While in Abu Dhabi Sam McClusky sat down with Antony Allsop, Managing Director of Rage Motorsports who was briefly in the city to perform at IDEX 2013. Sam and Antony chew the fat about the company’s roots and future, the oddest customer requests they’ve received, Rage’s next port of call around the globe, and why testing a Rage buggy on a go-kart track may not necessarily be the best activity for newbies.
Guest Author – Samuel McClusky
Antony, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved with Rage Motorsports.
“Well I was originally a customer back in 2007. I was in insurance at the time and I bought a single-seater. But I was disgruntled with my situation and was looking for something different. Not long after I sold that business, I got involved with Rage Motors. The business was run by engineers, which isn’t always the best thing!
“The business lost money regularly every year, so it just needed a bit of a kick up the bum. In 2008 I was there pretty much for 12 months and I’d sunk money into it. Sadly, it all went and at the end of that period and with all the investment gone, we would have to voluntarily liquidate.
“So it was quite a serious situation. We did manage to find somebody but they had a clause in their contract which stated that if they took over there was no room for me. So I left. I didn’t formally work for Rage after that, but I continued in the background to support the business and I introduced sales and so forth, and sort of worked on an informal consultancy basis.”
But you would return to an official role later on, wouldn’t you?
“I returned formally as director and shareholder and the people that came in with money sadly went. In fact the business did actually go into receivership and the company changed name for a short period of time to DGR.
“When Rage Motor went into receivership – I think about six months afterwards – DGR actually purchased the name Rage Motorsports from the receivers. So it’s the same people, same building, same everything. It’s a real quirk of the UK’s Company Law and quite disappointing in certain respects, but what it did mean was that through adversity we survived. In fact I’m pleased to say as a consequence of that, as well as other things that occurred, we have actually managed to turn things around.”
You’ve established yourself as a contender in the British Rally Championship. Is there something similar you’d consider developing in the region?
“The reason for my being here was to try and understand what it is we can develop in the region. We have a customer that has had buggies for quite some time but not used them. They in fact have been in storage for at least 12 months and the reason for that is because the circuit they have built is not quite right. I went to see the facility not too long ago and it looks fine to me, but they want to put some observation cameras and a few irrigation sprinkler systems in place to keep the surface intact, since the track is very loose and quite dusty.
This is down in Jebel Ali?
“Al Forsan, so they’re hoping now to be up and running in a couple of months but unfortunately summer is about to hit so realistically it will be after that. Again that is disappointing for us as we see it as a launch pad in the region: once that’s up and running people will see it, and they’ll get it.
“In the UK I have taken many, many orders for buggies from people who have only seen YouTube clips and not even sat in one. They have paid £40-45,000 ($60k-$70k) to have one and they have not been disappointed.”