After our race weekend at Oulton Park, we made the long drive home and unpacked, only to have me pack and leave once again a few days later. This time I was going to Donnington Park for the British round of the World Superbike Championship! Unfortunately, only as a spectator...
On my way there, I stopped in at Moto Direct to meet up with the main man behind RST - The successful rider safety equipment brand that has supported us over the years - Jonny Towers. He picked me up from the train station and brought me to the incredible Moto Direct HQ in Derby. You arrive to an enormous, modern warehouse, typical of any large distributor. But walk inside, and it's clear they are no ordinary company...
Greeting you are a gang of idle Grand Prix bikes! The awesome line up including one of Kevin Schwantz's World Chapionship winning 500GP bikes, the actual bike! Another at the entrance of the building, Barry Sheene's if I remember correctly?
Andrew Pitt's World Super Sport championship winning bike and leathers
A legendary Honda NR750 - the technological master piece with the oval-piston 32 valve V4 engine
Alvaro Bautista's 2011 Rizla Suzuki Moto GP bike! The real deal, 100% complete off the track! The quality and engineering in this race bike is absolutely flawless. Better fit and finish than a new road bike, on a race bike! Carbon fiber and titanium everything makes up this machine. Also, a lot less bike than I expected. It is much smaller than a 600cc bike, more sized towards a 250, but with over 220hp! Luckily Jonny was good enough to let me take a seat on it! I could get comfortable there...
The line up didn't stop at bikes, his leather collection is very impressive, and has to be one of the best around!
The names include Troy Bayliss, Tommy Hill, Alex Barros, Hiro Aoyama, Loris Capirossi, Andrew Pitt and more!
We then took a tour around the showrooms, each of which has its own exclusive theme for the brand it's showing. When you walk into a showroom, you know exactly which brand it is without even seeing the logo or products, the styling and objects in the room reflect that brand accurately, also accurately reflecting how Moto Direct and Jonny embrace their brands. There is definitely no mistake that they know how to look after a brand!
We left the rooms of carbon fibre tables, priceless helmet collections and themed greatness, to see the back-bone of the company - the actual processes and warehousing. Another field that interests me outside of marketing and racing! Even the 'working' side is saturated with motorcycle racing aura - The walls are covered in their sponsored riders, world champs and race bikes, again emphasising their roots and core - racing
Jonny created RST, which is now one of the worlds top rider safety equipment manufacturers, from some initiative, leather and seamstresses making gloves years ago. This spirit is still evident in him today, still creating brands and expanding his impressive portfolio with another of his new brands - Trigon. After expanding RST to cycling kit, Trigon is now his brand of high-quality bicycles, and being an ex-racer, they're trick pieces of machinery!
We concluded the morning by meeting a few of the staff involved in marketing, RST suit badging and customising and admin. before leaving, having gained incredible insight into a truly passionate and efficient company headed by a great person, Jonny!