Interest in Royal Enfield’s new fuel injected unit construction engine drew an estimated 2000 visitors to the company’s Open weekend, held at the Watsonian-Squire factory on 20th/21st June. Existing and potential customers took an opportunity to take a free test ride on models from the 2009 line-up and, led by observers from the Gloucestershire IAM, the bikes were ridden a total of 1600 miles around the local Cotswold roads over both days.
Now in its fourth year, the event is a showcase for all aspects of Royal Enfield ownership, stimulating demand throughout the company’s 50-strong dealer network. Alongside genuine accessories, the new collection of Royal Enfield casual clothing was launched and visitors could obtain live insurance quotes too. Specialist Royal Enfield tour operators Arden Motorcycles from the Cotswolds and Bike Astur from Spain were kept busy talking to people considering a holiday on two wheels.
In spite of the large numbers, the Open Weekend has retained its informal atmosphere; catering is provided by the Shipston-on-Stour Sea Scouts, (who cooked a choice of three curries in addition to more traditional hot food), locally produced ice creams were available and there was access to the Watsonian factory, where the bikes are prepared before despatch to dealers and sidecars are manufactured too. Jim Reynolds was master of ceremonies, interviewing many interesting people, including star guest, Stan Dibben, who won two world sidecar world championships in the 1950’s on Watsonian sidecar outfits.
Plenty of money was raised for worthwhile causes; Ian Aspey was promoting his charity ride from Lands End to John O’Groats, which he will be making on his Bullet Sixty-5 this September, and £275 was raised for the CJ Riders Fund by raffling a giant chocolate bar.