When the new YZF-R1 motorcycle was unveiled at Filco Farm and Sport in Nelson as part of its global launch this week, two of the people in the showroom had already had a sneak preview of Yamaha’s latest supersport model.
Filco’s owner Dave Filer and one of his mechanics, Jeremy Read, were among just a handful of people to see the bike’s engine being developed and tested at Yamaha’s headquarters in Iwata in Japan. Jeremy and Dave had been invited to the factory after Jeremy was one of just 20 Yamaha mechanics selected from 33,000 applicants worldwide to compete in the Yamaha World Technician Grand Prix last October.
Although Jeremy enjoyed the two-day competition. which tested a wide range of mechanic’s skills including diagnosing and repairing faults, motorcycle and component assembly and a theory examination, he says the highlight of their trip to Iwata was a visit to Yamaha’s headquarters.
“It was absolutely the highlight of the trip visiting the Yamaha factory. The security was so tight they took all our cellphones and cameras off us so nobody could take any photos and we were all dressed up like surgeons in an operating theatre so we didn’t contaminate anything.
“We saw bits and pieces of the R1 engine which was a real privilege and had a tour of the assembly line. It took 390 staff only 90 minutes to assemble a bike, test it on the dyno and then pack it for freighting – it was incredible.”
Jeremy says he also enjoyed experiencing the Japanese culture and surprisingly for a “meat and potatoes Kiwi bloke” he also enjoyed the Japanese food.
“It was my first trip to Japan and I was amazed by the courtesy and friendliness of all the Japanese people. I was also pleasantly surprised by the food – I made a decision to try everything and really enjoyed it.”
Dave says it was a real honour for Filco to have a mechanic in the Yamaha World Technician Grand Prix and he was proud of Jeremy’s top five finish. Jeremy also won the Customer Service section of the competition.
“Jeremy worked really hard over the last four years to try and qualify for the competition so it was a real honour for him to qualify. He won the Australasian competition in 2013 to get there and he was the only mechanic from the Southern Hemisphere at Iwata.”
Jeremy has worked at Filco for nine years after leaving Nayland College and initially training as an engineer and then car mechanic. However, he has always been a motorcycle enthusiast buying his first motorcycle off Dave 25 years ago.
“It was a DT175cc. I used it to ride to school at Nayland.”