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Dave Barkshire Motorcycle Centre celebrates 35th anniversary with charity day

Dave Barkshire is holding a charity open day to mark the 35th anniversary of his motorcycle business. Picture: Andy Russell

Dave Barkshire is holding a charity open day to mark the 35th anniversary of his motorcycle business. Picture: Andy Russell

Andy Russell

Motorcycle dealer Dave Barkshire is holding a charity day, with an 1980s theme, to mark his 35th anniversary in business.

Dave Barkshire with a KTM motorcycle inside the Rackheath showroom, near Norwich. Picture: Andy RussellDave Barkshire with a KTM motorcycle inside the Rackheath showroom, near Norwich. Picture: Andy Russell

Well-known Norfolk motorcycle retailer Dave Barkshire is celebrating 35 years in business with a charity open day.

The anniversary event is being held at Dave Barkshire Motorcycle Centre at Rackheath, near Norwich, on Saturday to raise money for the Children’s Acute Transport Service (CATS), a specialist service to make intensive care rapidly available to critically-ill children.

It’s a cause close to his family after CATS transferred grandson Taylor, now 19 months old, to Addenbrooke’s Hospital at Cambridge suffering from a virus and breathing difficulties.

The open day will include KTM UK demo bikes for test rides (prior booking needed), two drag bikes on display, a barbecue at 1983 prices, informal chats with figures from the motorcycle industry, a raffle with donated prizes and competitions while 1980s music will add to the atmosphere.

“We have a lot of old customers – I am very lucky to have met so many wonderful people and, hopefully, some of these people will turn up and share some stories,” said Mr Barkshire.

Having started work as a Saturday boy nearly 45 years ago, then working as a mechanic at motorcycle dealers in Norwich, he set up his own independent motorcycle workshop at Lenwade in 1983, specialising in tuning and building bespoke bikes, with the help of a £1,000 loan from two businessmen who were also customers.

After two years he moved to an industrial unit at Bowthorpe and also rented a shop in Oak Street, Norwich. Another three years later he moved his business to Sussex Street, at the junction with St Augustine’s in Norwich.

The business thrived, and started selling used motorcycles and new parallel import Japanese bikes, and in 1999 took on the KTM franchise which it still holds, along with Peugeot scooters and Kawasaki off-road bikes, It moved to the current site at Rackheath Industrial Estate in 2010.

“KTM was moving into the road bike market, having only been off road,” he explained. “We were an ideal candidate for the type of business KTM wanted and it has really been a journey ever since.

“With the motorcycle industry now a leisure industry, the internet has changed everything – as a business, our customer base and how we work. We have to be slicker now and on the ball.”

Sons Alex and Aaron now also work in the business, which sells about 120 new and 50 used bikes a year, but it is still a one-man band and Mr Barkshire still has a passion for the bike business. He also runs a motorcycle training academy and Hit the Dirt off-road enduro track at Swaffham at weekends.

“My journey for these 35 years has been awesome and I have loved it.”

The charity event at Dave Barkshire Motorcycle Centre, in Chestnut Court, Wendover Road, Rackheath Industrial Estate, NR13 6LH, is on Saturday, 9.30am to 5pm. Telephone 01603 722800 or log on to the website at www.davebarkshire.com

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