Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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30-year milestone

Apart from being the sole UK importer for Sherco motorcycles, MRS, which celebrated its thirtieth-anniversary last year, is also the UK importer for many off-road brands, including Gaerne trials and motocross boots, Suomy, KYT and Shiro off-road helmets, Kini clothing, Galfer brake pads and discs, AJP/Braktec accessories, HZ/Neox goggles, RQF, Clice clothing, Riga Gomme mousses, Technomousse, Forcefield body armour, Nau helmets, Domino, Leonelli, Rock Oil, Michelin tyres and Milwaukee Power Tools.

Malcolm Rathmell Sport has released details of the soon-to-be-available MY22 Special Edition Sherco ST Fajardo Replica, which comes in 125, 250 and 300cc capacities.

As you would expect from a machine developed on the Trials GP world circuit, state-of-the-art features abound, from the lightweight, perforated front wheel rim to the Reiger shock absorber. S3 provides the Hard Rock footrests, grips for the Neken handlebars and the chain guide. Other features include Galfer brakes, Oxia red anodised cylinder head and Braktec hydraulic brakes and clutches.

The full MY23 Enduro range is expected in early June. This will comprise 125, 250 and 300cc 2-stroke models and 250, 300, 450 and 500cc 4-strokes, so the range should provide something to satisfy most riders.

Malcolm Rathmell’s career as a trials rider is the stuff of legend but, unlike some, he didn’t slide seamlessly from rider to motorcycle trade distributor. His first business enterprise after stepping away from motorcycle competitions was running a hotel in Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales National Park with wife Rhoda. The hotel became very successful and gave the couple a solid business grounding before they decided to return to the world of two wheels.

Rhoda takes up the tale. “When Malcolm stopped riding, he didn’t want to see another motorbike and wanted to buy a hotel, even though we’d been offered some bike deals. We learned a lot from running the hotel – dealing with people, managing money and being organised – but it was very hard work. We thought we’d take our time and look around for something a bit more enjoyable.

“Malcolm was ACU Youth Club manager at the time. We went to a world round in 1990 and were approached by Aprilia, who asked if we’d like to take on the brand as the previous UK importer had gone bankrupt. As a result, they’d split the business between road and off-road, so we became the UK off-road Aprilia importer in 1991.”

Aprilia eventually gave up the off-road side to concentrate on its road bikes, at which point MRS took on the Scorpa brand for five years, followed by Bultaco which, in turn, became Sherco. These days, MRS is a true family business as, apart from Malcolm and Rhoda, son Martin and daughter Carly are both involved.

Rider support has always been high on the list of what MRS does, as the best form of self-promotion in the competition arena is to have riders winning on the brand you distribute. The list of riders is long and includes local as well as international riders. More recent beneficiaries have included Graham Jarvis, five times British Trials Champion, Danny Mcanney, multiple British Enduro Champion and Emma Bristow, with seven consecutive women’s FIM Trial World Championships to her name.

In March this year Bristow was presented with the Torrens Trophy, which is awarded annually to members of the race community deemed to have made an “outstanding contribution to the cause of motorcycling in the UK or to have shown outstanding skill in  an international motorcycling sporting event”.

This was a double first: the first woman and the first trials rider to receive the award, which was presented at the RAC’s Annual Motorcycle Dinner at its premises in London’s Pall Mall, where she rode her Sherco up the main staircase.

Fortunately for MRS, the Sherco factory is supporting riders directly when it comes to the hardware but the Rathmells are still to be found helping their riders at major events.

Most of the pandemic restrictions may have gone but the industry will take time to catch up. Rhoda isn’t too worried regarding the supply of bikes, it’s just the delivery of some of the ancillaries that might cause initial concern. However, given the level of personal relationships that MRS has built up with its suppliers over the years, it stands a better chance than most of fulfilling demand.
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