Industry tributes for Kevin Ash pour in

By Andy Downes -

General news

 01 February 2013 12:30

MCN columnist and world-renown motorcycle journalist and tester Kevin Ash was killed last week while testing the new BMW R1200GS in South Africa.

Tributes from MCN readers flooded our website but it was also the number of those in the motorcycle industry around the world and fellow journalists that marked Ashy, as he was known, as a respected and loved journalist who will be missed by his family, friends and colleagues.

Here are some MCN received:

Tony Gallagher, Editor, The Daily Telegraph:
“Kevin Ash was the doyen of motorcycle correspondents. Respected throughout journalism and the motorcycle trade, he was also one of our most admired motoring columnists and will be greatly missed by both Telegraph staff and readers. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family at this difficult and sad time.”

Gabriele Del Torchio, CEO Ducati Motor Holding:
"I was deeply saddened by the news about the passing of Kevin Ash. Kevin was a skilled rider and motorcycle expert, and an excellent journalist, with that very special British sense of humor that made the reading of his articles not only interesting, but all the more pleasant and entertaining.

"It is a great loss for the international sector press, not only professionally but from a human standpoint too, and here in Ducati he will be sadly missed. My thoughts are with his family during this very difficult time."

Claudio Domenicali, General Manager Ducati Motor Holding:
"Above all, Kevin was a friend and one of the people whose opinion and judgement I trusted entirely. He truly loved our world of motorcycling and had a keen interest in its constant improvement.

"I enjoyed our many conversations together and will certainly miss them in the future. The news of his accident has shocked me deeply, both for him and his family. This is a big loss for everyone."

Jane Omorogbe, tester and bike journalist:"
Kevin was my friend, my loyal, honest, generous friend and I owe my motorcycle career to him. Kev gave me my first break in this industry almost a decade ago, and over the years he supported and guided me and generally made me laugh a lot, usually by saying or doing something very witty -  or completely daft.
 
"We didn't always talk about bikes, Kev loved motorcycles, but his family always came first and he wasn't afraid to say so. The man encouraged me in so many ways, with riding, writing, getting to grips with living in Belgium and learning Dutch.

"Kev was a genuine gentleman and I already miss him dearly. But I am honoured and privileged to have known him. My thoughts go out to his family, he was forever, fiercely proud of you. Thinking of you all."

Dave Hancock, Head Of Product and Business Development, Honda Motor Europe
"I remember that Kevin and I used to have heated debates for many hours on issues of engineering - usually at the bar during various events. We would finish with one of us buying the next round of drinks but neither of us would ever really be sure who came out of it being right!

"That's what was so great about Kevin, you could really relate to him from a technical perspective and he had an opinion on everything, that was always worth listening to. That's what made him so popular and and why so many people enjoyed his work.

"His death is a big loss to the motorcycle industry, he was an irreplaceable character but he will no doubt be remembered fondly by all those who came into contact with him and by all those he touched with his work."

Steve Martindale, General Manager for Honda (UK) Motorcycles
"We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Kevin Ash. He was a well respected, much liked and a leading motorcycle journalist . We enjoyed a great working relationship with Kevin through the years, he was a true professional and a pleasure to work with.

"He recently attended the Honda CB1100 press launch event with us in Valencia, Spain and as ever, we eagerly anticipated his opinion on the bike. We are still coming to terms with the fact that we will no longer receive his professional and
detailed critique, interspersed with those witty remarks that we so valued.

"It is a true loss to motorcycle journalism and to the industry as a whole. He will be sorely missed and our thoughts go out to his family, friends and colleagues at this sad time."

Triumph issued this response:
“We were devastated to hear the news about Kevin, who was held in high regard throughout the whole of Triumph. Having worked with Kevin for many years in both in his journalistic capacity and also on a number of projects, we will greatly miss his insight and expertise. 

"Kevin had a real passion for all aspects of motorcycling and this, combined with a deep technical understanding, made him one of the industry’s most credible and well-informed spokesman.  

"He was also one of the nicest people around – easy-going, always great company and with an infectious enthusiasm and wit.  Kevin’s love for his family was plain to see and our thoughts are with them at this awful time.”

Martin Lambert, Kawasaki UK:
“Kevin Ash was one of the few journalists that broke through every strata of the Kawasaki organisation. As familiar with the post room staff at Kawasaki UK as the top management of KHI in Japan, Kevin was not simply recognised but respected by the widest number of people from engineers to designers and test riders, many of whom he could count as friends.

“His knowledge of motorcycling and the nuances of the two-wheeled world were encyclopaedic and it was always fun to debate a point with him knowing with almost certainty he would end up with the upper hand. I will always remember Kevin as a totally trustworthy, totally professional correspondent who thrived in the competitive world of freelance journalism.

"He had a sincere and infectious passion for motorcycles tempered with an admirable dedication to his wife and family to whom he was devoted. I, along with many, will miss Kevin enormously.”

Suzi Perry:
“Kevin was a great inspiration as both a journalist and a friend to me, he helped me enormously when I was a columnist for The Daily Telegraph. He was adorable, a terrific journalist and I got to know him very well over years riding bikes and writing articles. I met his lovely family and Kev and I never had a conversation where he didn't mention his talented and beautiful girls, he was so proud of them.

“This is such sad news; a tragic loss for his family and also to the whole of motorcycling. Kevin was always such a laugh, he was an intelligent man of the world who could talk about everything outside of bikes as well as knowing everything within our two wheeled world. We've lost a good one there”

Paul de Lusignan, General Manager, Suzuki GB:
“Everyone at Suzuki is deeply shocked and saddened to hear of Kevin's passing. His presence at many of our bike launches over the years and his regular columns and features have been a constant factor for as long as I can remember.

"I particularly admired his ability to tackle complex engineering stories and make them both enjoyable and informative. His passion for motorcycling was clear for all to see and it was always a pleasure to meet and chat with him, whatever the occasion. Kevin will be missed by all of us at Suzuki. We send our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.”

Former MCN editor Rob Munro-Hall, and current Managing Director of MCN’s parent company Bauer Media:
“I was editor of MCN when Kev started and he impressed me immediately because he managed to combine what was then a rare talent of being able to ride a bike but also understand exactly how they worked and then write that down in a way that was accessible to all.

“At that time it was rare for anyone to be able to write about in-depth technical matters in a way that was both easy to understand and entertaining too. Whenever you got to see the work from Kevin it was such clean writing it made it a pleasure to work with and read. He will be missed by all who knew him.”

Another former MCN editor Marc Potter: “Ashy was the best bike journalist in the world. He had an incredible eye for a story, was a tidy rider and a great writer. He was the overall package like nobody else in motorcycle journalism. Away from the track or the road test he would hold court at a dinner table until the early hours and have everyone at the table in fits of giggles. He was also an incredibly proud father and husband.

"He’s been my mate for the last twenty years, and the world’s not going to be the same without him.”

Fellow journalist Alan Cathcart:
“It's a cliche to say that Kevin died doing something that he loved - all of us in the motorcycle media world enjoy our jobs, and look forward to going to work in the morning, but we don't expect to pay for it with our lives.

"He was a safe, fast and very experienced rider whom I've followed on public roads and racetracks for more than a decade. I was always totally confident to ride alongside him, because he rode within well-defined limits of about eight-tenths - fast enough to evaluate the motorcycle in a real world way, without straying too close to the edge.

"Kevin covered the same stretch of journalistic tarmac as I did, and did so with a maturity born of experience, leavened with technical expertise. His concise and readable assessments of each new model cut to the quick, and were usually the definitive evaluation of that bike. He was an entertaining companion on launches, and it isn't just his readers who'll miss him. Vale, Kevin....”

The Daily Telegraph’s Andrew English was a long term friend: “My recollection is of a contemporary, a family man with a big sense of responsibility, a sharp and enquiring mind and seemingly endless patience, with a big toothy smile and a deep fund of stories.

"There was no such thing as a quick phone call with Kevin and you always put the phone down that bit wiser and, most often, laughing.

"I also loved him because like me he had a soft spot for the flawed but magnificent Moto Guzzi marque. Most might call this a character defect, I'd call it insight.”

Simon Belton, Yamaha UK’s spokesman: “'It was truly terrible news to hear about Kevin's death. He was a true gentlemen of motorcycle journalism and had a keen eye for detail. Kevin really did 'get' new technology and was always willing to dig deep into the subject to really understand the reasons why manufacturers created unique technical features and would relate this in easy to understand terms to his readers.

"An experienced and steady rider, he was one of the first journalists that came to mind when considering invitations to world launches. His degree of insight into what made a motorcycle tick was refreshing and he really didn't have to drag a knee to know what benefits each model could bring to the average rider.

"He knew about red wine too, so often commandeered the wine list - it took the guesswork out of ordering! Kevin's is a tragic loss to motorcycling and more particular writing.

"Obviously a family-driven man, our heartfelt sympathies go out to his wife and three daughters and the rest of his family and friends. It's really hard to believe we won't see him again.”