Famous West Yorkshire motorcycle dealership Colin Appleyard has sold its two-wheeled operations to focus on its car division. The motorbike and scooter division has been bought by MotoGB, a large importer and retailer of motorcycles from China, who will continue to run the multi-franchise dealership in Keighley, which sells the Suzuki and Yamaha brands.
The dealership was originally set up by former motorcycle racer Colin Appleyard in 1971, selling Hondas and Lambretta scooters, and by 1979 they had expanded into the four wheel world, becoming one of the first dealers for Suzuki cars.
The company became famous with British motorcyclists through its association with racing. Colin’s son, Robin, was a renowned 125cc racer in the 1980s and 1990s, competing in 92 Grand Prix world championship races and winning five British titles under the Colin Appleyard banner.
After Robin’s race career ended, the Colin Appleyard team continued with a focus on developing young talent. Colin and his wife Peggy were hugely respected in the British race paddocks and he was awarded an MBE for ‘Services to Motorcycle Racing’ in the 2013 New Year’s Honours List. Colin passed away in July 2015, aged 79, but the family business and race team has continued to be run by Peggy and Robin, who is now the managing director. Under Robin’s guidance, the Appleyard Macadam racing team has been the dominant force in the British supersport championship in recent years, helping to launch the career of Carole Nash-backed Moto2 star Jake Dixon, and winning the title for the past four seasons with riders Keith Farmer, Jack Kennedy and Rory Skinner.
Speaking about the decision to focus on its car business, Robin Appleyard said: “Our foundations were built in motorcycles but over time it’s actually become a relatively small percentage of our business as a whole, so we have made the decision to focus on our well-respected car group. It’s not something that was decided lightly but is the right decision for the whole group and the staff.
“We believe MotoGB will be able to showcase all of their brands with the help of our experienced existing staff at the motorcycle dealership with road and off road. We would like to thank all our staff and motorcycle customers and wish them and MotoGB every success for the future.”
Under MotoGB’s ownership, the business will continue to trade as Appleyard Motorcycles, selling Benelli, Mondial and Lambretta alongside Suzuki and Yamaha. The Colin Appleyard brand will continue, selling Nissan, Suzuki and Subaru cars from five showrooms across West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.