I learned yesterday of the death of someone who was at first a customer and then a friend to me.
Steve was a Vendor Manager at BT, so our earliest introductions were typically this little Scottish guy beating several shades out of me about Ts&Cs and commercials. Over time, we established a good working relationship and then learned of our mutual love of motorbikes. Steve’s passion went wider, as he was an avid car man too, always owning something special and following F1 as closely as Moto GP.
As BT’s budgets became more and more non-existent, I had to have my meetings with Steve first at his local Costa and then at his local pub. This gave Steve the opportunity to show off his garage to me, giving a true insight into the extremes of Steve’s mind! A Ducati 999R that he refused to ride as it was too beautiful. A Porsche 911 that lived in the heated garage under a blanket. In the past he polished a car so much it needed resprayed… He did up Monsters for resale, always immaculate. A BSA was restored and sold, he had a beautiful TR6 which he fully restored. He had a Blackbird for longer journeys, an immaculate 999s for fun. All in a garage that was more akin to an operating theatre – a look at his bike website or his car website will give you an insight.
Steve talked on a number of occasions about coming to watch me race, but family life and then poor weather got in the way – which was a shame. He was 59 but his family was young, with kids at school. If any of you know about BT’s pension scheme, you will appreciate that as a lifer, Steve was very much looking forward to his retirement which I expect was no more than a year or two away, if that.
To learn that he died on his Ducati on the road to his village on Saturday in a collision with a BMW is absolutely tragic. He was a meticulous man and I can only imagine the pride he would have taken in being a very careful rider/driver, making it all the sadder. He was on his Ducati, which he rode for fun – the Blackbird was his workhorse.
It is strange, I have lost a lot of friends, family and companions over the years and we all know that bikes – especially on the road – can be dangerous things. But there is something about this loss that seems so unfair. Steve’s careful nature, his meticulous care taken over everything, his family circumstances and the fact that after a lifetime of enduring what was often a highly stressful job with very long hours – to have the promise of a wealthy and healthy retirement with his young family ripped away is just tragic.