October 20 2005.

Guy Steel (above) won a second accolade for Chiswick Honda last week when he was crowned the first ever Honda Motorcycles Sales Person of the Year.  Chiswick Honda's trophy cabinet will soon need expanding as Guy's colleague Jon Paskett was crowned Honda Motorcycles Technician of the Year on the same day.
Guy had beaten hundreds of hopefuls just to get to the day-long final of the inaugural Motorcycles Sales Person of the Year award, held at Honda's cutting-edge skills organisation, the Honda Institute.  Guy went head-to-head with four other top Honda motorcycles sales people, all hand-picked on the strength of their answers to a skills questionnaire distributed to all motorcycle dealerships across the UK. 
Friday's gruelling final featured a range of realistic tests including designing a business proposal and dealing with a customer telephone enquiry, product test and product handover.
"I entered Sales Person of the Year because I'm a competitive person and I wanted to measure my skills against those of my peers," explained Steel.  "I enjoy a challenge and it was a great event - thought-provoking, relevant and fair as well as a good opportunity to meet other dealers.
"At the evening's gala dinner I was quite confident about the competition.  I think my overriding feeling when my name was announced was of relief - I was pleased that all my efforts were worthwhile.  I put my win down to career motivation; I love my job and I take it very seriously.  I think Honda's motorcycles are fantastic and this helps as I have absolute confidence in the product I'm selling.  I work for a very pro-active dealership and have many great customers who come back time and time again.  I'm thrilled that after selling Honda motorcycles for more than 17 years I have reached this level in my career."
"Guy should be extremely proud of himself," added Paul Cape, one of the Honda Institute's panel of assessors.  "The standard of motorcycle finalists was exceptional.  They all had excellent knowledge both of their products and of the brand as well as impressive inter-personal skills.  We really had to look at the minutiae to decide between them; their body language, the confidence they inspired and the clarity of their explanations.  Guy was the deserving recipient of the first ever Honda Motorcycles Sales Person of the Year title but if I ran a dealership, I would happily employ all the finalists!"
John Paskett was one of hundreds of Honda technicians who had completed a questionnaire designed by the Honda Institute, Honda's cutting-edge skills training organisation, to test the knowledge of its most experienced technicians.  Just five motorcycle technician finalists were then invited to the Honda Institute for Friday's final.
"The Motorcycle Technician of the Year final was one of the most high pressure experiences of my life!" explained Paskett.  "The five of us were each paired with a VFR800 ABS.  The scenario was that an employee had stripped down the bike before going on holiday, leaving no information about what he'd done or what faults it had.  We had to reassemble the bike, work out its faults, repair them and then make it presentable for the customer, who was coming to collect it in just six hours time.
"It was a realistic scenario but it was extremely tense, as we had examiners watching our every move throughout the day.  The VFR800 ABS is technically a showcase bike featuring all of Honda's top technologies so it was quite complicated.  They're also very reliable bikes so all the repair work - engine, electrics, brakes and immobiliser - was not everyday stuff.  The assessors had also added some sneaky little extras like disconnecting the horn, taking the bulb out of a tail light and decoding one of the keys just to check we were thorough in your checking!
"Once I'd finished I really started worrying about what I could have done wrong.  By the time we went to the evening's gala dinner I'd convinced myself I'd missed something.  It was therefore a big surprise to hear I'd won.  I am absolutely over the moon."
"Jon should be very proud of his win," commented Eliot Smith, a Honda Institute Motorcycle Technician of the Year assessor.  "The tasks set were designed to test a technician who is at the top of his field so his technical knowledge had to be exemplary.  We were also looking for that little bit extra; a logical diagnostic approach, good use of the workshop manual and a professional attitude in terms of appearance, approachability, housekeeping and safety.  Jon impressed us in all of these areas and is wholly deserving of the title 'Motorcycle Technician of the Year'."
"Jon did his dealership, Honda and himself proud, as did all of the finalists," finished Geoff Matthews, Head of the Honda Institute.  "As our founder Mr. Honda said, 'If Honda does not race, there is no Honda'.  It is this competitive spirit that defines Honda and testing our technicians at the Honda Institute is just as important as testing our engines on a Formula 1 circuit.  This is why we wrote all the names of our technician finalists on the rear wing of the B.A.R-Honda Formula 1 car in Shanghai at the weekend.  Competition inspires people to do their best and that is what Jon did on Friday.  Everyone at the Honda Institute offers their congratulations."

Pictured below: Dave Hancock (left), Head of Customer Services, Honda (UK) Motorcycles, hands Jon Paskett (right) his Honda Motorcycle Technician of the Year award.