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TOAD TALKS: Why you shouldn’t believe all you read in the paper

With the collapse of Norton, Toad wonders why so many people didn’t read the signs

‘THERE’S no smoke without fire’ the old adage goes. A short sentence but one that has been rebounding inside my Shoei X-Spriti III for a number of weeks now. It’s in relation to the sad demise of one of the most iconic and oldest motorcycle brands still producing bikes – up until a few days ago anyway.

We were one of the first publications to run the news that all at Norton may not be as it seems. It started with the story we ran in March 2019 that Companies House had issued Norton with a Winding Up Notice. It’s an official kick up the arse, threatening them that if they don’t get their house in order, financially speaking, they could be struck off and dissolved.

The fallout from this story was huge and we were inundated with angry messages from readers and even the Norton social media team! One reader commented, ‘Goodbye visordown...this type of scaremongering is not what moto-journalism is about’, with Norton replying, ‘Thank you [user], it’s disgraceful.’. Another reader claimed that ‘This is why visordown has gone to ratshit’…

You can check out the comments below

The thing is, the original article, that you can read here, was nothing more than reporting some facts that are fully available to the public. Nothing more, nothing less. People seemed to think we had an ulterior motive for reporting news that was in the public interest. In truth, we didn’t, we’re as sad to see the iconic brand go bad as the next keen motorcyclist. But we really feel for the customers who’ve placed deposits yet may not see their bikes, the current owners who’ve now lost their factory support and the people further down the line too. There are dealerships that benefited from the extra footfall the brand would have attracted but most of all, I feel bad for the staff at the factory and the families that they supported.

There’s probably only one person that I don’t feel sorry for in all of this, and that’s Mr Stuart Garner himself. As the person who orchestrated the business and ruled the empire that he assured was going from strength to strength. He did the deals, signed the contracts and banged the PR drum harder and louder than any MD has ever done before. He kept on taking deposits and orders for bikes, all the while he must have been privy to the signs that things were not going well.

Actually, there’s another group of people that should be hanging their heads in shame in all this, the mainstream motorcycle media. Maybe they were taken in by the invites to the lavish soirees that took place at Norton’s Donington Hall base. Maybe the ‘Built in Britain’ tagline means more to them than reporting news or taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. Whatever the reason, running a headline from Garner on the front page of a popular motorcycle newspaper proclaiming that Norton was in the best shape ever, and then the company folding a month or so later looks pretty fucking stupid if you ask me.

Do you or someone you know have a bike on order from Norton? Have you worked or sub-contracted at the factory? We’d love to hear from you if you have. Get in touch me on Simon.Hancocks@Crash.net

Comments

Visordown, you can hold your heads up high. A lot of other Motorcycle media are looking pretty embarrassed right now.
You have a responsibility to report relevant motorcycle news, a lot of publications seemed to have abdicated this responsibility.

Comfysofa's picture

Its a shame alright - from sheer personal preference i would never own a triumph (just dont like them myself) but in the future theres a few Nortons that i thought were really nice.....and would have liked to have owned one...

There was no money in Norton. On the open days for the public there was all ways something to work on but mid week there where no part or bike to build .If you ever went to a open day you would see half built bikes mmm I wounded why they did not finish one at a time £££? Poor quality and bad design. Stuart new and every one covered it up

More power to your embows!
I think we should hold MCN's feet to the fire for their part in Noton's downfall.
I've emailed a letter telling them to bow their heads in shame, will copy to you

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