favour with dealers who voted for Kawasaki. Well done Kawasaki for a strong performance.


BDN SCOOTER FRANCHISE OF THE YEAR

WINNER: SINNIS MOTORCYCLES

The award was presented to account manager Thomas Rimell

Having won a merit in the Motorcycle Franchise of the Year award in 2017, this year’s winner has shown its versatility by winning the top Scooter accolade for 2018. The dealer/importer has been supplying learner-legal Chinese motorcycles and scooters at affordable prices since 2006 and has been at the forefront when it comes to supporting its 130-strong network of UK dealers.

Our Brighton-based winner cherishes its reputation for competitive pricing, back-up, build quality and reliability, testing its models over thousands of miles and working to improve quality using feedback from its dealers and customers.

To win this prestigious BDN Scooter Franchise of the Year Awards is a real coup for Sinnis Motorcycles.


BDN SCOOTER FRANCHISE OF THE YEAR

MERIT: Peugeot Scooters, distributed by Three Cross Motorcycles

BDN reported just last month that Euro 4 delays had resulted in a frustrating year for our Merit winner. That said, this company must be getting a lot of other things right for dealers to have voted in sufficient numbers for it to win this award which follows on from winning in this category in 2016. Well done to our Merit award winner Peugeot and its UK importer/distributor Three Cross Motorcycles.


BDN RIDER PRODUCT BRAND OF THE YEAR

WINNER: OXFORD PRODUCTS

The award was presented to MD Andrew Hammond

It has been a busier than usual year for our Rider Product Brand of the Year winner, a company which never ceases to innovate. The distributor provides a constant flow of new or improved products for its dealers and launched its clothing range in 2013. In 2015 it won the BDN Wholesaler of the Year Award and a year later, having expanded and improved its early budget clothing range and employed its own designer, went on to win a merit award for its apparel in the Rider Product Brand of Year category in 2016. That same year the company complemented its increasingly sophisticated in-house offering when it acquired a well-known brand of protective jeans and clothing.

Early last year our award winner took over brand distribution specialist Tri-Motive.


BDN RIDER PRODUCT BRAND OF THE YEAR

MERIT: LS2 Helmets

Having won this category for the past three years between 2015 and 2017, fast-growing LS2 Helmets – which marked its tenth anniversary last year – has to accept a well-deserved Merit on this occasion.


BDN MOTORCYCLE PRODUCT BRAND OF THE YEAR

WINNER: LEXTEK MOTORCYCLE PRODUCTS

The award was presented to operations manager Paul Wakely

This is the second successive year that this company and its products have been voted winner of the Motorcycle Product Brand of the Year award.

That success is not surprising when you consider how its range of lifetime-warrantied product has grown since the brand was launched in 2014. It now offers dealers a variety of aftermarket and OEM parts, everything from full exhaust systems, CNC rear sets, levers, luggage to tools.

The company’s Operations Manager told BDN just last month that the quality and price points of its range of products had “set tongues wagging from day one”, proving there was a place in the market for affordable high-quality products.

In 2016 our winner had just a handful of dealers across the UK. Since then, and after attending Expo twice and returning again this year, it has added more than 140 retailers, has gone “trade-only”, and is launching a new premier dealer status which the company is confident will further increase the popularity of the brand.


BDN MOTORCYCLE PRODUCT BRAND OF THE YEAR

MERIT: R&G

The winner of the Merit award in the Motorcycle Product Brand of the Year category 2018 also won this category in 2016. This Hampshire-based company says it is setting the standard in crash protection and bolt-on motorcycle accessories – and judging from their voting, dealers obviously agree.


BDN AWARD FOR REPRESENTATIVE OF THE YEAR

WINNER: LAWRENCE RIDD, McAMS

Representative of the year is one of the most fiercely contested categories of the BDN Motorcycle Industry Awards and 147 different reps received votes in this year’s poll – up from 96 last year and setting an incredible all-time record.

With so many different reps receiving nominations, there was never going to be a runaway victor.

As well as being an Area Sales Manager, Lawrence Ridd also fulfils the role of Learning and Development Coach for his company.

He’s obviously doing a good job, and one that has been recognised by his dealers.


BDN AWARD FOR REPRESENTATIVE OF THE YEAR

MERIT: Lars Ishojer, Nevis Marketing

Outstanding service is what counts in this super-competitive Rep of the Year category, and Lars Ishojer of Nevis Distribution came so close to winning.


WHOLESALER OF THE YEAR

WINNER: LARSSON UK

The award was presented to David Dearden, UK manager

The winner of the BDN Wholesaler of the Year Award 2018 began distributing parts, tools and accessories to the UK motorcycle trade in 2012. It now supplies more than 70,000 parts for 20,000 motorcycles, scooters and ATVs, so when it describes itself as a “one-stop shop for motorcycle parts”, it’s hard to disagree.

Among its extensive product offering, the Corby-based distributor also has its own-brand of workshop equipment, which includes lifts and tyre-changing equipment.

Speaking at Expo last year, this company’s director explained that, with an ever-widening range of increasingly sophisticated motorcycles on the market and with the parts and accessories market growing in complexity, lots of dealers were struggling to find the right workshop tools and equipment to do the job. To help, our winner – who received a merit award in this category in 2014 – developed a sophisticated online shop providing electronic workshop manuals alongside technical and service data. Larsson also organised dealer training courses on diagnostics, and prides itself on quick and efficient delivery.

From this year’s BDN Industry Awards voting, it is clear that dealers appreciate our winner’s extensive product selection and first-class service.


WHOLESALER OF THE YEAR

MERIT: Bickers UK

One of the trade’s best-known names stepped back into the spotlight in 2017 with the aim of becoming a one-stop supermarket for dealers. This distributor’s customers obviously agree when our Merit winner says dealers should not have to choose between products OR service but should have both. The Merit award in this wholesaler category goes to Bickers, UK.


BUSINESS SUPPORT SERVICE OF THE YEAR

WINNER: McAMS

The award was presented to founder and director Valentina Slater

This company is dealer-friendly and has an excellent team of representatives, as evidenced by their recent run of successes in the BDN Rep of the Year category.

This is now the third successive year that dealers have voted for this company as their Support Service of the Year.

Working with dealers, our winner’s service removes the stress and hassle from customers’ insurance claims by managing the whole process – including the commission of repairs through its dealers, thus keeping valuable business within the bike trade.


BUSINESS SUPPORT SERVICE OF THE YEAR

MERIT: Black Horse Finance

Our Merit winner was the outright winner of this category in 2015 and followed that up by a merit in 2016. With more people doing research online before buying bikes, this finance company has introduced an online calculator to help potential customers to view various payment options before contacting their chosen dealer, thus providing the best of both worlds.


SERVICES TO OFF-ROAD MOTORCYCLE SPORT AND THE TRADE

AWARDED TO PETE PLUMMER

Pete Plummer was unable to attend the awards night owing to ill health. His award was accepted on his behalf by Bill Brown of Wulfsport

Few, if any, have served off-road motorcycle sport and the trade for so long and so effectively as this man. Since the 60s as a teenage mechanic working for various midlands dealers his enthusiasm for off-road has shone through.

As a journalist … As a campaigner for rider’s access to green lanes … As a creator of off-road events and as a businessman working for NVT back in the 80’s helping to build the Can Am brand and, later, for cable specialist Venhill Engineering, where he was sales manager and responsible for sponsorship budgets and rider support.

He first broke cover in the 70s with a regular “On the Trail” column in MCN. At the same time, with support from Kawasaki, he opened the Kawasaki Trail School using modified KT250’s. Through the 70’s and 80’s he was active in the Trail Riders Fellowship, helping to fight green lane closures to bikers. He also worked with Bob Perrin and the Welsh Trail Riders Association and was active in starting the British Enduro Championships.

He was one of the founding freelance contributors to Trials and Motocross News, later joining the weekly full time when he would regularly cover Welsh enduro events and, then in an age free of laptops, jump on his Kawasaki ZZR1100 to get to the TMX offices in Morecambe, file his story and hand over film for picture processing.

In the commercial world of off-road he was successful in helping to build the Can Am brand in enduro and motocross, joining Norton Villiers triumph at a time when the Can Am team enjoyed success in Welsh Two Day Enduro events.

Then came stints at Venhill Engineering and the ACU where he helped generate income to support the sport through his marketing and sponsorship expertise. Today he is probably best known as an off-road contributor to British Dealer News’ monthly off-road news page.


SERVICES TO THE MOTORCYCLE INDUSTRY

AWARDED TO MAURICE KNIGHT

Maurice Knight was unable to attend the awards ceremony, being presented with his trophy the following day. In his absence on the night, the award was presented to John Featherstone, who worked with Maurice as a rep for Suzuki for over 20 years.

Retro is the current buzz word in motorcycle marketing. In a way, this award and the one that follows it could be termed “Retro” for the simple reason that the considerable achievements of the men about to step up here have never been formally recognised by the industry.

The first goes to a man who helped build the foundations on which today’s industry is built and reaches back to the early fifties when he was working for the AA and a member asked him where he could hire a Lambretta scooter. A long telephone conversation with the late Peter Agg, the UK Lambretta importer, ended with him being offered a job. At the time, Lambretta had 10 dealers so everyone at its Wimbledon, South London base got their hands dirty loading scooters for delivery and sorting out technical problems. The subsequent sales success of Lambretta has been well documented but it’s worth noting that in 1958, the year following the Suez crisis, 110,000 new Lambretta’s were sold by its dealer network of 500. That’s more than last year’s total new bike registrations sold across 100 or so different brands!

In 1968 as the scooter boom peaked, our award winner, by then Lambretta’s sales manager, helped Peter Agg successfully negotiate with Suzuki Motor Corporation for the Suzuki motorcycle concession following the collapse of the then importer, Associated Motorcycles, now best remembered for its AJS and Matchless motorcycles.

At the time of the deal Suzuki’s UK sales were under 3000 bikes a year and market share was around 3%. Less than seven years later, in 1975, with the backing of the Heron Group, annual sales were 75,000 and market share just over 20%.

Sales and market share were about to grow further following the 500cc world championship successes in 1976/77 of Barry Sheene. Sheene’s potential had been spotted back in 1970 at Brands Hatch when Rex White, later to become Suzuki race manager, and our award winner had a chat with him and a deal was done to provide Barry with a bike. He was Suzuki’s first ever sponsored rider and at the time the deal made perfect sense as the then mainly lightweight range of Suzuki’s was extended to move up into the larger capacity classes.

Our award winner, by then Suzuki’s sales and marketing director, retired in 1982 following a 30 year span in which he and his sales teams sold 1.5 million scooters and motorcycles – an average of 50,000 new bikes a year. Those, indeed, were the days!


SERVICES TO THE MOTORCYCLE INDUSTRY

AWARDED TO ALAN DAMERELL

The second of our “Retro” awards recognising services to the industry goes to a dealer with a truly outstanding track record. His business, established in a shed by his father back in 1937 and today run by his son in a £3 million showroom, represents all that is good about properly run family retail motorcycle businesses. Enthusiasm … Customer service … Financial stability … And in it for the long haul.

His story commenced back in 1963 when he joined the business, then selling Lambretta scooters, following an apprenticeship at a Ford dealer. A year later in 1964 he got the Yamaha franchise and things really started to move. In 1967 the business was appointed one of 18 official Yamaha spares distributors and the following year the showroom is extended to include warehousing for what was to become the biggest Yamaha spares operation of its type in the country.

Meantime, bike sales were booming. In 1973, the business sold 964 new Yamaha’s to become not only the UK’s biggest Yamaha dealer but Europe’s!

Pretty much the same happened with Yamaha spares. Thanks to massive stocks, an unbeatable trade service and the very early adoption of computerised stock control, the business was easily Yamaha’s biggest spares distributor and continued to be for some years until Yamaha moved spares in-house.

Following a visit from the late great Eric Sulley, Honda joined Yamaha in 1975 and remains to this day in the showroom alongside Yamaha and, more recently, Suzuki.

In the small community in which this business operates, customer care is always going to be paramount and that was recognised years ago when it became the first in England to insist that every new customer took a free basic training course before being allowed to ride away. This followed Graeme Chatham’s lead when he and other Scottish dealers refused to allow new riders to ride without training.

Today rider training makes sense, but back then it was considered radical and, fearing lost sales, some importers and dealers frowned on it.

After a sales boom in the eight years from 1975 through to 1982 when new registrations averaged 266,000 bikes a year, things got tough and sales slumped. In the absence of any promotional activity from the importers, our award winner, with the co-operation of two other large dealers in the area and the contributions of other smaller dealers, negotiated a deal with the region’s TV company to run a series of TV commercials. The one year campaign was an outstanding success, registrations in the South-West rocketed by 18% while those in the rest of the country continued their downward slide.

Alan Damerell is an innovator with a rare ability to think outside the box and get things done.


SERVICES TO THE MOTORCYCLE INDUSTRY

AWARDED TO ANDREW SMITH

He’s been in the bike industry for more than 40 years, went from the bottom to the top of the company he worked for, and along the way built an impeccable track record. So, when he announced he was retiring in April last year, it came as a massive surprise to everyone. BDN’s news headline read “Yamaha’s Saint Andrew takes early retirement”.

The “Saint” accolade came with good reason. None of the major motorcycle importers’ top men has earned the respect that he has over such a long period of time. That respect goes across the industry from Yamaha’s dealers, his Japanese bosses, the staff at Yamaha’s UK and European headquarters offices as well as rival bike manufacturers and importers.

He joined Mitsui, then Yamaha’s UK distributor, in the early 80s as its representative for the South-West. After progressing through national sales and marketing ranks, in 2006 he became the first non-Japanese MD of Yamaha Motor (UK) and then, five years later, Yamaha Motor Europe’s marketing and sales supremo. Later product director was also added to his responsibilities.

During his years with Yamaha his reputation grew across the dealer network. It was based on trust, a friendly no-nonsense approach combined with a hard-nosed business acumen. The formula attracted loyalty at every level.

The Japanese are not known for lavish praise of retiring staff, but Yamaha Motor European president Kazuhiro Kuwata made an exception when announcing his retirement. Kawata’s words say it all:

“His knowledge, experience, commitment, attitude, determination, energy and endless enthusiasm have been optimised to the full and throughout our company in the many different roles he has undertaken. In addition, he has also had a very positive effect on both past and current colleagues and dealers who came into contact with him in Europe and across the world”.


BDN LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

AWARDED TO DAVID JARY

Presented in David’s absence to wife Anne and son Chris, MD

There are still a few motorcycle dealers around with roots that go back to selling bicycles. This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award is to be presented to a dealer whose origins go right back to 1874 when William Ling went into business as a wheelwright and blacksmith!

However, the real story of our award winner’s success commenced 85 years later when in 1959 David Jary met and married Anne Ling, daughter of Peter, a grandson of blacksmith founder William. Back then, the business was selling motorcycles and bicycles and wanted to expand, but approaches to the British motorcycle manufacturers were ignored, so when Honda launched at the 1961 Earl’s Court bike show David’s visit to their stand sowed the seeds for what has become Honda’s biggest dealer in the country, selling all Honda products, bikes, cars and power products. On top of that, Lings Parts Centre is the largest Honda parts supplier in Europe, across all products.

A shrewd businessman, David Jary recognised the massive potential of spares distribution right from the start, and saw it as a key to Ling’s future. Over the years, investment to increase warehouse capacity and efficiency has been substantial. Significantly, the company was the first to recognise the need for computerised stock control systems and pioneered what has now become standard in any spares business. When the 265K Texas Instruments computer system went live in 1983, it was state-of-the-art. It needed to be. At the time, Honda had 800 bike dealers all wanting spares the next day!

In 1988, Anne and David’s son Chris Jary joined the family business. Previously working in IT, Chris served a successful apprenticeship managing Lings Watton, Norfolk, showroom, and was made MD in 1992 when David Jary retired.

Since then, Lings has continued to grow. Apart from Honda, it also has the Triumph and Husqvarna motorcycle franchises. The four-wheel division of the company has also developed and alongside Honda now retails Mitsubishi and Hyundai cars. There is also a separate used car superstore.

Strategically placed through East Anglia, Lings Motor Group’s showrooms are at Harleston, Lowestoft, Watton and Ipswich, and between the retail and spares operations employ 110 staff.

Thirty two years ago Honda’s UK MD of the time presented David Jary with a gold lapel badge to mark a 25-year association between Honda and Lings. Tonight the entire industry salutes the lifetime achievements of a remarkable man, David Jary, and a remarkable company, Lings Motor Group.

 

 

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