This past week saw the start of a major redevelopment of the company’s manufacturing site in Warrington, Cheshire. Increased global demand for the brand has resulted in the need to expand and to ensure the business can satisfy all future customer requirements. The first phase of the project is a brand new Research & Development centre. This 10,000 square foot building will house one of the finest independent laboratories in the country and staff across technical, sales, marketing and senior management. With over a million pounds worth of technical equipment, the facility will be at the cutting edge of the lubricants industry. The current laboratory already runs 20,000 quality control tests a year and works with major OEM’s, having factory approvals from the likes of Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz to name but two. Rock prides itself on both its quality and diverse range of products and this new facility will only enhance the business’s ability to produce the very finest lubricants possible.
Rock Oil is one of the few remaining blenders of lubricants still manufacturing in the UK and has worked with multiple British and World champions across various motorsport disciplines. Rock Oil is currently the official lubricant partner of the British Superbike Series which is the biggest domestic motorcycle race series in the world.
Current sponsored athletes include Tai Woffinden the current world speedway champion and Dougie Lampkin 12 time World Trial champion. Rock Oil powered the Gearlink Kawasaki of Alistair Seeley when he broke the record for most race wins at this year’s North West 200 and lubricated Ian Hutchinson’s Padgetts Honda record 5 race wins round the famous Isle of Man circuit in 2010. Rock Oil is synonymous with quality and performance and the new R&D centre will ensure they continue to produce the very best lubricants possible for future champions.
The company is rightly proud to be a British manufacturer and has always been based in Warrington since its inception nearly 90 years ago. It is still a family firm albeit one that has nearly 100 employees and exports to nearly 70 countries worldwide.
After 25 years as Managing Director of Rock Oil Charles is stepping down from the position and taking up a new role as Chairman. Greg Hewitt will become Managing Director from the 2nd of April and will take over the reins with the company being the strongest it’s ever been. Charles has been instrumental in driving the company to where it is today and has led the company to a record turnover with sales in over 40 countries worldwide.
As Charles prepares to change roles in the business he was delighted to recently receive a prestigious award. He was nominated as business leader of the year by the Cheshire High Sheriff Awards and was surprised to have even been considered for nomination. Having completed 25 years in charge and with the company set to have its most successful year in its long history (85 years last September) it seemed a fitting way to end his tenure as Managing Director when he scooped the award. Charles had the following to say "I am delighted to win such a prestigious award. It recognises the significant impact of creating and leading a unified and talented team and also the worldwide success of brand Rock Oil. It has massive personal poignancy for me, as I step aside from the Managing Directors role - after 25 years. So, a massive thank you to all involved."
Greg has been with the business for 13 years himself and has played a significant role in recent years as the business has gone from strength to strength. Greg’s promotion to Managing Director does not mean Charles is taking a back seat, as his new role as Group Chairman will more than ensure he remains a very active and prominent member of the management team. Both Charles and Greg foresee yet more growth for Rock Oil with greater amounts of re-investment and a bright future for staff and trading partners.
Every year in December we hold a small but special Christmas celebration at the Rock Oil head office. It's a longheld Rock family tradition where staff each bring in something and we have an impromptu get together in the board room. This time a special homemade Rock Oil cake was brought in by Andy Black, a very recent addition to our sales force.
In the early 1980’s Charles Hewitt, the now Chairman, but at that time fledgling marketing and salesman, took to the fields and circuits and began to build relationships with professional racing teams. The first major partnership was the support of the 'Team Green' Kawasaki Motocross team of the mid eighties which started Rock down the path of motorcycle racing support. So much so that many people still remember the team and Rock’s involvement over 30 years later. David Thorpe, 3 time World 500cc MX Champion, was a part of this team and still runs on Rock Oil a quarter of a century later with his Buildbase Honda MX team. The intervening years have seen a succession of who's who in racing running under the Rock banner.
Here are just a few of those teams and riders:
Rock has also worked in conjunction with just about all the major manufacturers such as Yamaha, Ducati, Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki and Triumph. This support of racing does not just apply to the very top levels of competition and we have always supported grass roots racing.
Rock are still very much involved in racing support and product development and are still working with major racing teams and individuals from youth level up to world title contenders. Areas supported include grasstrack, karting, motocross, road and track racing, rallying and even a team competing at Le Mans. Also worthy of mention is our involvement in support as diverse as a NASA project and an Everest expedition! This eclectic mix of projects and sports is a testament to the variety of high performing products Rock manufacture and a commitment to producing the very finest lubricants possible.