I am in arrears with regards to writing my Blog Posts according to the internet gurus and for that, I apologize. Being buried with Ducati spare part orders, working to complete several bike builds, going on holiday, and moving into a much larger commercial space has created distractions.
Our trip to England and The Netherlands was a wonderful holiday but ended too soon. However, it is proving to be quite successful. My little company, Italian Iron Classics, LLC's capability has been "lying in germ" for decades and now it has become a full time reality. Yet the majority of my restorations and race efforts have taken place while wearing a suit and tie during the day when working in the American corporate world. Now, I am realizing my dream of a full time focus as this business blossoms with new business contacts, offerings and international sales.
This new reality should be no surprise as I grew up loving Motor Racing on both 2 and 4 wheels as a "wee laddie" in Scotland in the 1960's and 1970's when the British Industrial Complex was the envy of the world and many famous British racers were leading numerous classes of professional racing. However, It appears that it is never too late to head one's calling.
In traveling to my mother's flat in Cambridge, I rediscovered a new sense of "home" and connection with the UK that I now have time to fully embrace. Additionally there is the historical significance and heritage of motor racing that can be especially found in the UK. The sentiment of finding one's heart again in the UK can be best be found in William Blake's immortal poem:
"And did those feet in ancient time, walk upon Englands mountain greens: And was the holy lamb of god, On Englands pleasant pastures seen! And did the Countenance Divine, Shine Forth upon our clouded hills? And was Jerusalem builded here, Among those dark Satanic Mills?" by William Blake
It appears that part of my "Jerusalem" is to be built here in England's pleasant pastures green. That is in addition to the base that we have built in the Sonoran Arizona Desert of the American Southwest. It has been fun making calls and sending e-mails to local Vintage Motorcycle dealers and shops here in the UK in order to expand my network of professional contacts for both Italian and British vintage motorcycles. Stay tuned for a special announcement regarding our becoming a US dealer for a key UK firm.
It was fun to take my wife to The Netherlands as she has never been. It is wonderful to be developing new relationships in Northern Europe and we are both "smitten" with the lake & forest country of Oisterwijk in southern Holland.
Unlike the rainy weather in Cambridge, England, the weather was sunny "tee-shirt and shorts" type weather in Holland. Oisterwijk is a quaint and beautiful town as well as the location of Biggelaar Performance which was a third generation Ducati dealer but now specializing in speciality engine and motorcycle builds.
It was Toine who built the engine for my first Ducati 996 rs Superbike and he also rebuilt with great care, the engine for the 2001 Reve RedBull Ducati 996 rs that John Reynolds rode in his British Superbike title winning season in 2001 and later Sean Emmett raced in the 2002 British Superbike season with team IFC Ducati. Now that bike is in the possession of an avid collector who appreciates Toine's technical skills and attention-to-detail as much as I do.
It is my belief that it is the great people that you meet as a result of a shared passion for motorcycles, racing and bike building that add such a marvelous "spice" to life. The entire team at Biggelaar Performance are talented technicians and racers as well as being great people. Switching between Dutch and English is no problem for them when we were in Holland.
When at the Biggelaar Shop on a Saturday, it was a constant "flood" of customers coming in for specialty mods or a tune. Everyone was busy and one-by-one bikes headed out the door with smiling, happy customers. That is service!!! Amazing.
Then it was time to meet Toine and his wife for dinner to discuss the day and share some good times. We also have a joint Biggelaar-Italian Iron Race project or Bii-Rad where Toine built a specialty engine and at my shop, we have just torn the chassis down for powdercoating and painting in Dutch Orange & Blue colors before we fire her up in!! Stay tuned as there are some other joint projects!
Some photos hanging in the shop that illustrate the Biggelaar heritage of racing successes. I am excited that Toine will be building a third 996 rs "hybrid" engine with the 999 rs heads for a bike that I will leave in Osterwijk and use at the Assen Racetrack or better known as the "Cathedral of Speed". This is a major "bucket list" opportunity!
It was wonderful to have dinner outside every night that we were in Oisterwijk as the weather was perfect and the city center is lined with cafes and restaurants. The pace of life is quite phenomenal there in Holland and there is a sense of professionalism that exists when one is at work. However, there is also a focus on maintaining a good balance between work and on spending time with family and friends when one is no longer at work.
This focus of balance in life in Holland could be better emulated here in the US as my wife, Pat enjoys some tea at the cafe in the city center. On our last day, Sunday, we were able to take our rental car and have some touristy adventures. We drove to the canals of Kinderdijk where windmills line the canals doing what they have done for decades if not centuries. Afterwards, we continued our drive to Rotterdam
It was such incredible weather and the streets of Rotterdam were flooded with people enjoying the day. Driving in Rotterdam tested my former Southern California driving skills but we ended up at the center of this massive port city without incident and took a harbor cruise letting someone else to take the wheel.
There was so much to see and we definitely added to our tans in these sunny temperatures. Next day we flew back to the UK from Eindhoven on the $20 hop to Stansted Airport. Took the train to London to prepare for our trip back to the US. Cannot wait to return to the UK and Holland for more business and pleasure.