My name is Robin Ross and I was a member of the sales personnel at Gus Kuhn Motors when the first BMW day took place [more details]. As part of the insurance requirements I was obliged to either ride as pillion to riders having a test ride, or take prospective buyers for a ride. As you might imagine it was occasionally a hair-raising experience !!
A couple of riders, in their early 20s, were giving the BMWs handfulls of stick in a straight line but when a bend or corner approached would brake hard and corner at about 5 degrees from the vertical and as a pillion I found it quite amusing. It was difficult to convince some of the riders that the BMWs (series /5 if I remember correctly) actually handled very well and could be taken round corners with gay abandon (is it politically correct to say that?).
The last ride of the day was with one of the aforementioned riders on the R75/5 and I was able to convince him to ride pillion. I had the bike over at wonderful angles of lean, with metal scraping tarmac on a couple of occasions. I could feel my pillion trying his hardest to resist the leaning process and on returning to the shop saw his face was white, and his knuckles similarly coloured. He exclaimed to one of his friends "f..ing hell" a number of times, then actually thanked me for showing him how to corner!
I don't recall how the day went in terms of sales but I do remember that by 3 o'clock I was unsure if there were mechanical issues with the bikes or whether it was my stomach rumbling as I had been riding non-stop from about 9 o'clock. It turned out to be my stomach !
I think John Robart was the manager of the BMW centre at the time. I wonder if he ever unravelled the giant-sized cigarette Simon Porter and I manufactured for him from his entire stock of rolling tobacco and cigarette papers.
I was only at Gus Kuhn Motors for 18 months but it was a great time and went a long way to cementing my love of bikes, a relationship which has recently been resurrected after a break of 18 years.