Kevin Ash

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Kevin Charles Ash
Born 10 December 1959
Ilford, United Kingdom[1]
Died 22 January 2013(2013-01-22) (aged 53)
George, Western Cape, South Africa[2]
Occupation Journalist, writer
Spouse Caroline Quanjer (m. 1990)

Kevin Ash (1959–2013) was a British motorcycle journalist and author, who contributed to The Daily Telegraph and to Motor Cycle News.

Covering technical as well as topical issues, Ash was described as "one of the key figures of the British motorcycle scene",[3] "one of the world's leading motorcycle journalists",[4] and "the doyen of motorcycle correspondents."[5]

Personal life[edit]

Ash was born in Ilford, a town in north-east London, part of Greater London administrative area. He attended Ipswich School, then studied engineering at Imperial College.[1] In 1990, he married Caroline Quanjer,[1] of the Netherlands,[6] with whom he had three daughters: Laurien, Kirsten and Ingrid, who were 20, 18 and 10 at the time of his death.[7]


Before becoming a journalist, Ash was a motorcycle courier.[8] He also participated in sidecar racing. In 1991, he was a founding contributor at the magazine Fast Bikes.[9]

He then joined Motor Cycle News (MCN) as a road tester in 1993,[10] following a road traffic accident involving a car and a BMW K1100RS ridden by (then) MCN road editor Chris Dabbs, who suffered life-changing injuries.[11] Ash progressed to assistant editor until leaving in 1997 to become a freelance writer.[12]

As a freelancer, he contributed to The Daily Telegraph for 15 years as its motorcycling correspondent.[1][6]

Ash authored a number of motorcycle-related books, including BMW Motorcycles: The Evolution of Excellence and Ducati People: Looking into the Lives of the Men and Women Behind This Legendary Marque.[2] He also authored a guide, Going Dutch, in the late 1990s on the parallel import of right-hand drive cars to the United Kingdom from other countries in the European Union.[6]


Ash was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident near George, Western Cape in South Africa, during a press test ride at the launch of the 2013 BMW R1200GS.[2][8]

Ash crashed his R1200GS motorcycle during one of BMW's six scheduled press launch trips that included a total of 60 to 70 journalists, while passing through Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve on a gravel road between Willowmore and Patensie.[13] UK motorcycle journalist Alun Davies,[13][14] following directly behind Ash on another motorcycle, either struck or narrowly avoided striking (reports vary) the fallen Ash and his motorcycle, which straddled the route. Davies was treated at a hospital for a dislocated shoulder and other injuries and discharged several days later.[13]

BMW engineers from Germany were brought to South Africa to investigate all the test motorcycles.[13] As of April 2013 investigators have neither announced a connection between a possible problem with the motorcycle and the crash[15] nor released formal details of the accident or investigation.

Subsequent to early reports describing the 2013 BMW R1200GS as having a characteristic "head shake" in its front suspension,[16][17] deliveries of the bike were delayed while BMW redesigned the front end.[18][19]


  • Kevin Ash, ed. (1999). Bikes of the Millennium. EMAP Active. ASIN B000S37BOM. 
  • Ash, Kevin (2000). New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Motorcycles. Greenwich Editions. ISBN 978-0862882730. 
  • Ash, Kevin (2002). Ducati People: Looking Into the Lives of the Men and Women Behind this Legendary Marque. Haynes. ISBN 978-1859606865. 
  • Ash, Kevin (2006). BMW Motorcycles: The Evolution of Excellence. Haynes. ISBN 978-1884313578. 
  • Ash, Kevin (2007). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Motorcycles. Oceana. ISBN 978-1845733520. 


  1. ^ a b c d "Kevin Ash obituary", The Daily Telegraph, 23 January 2013 
  2. ^ a b c Matthew Miles (23 January 2013), Rest in Peace, Kevin Ash / British journalist killed in crash at BMW R1200GS press launch, Cycle World, retrieved 24 January 2013 
  3. ^ Mike Schümann (23 January 2013), "Zum Tod von Kevin Ash" [Death of Kevin Ash], Motorrad (in German), retrieved 24 January 2013, Kevin Ash war nicht nur ein hochgradig erfahrener Tester und Journalist... Er galt als eine der Schlüsselfiguren der britischen Motorradszene. 
  4. ^ a b Interview: Kevin Ash, Bikeexif, November 2011, retrieved 24 January 2013 
  5. ^ Paul Hudson (23 January 2013), "Telegraph motorcycling correspondent Kevin Ash dies", The Daily Telegraph, Tony Gallagher, editor, The Daily Telegraph, said: "Kevin Ash was the doyen of motorcycle correspondents." 
  6. ^ a b c English, Andrew (24 January 2013). "Kevin Ash remembered". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Kevin Ash: family man". The Daily Telegraph. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Sara Malm (23 January 2013), "British motorcycle writer killed in accident in front of fellow journalists testing BMW motorcycle at press launch", The Daily Mail 
  9. ^ "Kevin Ash". Fast Bikes. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  10. ^ Motor Cycle News 22 December 1993 p.9 Internal Masthead, Road Tester Kevin Ash. and pp.10–13 MCN First Ride: Kawasaki ZX-9R, Road Test by Kevin Ash Accessed and added 8 October 2014
  11. ^ The Biker's Tale, by Chris Dabbs Retrieved 8 October 2014
  12. ^ "MCN columnist Kevin Ash dies", Motorcycle News, 23 January 2013 
  13. ^ a b c d Nell, Leon (31 January 2013), "Journalist's death cans global launch", George Herald 
  14. ^ "British journalist dies in Cape crash". The PE Herald, 24 January 2013. 
  15. ^ Tibu, Florin (8 March 2013), "2013 BMW R1200GS, the Incomplete Homework?", Autoevolution 
  16. ^ "2013 BMW R1200GS Review"., Kevin Duke, 29 January 2013,. In an instant and with seemingly no provocation, the bike went into a wild tankslapper that threatened to throw me from the bike. It was a very panicked second before the steering regained its composure. 
  17. ^ "2013 BMW R1200GS First Ride"., Bart Madson, 30 January 2013. Later I would hear two editorial colleagues claim a disheartening head shake on the loose stuff at higher speeds – a question mark that will require further evaluation. 
  18. ^ "Possible delays for delivery of 2013 BMW R1200GS". Canada Moto Guide, ZAC KURYLYK, 5 March 2013. According to, deliveries for the 2013 BMW R1200GS are being delayed, as the company tweaks the new bike's front end. BMW is re-working the front ends of the GS bikes they've already built this year, but the last-minute tweaks have set back their production schedule. 
  19. ^ "2013 BMW R1200GS Deliveries Delayed to Fix Suspension Issue"., 4 March 2013, Dennis Chung. BMW has reportedly delayed delivers of the revamped R1200GS in Italy to correct a problem with its Telelever front suspension. According to, BMW discovered a problem where the Telelever meets the steering plate. BMW reportedly has a fix, but it requires some special tooling. 


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