Harley-Davidson cancels world record attempt in Silverstone

In the HOG magazine (Summer 2010) I read the following article:

How interesting was that, a ride around Silverstone, and all the fun for a good cause. As you may have seen in a earlier post, I booked my place and got the ticket, so this weekend I jumped on my Road King Classic for the 185 mile (return) ride to Silverstone.

I must admit something smelled wrong, as the instructions for the “Charity Parade” were removed from the website, how odd, could it be they canceled it?

Well, I kept checking back, and back, and my final check was at the hospitality stand of HOG in Silverstone itself. I was told that the circuit parade had to be canceled, because of low number of registrations. I was not the only one disappointed, but I must admit the few dozen Harley riders who made it to Silverstone mid morning that Saturday may have given a pretty poor image for a “new world record attempt“. At a ride with my chapter more bikes can attend on a rainy day.

I was not happy, but specially miffed by the treatment I received from Harley-Davidson. No, not by their helpful “Customer Care Representatives” like Verena, who I already did meet in Lugano, or her boss, they were as sorry as possible and tried to heal the wound with a special Silverstone Classic 2010 Pin, no, I am disappointed by the organization itself for not letting me know about the cancellation in advance.

I get weekly advertisement emails by Harley-Davidson, and request and reminder emails for customer satisfaction survey’s, so they know my email address pretty well. And they – or at least their computer and Verena and her boss – knew that I was registered for the parade, so why did they not send me a nice hype marketing email announcing the deep regret over the cancellation of the “world record breaking” parade but motivating me still to come for all the other nice things happening at the Silverstone Classic?

OK, some of us few might have decide not to come, so what, at least we would have felt part of the family, informed, and not tricked into attendance for simple monetary reasons like I feel now. I do not treat my pillion passenger as luggage, and do not like to be treated by Harley-Davidson just as disposable decoration to its events.

I am sorry it did not turn out as planed, it would have made a interesting ride, and if the hundreds of present Harley employees would have jumped on the dozens of demo bikes available, and given “us” all huge HOG flags to attach the the rear of our bikes, it may still have been a impressive slow moving  parade and good advertisement for Harley-Davidson, like Putin did. We may have set a world record in “brightest bikes with biggest flags” on a circuit, but simply dropping the event silently was the worst of outcomes, and no good omen for next years event, and a big minus in my list of arguments for considering a life membership.

Anyway, it wasn’t a bikers event in the first place, even Harley Davidson proudly displayed “its” car, a HD-branded 2004 Ford F250. It was all about Porsche, Jaguar, Ferrari, Lamborghini, MG, Bentley, Bugatti, you name it. The rows and rows of Ferrari’s and Porsche were impressive, but once seen, whats next?

Few bikers made it to Silverstone, here some from Thames Valley Chapter, not enough for a world record attempt

This guy was guarding the Porsche Riders Club entrance, and when he realized I drove a Harley, he was disappointed it was not a V-Rod with a Porsche engine, but accepted my Road King Classic as close enough family to let me in. He waved goodbye after I left, I say thank you.

Driving past all these cars, I suddenly realized why Harley-Davidson spends so much of its marketing budget on such events: its all about their target group of buyers.

The average Harley owner is 48ish, and has some cash to spend on his toys. Here they were, all together in one place, waiting to realize that a car a nice, but car and a Harley is nicer.

Walking the stands was nice, with some interesting art, but soon you reached the row of nice smelling food stands, and I am on a diet…

intriguing paintwork by danish artist
Kristian von Hornsleth … www.hornsleth.com

All left was to watch the races, little cars turning in circles in front of empty stands, honestly not as exciting as the stadium announcer made them. The question was not so much who will pass who, but like with all older classic things, who will last another round…

Well, I left this slightly disappointing event early enough to make it to the final F1 qualification shootout in front of my TV at home. Vettel got pole.

And I missed the concert with the tone deaf Jedward brothers, I call that good timing.


One Response to “Harley-Davidson cancels world record attempt in Silverstone”

  1. I wrote this post on the 25th, on the 27th the HOG event team wrote me a very kind letter with their sincere apologies, which reached me today.
    HOG wrote: “… unfortunately, we were informed by the organizers … at a very late notice that we would be unable to proceed with a parade on the circuit due to a lack of pre-registered participants…. the late notice we were given did not allow us to communicate this to you prior to the event.”
    HOG, thank you very much, this letter goes a long way, installs trust and makes me feel part of a large caring family. A life membership is on the table again 🙂
    I wish you all the best with your future events, and hope to be able to attend frequently.

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