In April 2020, Indian motorcycle manufacturing giant TVS Motors officially purchased historic British brand Norton Motorcycles, marking the start of a new era for the troubled company. While the name came with a long and glorious history, particularly for fans of British motorcycles and manufacturing, it also came with some hefty (and recently acquired) baggage.
For those unfamiliar, in early 2020, Norton Motorcycles found itself in administration after a particularly ugly scandal involving allegations of pensions fraud against its previous owner, Stuart Garner. Administration proceedings are similar to what readers in the US might know as bankruptcy proceedings, where an administrator (or firm) is legally assigned to handle the affairs of the business in question. Things like liquidation of remaining assets, prioritisation of existing creditors and making them whole, and related tasks are handled by the administrator(s) in such a case.
At the time, British news organisations the Guardian and ITV teamed up to do a hefty piece of investigative journalism, digging into what happened and what went wrong at Norton during the Garner era. If you’re the type of person who’s ever thought to yourself that this story, with all its numerous twists and turns, would make a phenomenal podcast—as of July 2023, you’re in luck.
Deep-dive news podcast Today in Focus, which is an official audio series of the Guardian, just published the first of a two-part series tying up the loose ends of what happened during the Garner years. It’s titled the Great British Motorcycle Scam, and the first part went live on the Today in Focus podcast feed on Monday, 24 July, 2023.
The first chapter focuses on how Garner, who had neither a motorcycle nor a manufacturing background, came to purchase Norton Motorcycles in the first place. It also delves into the ins and outs of the pensions scam that took hundreds of thousands of pounds from working class British pensioners.
The Guardian states that it reached out to Garner for comment before moving ahead with this story but did not receive a response. For his part, in the past, he has publicly claimed that he did not realise it was a scam at the time. As the podcast discusses, though, many people close to the situation don’t believe that to be true.
The first part is about 40 minutes long, and the second part of this story should be available to listen to on 25 July 2023. It’s available to listen to via your favourite podcast streaming service, so if you’re interested in hearing how the story ends, be sure to check it out.
Since we’ve only heard the first part of this audio wrap-up of events, we can’t tell you what happens—but we’ll be sure to update this post with more information once the second half of the story drops.