See you later, Kev

Dailies -

By

kevin

Friend, respected colleague, occasional mentor and respected journalist Kevin Ash has died following a motorcycle crash in South Africa. A Fast Bikes alum, Kevin later contributed to The Sunday Telegraph and MCN, where his unsurpassed technical knowledge and ability to get away with telling the truth made his voice uniquely relevant.

“It is with deep regret that BMW Motorrad confirms the fatal injury of Kevin Ash in a motorcycle accident during a launch event in South Africa,” reads the official statement from the company. “The accident happened to the north of a town called George, 250 kilometres east of Cape Town. Out of respect for Kevin’s family and friends, no further information is being made available at this time.”

Kevin is survived by his wife Caroline and three daughters.

I first met Kev at the launch of the 2005 Triumph Speed Triple in southern France. At the time, I was still a snot-nosed kid (I think he actually called me that) at my first motorcycle launch and was a bit star struck to finally be meeting all the names I’d grown up reading in British bike mags. To me, at least, Kevin was a giant among those men, not least for his friendship with childhood crush, Suzi Perry.

Over drinks that night, we got into a heated argument on classic motorcycles. I argued that anything built prior to the mid-80s was essentially a dinosaur, in contrast to classic cars, which I considered respectably fast by modern standards, even going back five or six decades. Kevin countered with memorized performance figures for virtually every bike or car I could name, with the bikes typically coming out on top (I think I won a moral victory on top speeds), then solidified his superior knowledge with first-hand accounts of riding or driving virtually all of them.

A bleary-eyed, frosty start the next morning saw us in the same riding group as we took off to the hills above Nice. Being a snot-nosed 24 year old, I considered myself a fast guy, an opinion that lasted about a mile trying to keep up with Kev. A true professional, he was able to put the bike at the limits of its performance, then safely keep it there through traffic, during wheelies or while carving up 1st gear mountain switchbacks.

I moved to America shortly after, but kept up correspondence with Kevin, who was always willing to help me get my head around more confusing technical issues. We’d see each other on the occasional motorcycle launch and always made a point of sitting together at dinner and retiring to the bar afterwards for a pint of beer or six. In a world where most other journalists consider me something of a heretic, Kev was always a giant smile and a firmly shaken hand, even while execs were giving speeches and we were really supposed to be quiet.

Convincing Kevin to contribute to HFL is one of my greatest accomplishments with the site, but also one of the easiest. He always did so enthusiastically, promptly and without compensation.

We last spoke on January 11 and he was, as always, his chipper self, saying, “…a mass of press launches coming up and vast amounts of other work, so no complaints!”

Kev died doing what he loved.

Further Reading: a piece by our mutual friend Erin Baker, Andrew English’s memories, MCN

  • Kevin

    Ride in peace, Mr. Ash…

  • Charlie

    Devastating, tragic news. All the best to his family. Rest in peace

  • markbvt

    Sorry for your loss of a friend, Wes. And it’s a loss for the entire motorcycle community to no longer have Kevin’s honest, informed perspective.

  • http://twitter.com/Groomez shaun

    Gonna miss his insight and dedication to 2 wheels.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Wells/568907005 Mark Wells

    RIP

  • David Strakovsky

    RIP

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.otte Scott Otte

    So very sad. He will be missed greatly.

  • ClassB4Ass

    Truly Sad… can’t believe it… he will be deeply missed

  • KriegaUSA

    Very well put, mate. A fitting tribute to a true gentleman scholar of the art and motorcycles and motorcycling.

    I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of bike writers of that caliber, we are still fortunate enough to have among us.

    Godspeed, Kev.

  • George Roberts

    I had the pleasure of riding with Kevin during a Zero Motorcyles launch. The man was a certified biking guru and an all-around great guy. A huge loss to our sport and our profession.

  • Charlie

    Incredible post on his website from his daughter. Wes, as you said, he died doing what he loved. But not what he loved most

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.joshua.silverman Daniel Silverman

    RIP, man

  • moto1203

    We all will miss him a lot. Motorcycle presentations and British humor will never be the same.

  • anon

    Kevin Ash passed away on January 22nd, due to a motorcycle accident during a press launch in South Africa.

    The phrase ‘he died doing what he loved’ sprang to mind, but I would like to stamp that firmly out. He loved his family more, and we love him.

    As his oldest daughter, I only recently started to fully realise just how much further his parenting went than most; on receiving a tearful phone call at Stansted airport, it was a natural response to immediately cancel his press launch and ride back home to teach trigonometry the night before exams.

    Everything he did was entirely for his children and his wife, and a little bit for his cat.
    My parents loved each other very much, and I hope that one day we can learn to live without him.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Thank you very much for commenting. We’re incredibly sorry for your loss, Kevin was a great person and I’m sure a wonderful father.

  • w0lfatncsu

    RIP

  • SugarCream

    I am deeply touched by the news. My thoughts with his friends and family.

    Wes, his daughter left a message to ashonbikes.com.

    http://i1289.photobucket.com/albums/b510/matthewhidden/KevinsWebsiteBanner_zpse6596941.png

  • http://twitter.com/JackNorton8064 Jack Norton

    RIP. Thoughts with his family

  • equ

    Very sad, but he left behind a legacy of good reviewing. RIP…

  • Kevin

    This is really fucking me up today. I never met the man, but I have such huge respect for his work and I never missed one of his reviews. Hell, I would look forward to them. What a sad, sad, tragic day. I can’t believe it.

  • Dennis Hightower

    He was an island of calm credibility in a sea of hype…

  • http://www.facebook.com/SashaPave Sasha Pave

    RIP Kev

  • http://www.facebook.com/hellomynameis.adrien Hellomynameis Adrien

    I am very sorry to learn about this. He was an incredible voice for our world that will be missed by all.
    Fucking sux.

  • ted

    One of the best and most honest reviewers out there always had a pleasure reading his reviews especially on the more boutique side of motorcycles. hope he will inspire more and more like him

  • FiveG

    Kevin’s reviews steered me on several bike choices. He talked as someone who really got to understand how a bike would work in the “real world,” whether that be the track or fun roads. Either way, you felt like after reading his review that you had a much better sense of whether the bike would meet your mission (not generic marketing hype in which virtually every bike is the greatest thing since the last greatest thing). Warts mentioned, but not to the point where they outweighed what the bike would do for real riders.

    Ride in peace, Kevin. And, my prayers for him and his family