TRF:Hi Donna. How's business? Everything busy down at Torque Racing?
Donna:Hi, yes all go, it’s been just over a year since we opened the doors at our new location and our feet haven’t touched the floor since. We are just in the middle of preparing for the Hellas Rally in Greece. We have 17 riders to look after and many of their bikes will come through our workshop before we Transport them down to Greece in May.
Donna loads a serious looking bike into a serious looking truck
TRF:It sounds full on. What exactly do you do for your customers?
Donna:In a nutshell, we take care of everything so that our customers can just focus on the riding. Before the event we modify and adapt the bike as necessary, fit GPS, large fuel tank, tyres etc, and make sure it's serviced and ready to go. We arrange transport of all the bikes on a specialist lorry and get all the gear down to Greece. During the rally we are the service and food area for our customers, making sure body and machine are properly looked after. It's great.
TRF:I don't know how to tiptoe around the 'elephant in the room' here so I'm just going to come out with it. Do you think customers that don't know you would be surprised to find out that the woman serving them behind the counter is not just part of the back up team but actually a very accomplished and experienced trail rider/racer?
Donna:Yes I think they would be, I don’t think about it myself, kinda just assume people know, but now you ask the question, I guess many don’t know! Hee hee. I occasionally get embarrassed by friends of mine telling customers in front of me about my riding experience.
TRF:How would you sum up your riding career? Any career highs or lows?
It takes more than a few stitches to put Donna out of action
TRF:It seems that traditionally trail riding, and indeed motorcycling in general, has been a very male dominated past time. However, things seem to be changing and more and more women are taking it up. Would you agree with this?
Donna:Yes I agree, we see more ladies either riding Motorcross, Enduro’s, Adventure riding or rallies. Not so many trail riding mind. I see in social networks more ladies getting out there riding off road. Seat heights can be a problem but that goes for over half our male customers too! Did I say we offer bike lowering!
No deserts, no competitors, no rush, just a leisurely British trail ride
TRF:Adventure motorcycling has seen a huge boost in popularity over the last 10 years. Trail riding seems to be a way of enjoying this without having to take a year off and travel round the world. Do you get many customers buying bikes and then needing help to find out where to ride?
TRF:How do you think the TRF can help to make sure that trail riding remains an enjoyable countryside pursuit long into the future?
Donna:By doing what you all do best, and educating the public, communities and the members. Keeping lanes open and trying to reopen forgotten green roads.