Tour blog 13

On Tour Van recieves free wheel alignment courtesy of some South African expertise

Published:  31 October, 2008

Friday 31st October . . .

Kevin Jacques at Cherry Lane Motors

Kevin says he's never heard of BEN, which means it's time to do my sales pitch and tell him about the help it can offer anyone in the trade, including technicians.

We jump back in the van and swing round the corner to our next stop, no thanks to our increasingly irritating sat nav, which insists on repeating directions at least four times (I know men aren't renowned for listening but we really aren't that bad, are we? Don't bother answering that one actually).

Sitting at his desk in the reception area, he says it's also helped win business away from franchised dealers. It's good to see another independent not just with the ability but also the confidence to take on local dealers.

The husband and wife pair offer one of the few non-franchised dealer alignment services around and do virtually all the work on behalf of the local dealer community.

The process itself is quicker than I imagined and there are cars virtually lining up outside for Peter to swing into the workshop and onto the MOT ramp.

Gerrit makes sense of the angles and graphics on the computer screen in seconds and is kind enough to let us get our Renault Trafic (another big thank you to Renault for loaning us their van) up on the ramp.

According to Gerrit, the results show that Simon has been a good boy at the wheel and not smashed into any kerbs. I never doubted him for a second (honest)!

It turns out that Gerrit was - like my father - born in Holland. We exchange pleasantries in Dutch and he rushes off to get some speciality Dutch salted liquorice. Mmmm. It's like Marmite really. You either love it or hate it. Fortunately, I've always been in the first of the two camps.

We leave with more pleasant memories of more great hospitality from independent operators who are rightly proud and passionate about their businesses.

Realising that time is creeping on, we get our van off the ramp and head down the road. We grab some sandwiches from a petrol station - that somehow leave us both more hungry than before we ate.

From there we head towards Preston for a rendezvous with Automotive Diagnostic Solutions - aka the home of Aftermarket technical writer and renowned diagnostic master Frank Massey.

That all folks!

P.S. (Story uploaded by Si - "Master Van Driver" and unofficial photographer - I've given Tom a turn at the wheel - relegated to passenger seat for a well earned break!)

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