Smiths Honda Visit to Japan - 60 Years on from Bill Smith's first trip in 1958

In December 2023 Mark, son of the TT Legend Bill Smith was privileged to be invited by Honda uk with a select group of dealers who Honda look to build the future of Honda uk motorcycles sales with in the UK.
They were treated to a show round the very confidential motorcycle factory where the large majority of new motorcycles are designed fully built, we also had a meeting with the factory top designers who have worked on many model development over the years and gave us some amazing insight in to the future product we will see in the coming years.  

Mark Smith in Japan head office to meet the full board of directors

They shared the research and development in to the all new E-clutch models that are due to the UK market this year as well as other confidential information. 

They had the honour of going to honda japan head office to meet the full board of directors to discuss the future of motorcycling for Honda.

Then as part of this incredible trip they had a treat in going to Honda own race circuit Motegi, where they had a pleasure of full private show round and laps of the circuit , to compliment this a private showing to see and hear running, Valentino Ross's moto GP bike, Ayrton sennas F1 car, and Jim Redmond’s Moto GP bike all items of the truly amazing Honda museum.

(Left: Mark in centre with Directors and UK honda Dealers. Below: Rossi's Bike)


The visit included a trip to the museum that holds every car and motorcycle Honda have ever produced , including the 1st car Mr Honda made at 16, (see gallery)
as well as the production cars and bikes. There are 2 full floors of almost every race car and motorcycle Honda ever raced, a priceless collection.
A full line up of 50,125, 350, 500 750cc, factory bikes with endless Gran Prix and IOM TT victorys, almost every Moto GP bike and F1 car.

This was an incredible experience, with Mark's father Bill Smith being a factory racer for Honda Japan in the 60s, racing many factory Honda's and with 4 x IOM TT victories aboard a Honda motorcycle there was a good chance a piece of his history could have been in the museum.

To Mark's delight 2 of his bikes were on display;
A 250 factory honda that he came 3rd on at the IOM TT (see gallery)
Also on display was the CB750 Honda he rode with a team including Tommy Rob in the 1970's Daytona 24 hour race in the works Honda Factory Team. (see gallery Its the No.2 bike)


Valentino Rossi Honda Race bike

Also on display was great friend of Bill's and the Smith family ex-works racer Tommy Robbs 50cc that rode to many victories.
Mark comments "To see all this history of my father and tommy was a very proud moment indeed.
Also it was a a piece of history for our family with Bill Smith being the first Honda uk dealer back in 1956, he was privileged like myself to go to Japan to meet the management and visit the factory, his trip a little bit more privileged as he met Mr Honda himself. (see gallery)
He was as impressed back then with the future of Honda motorcycles as I am now, nearly 60 years apart from our trips, this showing the history the smith motorcycle business in Chester has with Honda uk and Honda Japan, this showing how strong the future is for Honda and our business.

If you see Mark in the showroom ask him about the trip, we think he enjoyed it!



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