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Another life threatening moment happened a Begger’s Hole after a high-speed car struck him, earning Martin the nickname ‘Lucky’. “Being hit by a car followed another ordinary night in the pub. I say ordinary but it did feature Alan Clarke firing off Chinese rockets from his backside (ed’s note: this is VERY dangerous and NOT recommended). I was strolling back to the Lake when a car flew over the humped back bridge doing about 80 miles an hour. The next thing I know Dougal was sitting astride me.

“My instant reaction was to get up and head off to North Bay as I was on the fish.

“It transpired that I had broken my leg, smashed my head and damaged my arm. I realised it was serious when I was taken to the Emergency department of the hospital and had a dozen people fussing over me. “I was there for three weeks and had to run the business from the bed using my new Nokia brick!” Those close to Martin will know he is an avid England football fan, following the Three Lions around the world. He recalls how gutted he was in 1998 when David Beckham got shown a straight red card for kicking Diego Simeone during a World Cup game. “I have to confess to hating Beckham then.” Roll on three years and with the clock on 93 minutes, England were trailing 2-1 at Old Trafford to an unfancied Greek team that was still three years from stunning Europe by winning Euro 2004. England needed an equaliser; otherwise Germany would top Group 9 and qualify automatically, despite being held at home by Finland. So up stepped Beckham and, with pretty much the last kick of the game, he directed an unstoppable 30-yard free kick past the goalkeeper and into the net at the Stretford End. With the swing of a boot, England had qualified and Germany were left to face a play- off against Ukraine for the right to join Sven-Goran Eriksson’s players in Japan/South Korea.

“No one jumped higher than me when the net bulged – not just because it meant England had qualified but unknown to everyone I had taken a full page advert in Carp Talk advertising our indicators with the three lions logo on and had 20,000 of them ready to buy. If we hadn’t gone through they wouldn’t have sold. We ended up selling 60,0000 in total,” Martin explains. The tackle industry and particularly the carp market have become very competitive over recent years and running such a company has been somewhat challenging and Martin openly admits that Solar has suffered. “Over the past three years there have been a lot of problems with various legal issues taking up an awful amount of my time. I will be more than happy if I never see another solicitor in my lifetime.

“These issues took time away from

the core business and when you’ve got all that going on it messes with your head. You can’t concentrate on work, you can’t sleep at night and before you know where you are, the brand’s treading water rather than pushing forwards at the speed that we always were.

It is evident despite his buzzing mind that Martin is a strong character. “Although a lot has gone on I

really have No regrets. I believe that everything happens for a reason, whatever that may be, so when things aren’t going your way you just have to deal with whatever is thrown at you and learn from it. “We all have hurdles to climb, sometimes higher than we expect, but all in all, getting over the hurdles is a test and makes you a stronger person. In the words of my old mate Roger Smith “pick yourself up, dust yourself down and get on with it “ Now things are settling down once again and getting on with making

Solar the force that it once was.” One of the key people bringing about stability is Jonathan Bones who has taken on much of the day-to-day running of the company. “I’ve spent too long trying to ‘spin all the plates” myself, so it was important to bring in some good people to take over the running of different aspects of the business and it has brought a lot more structure. I’ve been bitten in the past and had some bad luck with employees, I’ve definitely been battered around a bit with a few wrong ‘uns, but now the staff are in place to look after things and so allow me more time for the things I am best spending my time doing, which is product development. “You’ll notice from all the samples

around here” he says as we stand in the Solar warehouse, “That we have a huge new range of products that will be released for 2018, launching Solar Tackle in to parts of the carp market that we haven’t ventured into before. This year has been busy, developing and sorting bivvies, bedchairs, luggage and much more, but the first part of that huge project is now well and truly underway and it’s really exciting. I honestly believe that Solar Tackle’s best and biggest days are now ahead of us, despite all of the successes the brand has already enjoyed in its long history.” As Solar completes 30 years of trading there are no regrets for the man that just loves life. His thirst for ideas, experiences and fun is as strong as it has always been. The ideas allow him to enjoy himself and that is something that he wants to do till the day he finally says goodbye.

SOLAR TACKLE T 01322 277345 E W

February 2018 | Tackle & Guns | 53

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