French TV Crew - Triumph

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Laurie Bernard & French TV crew

This story was published in Nacelle, TOMCC's monthly magazine. Redaction by Mick Dawes.

Diminutive French film maker Laurie Bernard must have one of the most enviable jobs around, as she rides motorcycles all over the world making documentary films about them!

In recent times she has visited the Ural factory and rode one of their bikes extensively throughout Russia, then onto the Royal Enfield plant and spent a number of weeks riding in India before heading off to the ‘States where she visited the Harley factory, again covering many miles including the length of Route 66, at all times with her film crew in tow preparing footage for her documentaries.

What’s that got to do with us you may ask – well her latest assignment is a documentary about Triumph, the factory, the bikes and the people who ride them. Initially making contact with Northampton based French, Triumph riding ex-pat Francois Rossi, asking if he could arrange for a number of Triumph aficionados to talk to and film in the East Midlands area on Tuesday September 3rd about their passion for the Triumph brand to coincide with her visit to the Hinckley factory. Francois then made contact with Mick Dawes of Leicester Branch and plans were formulated to give her a day to remember.

So in mid August she set off on a Bonneville T100 loaned by a Parisian dealer, crossing the channel, riding up through England to Liverpool where she crossed the Irish sea to attend the Manx, this being the 90 th year celebrations. After witnessing "the most amazing experience of my life" she returned to the mainland spending a week or so enjoying the sights and roads of the Lake District before popping into see Staffordshire based, self confessed ‘Triumph nuts,’ John and Sonia Young on her way south.

A little time was then spent in the capital before making her way to The Cherry Tree Inn in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, our designated meeting point for the day. In total there were about 30 individuals from both the Northampton and Leicester branches including Trish Griffiths who rode up from Bedford on her Hinckley Bonnie. We met with Laurie, typically French (a real pocket rocket), and her crew on a beautiful sunny day, where filming began with a number of people talking about their obsession as she and her crew walked round the car park. As soon as the pub opened lunch was ordered which and eaten at a leisurely pace whilst nattering in the pub garden - mainly about Triumph’s of course and why we ride them.

TOMCC Northants members Ralph, Graham, Francois, Julia, Jasmin, Paul at the Cherry Tree, Market Harborough

With stomachs filled we set off with our man Dick Sleath at the helm once more leading us on a scenic route, only this time to the Hinckley factory. Quite amusing were the antics of the film crew who were dashing backwards and forwards in their little car hanging out of the window filming the proceedings. Once at the factory we took a few more pictures and said our goodbyes to Laurie and her crew. What a cracking day!

Only downside was with the Triumph factory personnel! When the trip was organised some months prior to the visit we had asked if was possible to have a factory tour for all the people involved, (most having taken a day off work) but Triumph surprisingly declined, bit of an own goal when you’ve got 30 good customers wanting see your facility. Laurie was surprised they had said no to our request and she asked again when meeting with her factory guides at reception but they again said no. They didn’t even be bother to come to the car park and speak to us, let alone offer us a cuppa! So incensed was one of the party he later contacted the factory to complain at the way it treats its customers and they sent a bag of key rings as a consolation. Hmm…thanks Triumph good PR – maybe I’ll not bother buying that new Tiger 800 after all!  

However one of our party, Nigel Woodthorpe, who lives nearby, saved the day and invited us all round for a cuppa and a nose at his collection of high-mileage Triumphs. Thanks for your hospitality Nigel – but still don’t know where all those cups came from!

TOMCC Leicester & TOMCC Northants joining forces

Note: the TV program was broadcast in France in April 2014 under the title "Bonnie 'n Laurie". You can view the trailer below.

For those wishing to watch the full 52 minutes, a club copy of the DVD is circulating. Ask the current holder.

DVD currently in the possession of:

Laurie 'n Bonnie Trailer
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