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UK

22/03/2019

A special web page dedicated to the memory of Granby Jack has been created for people who knew him to pay tribute and share their stories.

http://granbyjack.muchloved.com

The following tribute was contributed by Jack's daughter, Julie.

My father, John Glover - or ‘Granby Jack’ as he was known to most - dedicated his adult life to his passion for motorcycles. As a young man he was an enthusiastic club racer and in 1967, to fund his expensive hobby after completing his engineering apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce in Derby, he rented a tiny, two-room unit in Granby Street, Ilkeston, where Granby Motors was born.

One of the pioneers of Japanese bike sales in the UK, the business grew quickly and soon moved to larger premises in Ilkeston, with a flat above into which Jack moved with wife Gloria. Following the birth of his son, Jack gave up racing but Granby Motors maintained its involvement in the UK road racing scene for the next 30 years, initially selling the Spondon Engineering-framed Granby Yamaha 125, raced by British champion and fellow Rolls-Royce alumnus Austin Hockley in the early 1970s, and supporting the early racing careers of Neil Tuxworth and several other local riders.

By the late 1980s, Granby Motors had become one of the UK’s largest motorcycle dealers, with a large warehouse and five retail outlets across the East Midlands, holding franchises between them for all the major Japanese manufacturers.

My father loved to travel and never really left his work far behind. He consequently had a lot of friends and business contacts abroad. Leveraging these, he built a parallel (no pun intended) business, importing and exporting bikes and parts around the globe (including back to Japan – earning him a starring role in several “coals-to-Newcastle”-style national news reports), exploiting pre-single-currency local market pricing and significantly undercutting the official distributors in the process.

Jack saw this as a fair and reasonable activity and helped form the trade organisation the Association of Parallel Importers to provide a code of conduct and reassure consumers. Following a protracted legal battle over trademark infringement with Honda UK in 1999, the import business disappeared overnight, Granby Motors lost its retail franchises in quick succession and its finance company withdrew, leaving the business hanging in the balance.

Jack carried on undeterred, focusing on smaller machines, used bikes and spares. Ever the entrepreneur, he went off-script in seeking to replace the lost trade, including pioneering forays into e-bikes and Chinese mopeds and scooters but the business never fully recovered and by 2006, Granby Motors was reduced to a single retail outlet in Ilkeston.

Never afraid to get his hands dirty - literally and metaphorically - he supported the business financially and continued working even as his health deteriorated, until December 2015 when the difficult decision was made to close the business for good.

He died peacefully at home on 30 January.