Having recently left my position as Global Events Manager at Triumph Motorcycles Ltd, to start up Woodcote Events, I was invited to assist in delivering the Speed Triple RR Press Ride in Ronda, Spain, in November 2021. It was an opportunity to work with my successors on a live event, so it was easier for them to see how things are done, with my support and guidance.
Photo: At the Ascari circuit with riders and press (credit Gareth Harford).
Press rides take months of planning so I had organised most of this event prior to my departure. This was not a typical ‘press ride’ event, as there were two parts to it, when there’s normally just one. Because the bike is more of a race model, I wanted to give the press a track experience as well as a road riding experience. I had the idea several years ago to invite current and retired professional racers to accompany the press so, for this one, I chose to invite current and experienced track racers including Taylor Mackenzie, Maria Costello MBE, Dan Linfoot, Billy McConnell, Joe Akroyd, and Silvertsone’s lead motorcycle instructor, Alan ‘Batty’ Batson.
Photo: At the Ascari circuit with Joe Akroyd and Maria Costello MBE (credit Gareth Harford).
For the track element I picked the exclusive Ascari circuit, in the mountains near Ronda. For those who don’t know, it is a private circuit which has the most stunning mountain views. It’s unique and challenging appeal is that it has been designed to imitate the best corners from circuits across Europe and the USA.
Photo: Press setting off for a test ride at Ascari circuit (credit Gareth Harford).
The bike is about handling and handling capability, so I didn't want a circuit that had too many long straights. The location in Ronda was also perfect, so we could then use the infamous Ronda road for the road riding element of the experience. These roads are epic and, because it’s all about demonstrating the bike in the right environment, the press get to really feel how the bike handles on the amazing sweeping bends and fast, tight sections. They also get great images and content from being in such a picturesque location. We bring a professional photographer and media team with us, so we can capture stills and video footage for the press to integrate into their own review content.
Photo: Billy McConnell being captured on video for B Roll footage (credit Gareth Harford).
Every day is a long day on press rides. The Triumph team and racers stayed at a different hotel to the press, so we had to get up very early, have breakfast and ride to the track ahead of the press arriving. We have a crew of technicians who, along with the team, get the bikes ready and lined up, whilst Triumph flags and other branded elements are displayed, so it looks on brand when the press arrive, and they can start photographing the bikes in a line-up.
For this event we had press from the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Benelux, Portugal, and the USA. We invite specific press depending on the style of the bike so, regarding UK press for this event, we had journalists representing Motorcycle News, Fast Bikes, 44teeth, Bennetts Bike Social, Visor Down, plus many more. Each country is hosted on a different day, so the event lasted for 9 days which included time for coordination of bike logistics, setting up and route planning.
Photo: With Alan "Batty" Batson and Simon Hancocks from Visor Down at Ascari (credit Gareth Harford).
After a half day circuit ride and half day road ride, each day ends at around 5:30pm when the press can relax with our racing stars for the evening, whilst the Triumph team have de-brief meetings and plan for the following day, when the next wave of press come in.
I’ve organised several press rides in Ronda, because the roads are so good and the feedback we get from the press is that they love it. It’s perfect riding conditions for them and the photography and video footage make the bike look amazing. With this footage, Triumph create their own video content as well.
Photo: Joe Akroyd being photographed in the paddocks at Ascari (credit Gareth Harford).
We’ve included a Woodcote Events motorcycle tour to Spain for 2022, so we can take our own clients on the Ronda road, as well as explore some of the other beautiful areas and brilliant riding roads of southern Spain. Take a look at our tours here.
Photo: Billy McConnell on track (credit Gareth Harford).
All photos kindly supplied by Gareth Harford.