It’s just as well Bloor Holdings includes the world-famous Triumph Motorcycles. Because it’s the bike business which is keeping the group on the road, giving a much needed lift to the less high-revving housing business.

The slump in house sales has hit Bloor Homes hard, with a 17 per cent downturn in sales and £53 million operating deficit reported in its last available figures covering the year to 2008.

The sluggish housing market, combined with heavy investment in the motorcycle business, brought the Bloor Holdings' loss to £49.3 million, down from a £53 million profit the previous year.

The company has seen its debt double, and has refinanced its debt through to 2012 with new facilities, which it believes will see it through the current difficult times.

Meanwhile Bloor Homes has off-loaded some of its slow selling apartments to housing associations, and continues to come up with ingenious ways of keeping the sluggish property market on the move.

Bloor Homes – one of the largest privately-owned housebuilding groups in the UK – is offering a shared equity schemes for some of its properties in which they only pay 85 per cent of the property’s value.

The Measham-based company is also offering part exchange schemes to people who are struggling to sell their own house.

Bloor Homes continues to invest in a number of housing schemes including new developments in Swindon, Oxfordshire, Sussex and Gloucester. The company scooped the Best Property award for 2008 in the UK Property Awards.

It’s been a better year for 66-year-old John Bloor’s other business, the revitalised Triumph Motorcycles, and our estimation of Triumph’s value keeps John Bloor firmly in the top half of our Rich List.

Former business minister, ex-director of the CBI and respected Brummie Lord Digby Jones was appointed non-executive chairman of Triumph Motorcycles in June 2009.

Triumph sales are up 29 per cent, and a new global online parts ordering scheme links Triumph’s Hinckley factory to a new manufacturing facility in lower-cost Thailand, helping the business’s future prospects.

The Hinckley factory is already one of the most efficient in the bike-making business, capable of turning out a motorcycle engine every 90 seconds.

The legendary Triumph Bonneville celebrated its 50th anniversary by shattering no less than five world land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

New models from Triumph’s Hinckley factory include the 1600cc six-speed Thunderbird twin cylinder cruiser and a high spec version of the award-winning Street Triple 675cc machine. A recovery in the US economy would help sales no end.

Derbyshire-born property millionaire John Bloor rescued the collapsed Triumph in 1983 and has poured more than £80 million into rebuilding the 100 year-old brand. He was awarded the OBE in 1995 for services to the motorcycle industry and holds an honorary law degree from Leicester University.