Advanced Riding Consultant - RoSPA & IAM Examiner
I am a local advanced riding examiner and I do so for both The Institute of Advanced Motorists and RoSPA. I have been an examiner over 30 years and on a rough count I’ve conducted about 1500 civilian advanced motorcycle tests. I will add that, in that whole time I’ve only had three unscheduled and unauthorised dismounts (that’s people who fell off trying too hard to impress!). I’ve enjoyed every second of validating, or not, the quality of riders presented to me but what still drives me to do it?
I moved on through FS1E mopeds, Superdreams, 400/4 Hondas, Kawasaki Z1000 and I even built a Harris Magnum which I turbo charged. Moving on I had dozens of other machines before buying one of the first Triumph 595 machines and then a succession of Yamaha R1s before settling onto a BMW S1000RR in 2010.
To date I’ve had five of these stunning machines and still ride one to this day. I don’t often use it on test because I have a trusty old pre Vtec VFR800Fi for that purpose which has a much better build quality even if it doesn’t have the computing trickery of the BMW which I’m sure would fly itself to Mars if I could only programme the route into the sat nav!
In 1992 I was one of three serving police traffic motorcyclists to start an advanced motorcycle club, which to this day is still one of the largest in the country, The Birmingham Advanced Motorcyclists. The demand was certainly there and the enthusiasm from local bikers was staggering. Over the years we’ve had some exceptional riders and some not so but everyone to a man, or woman, has improved.
As you can see I live for motorcycling and motorcycle training because I absolutely believe and know advanced training works and can be backed up with stats.
We examine because we want to maintain the standards we believe in and the standard your insurance company wants to reward you for. We want to see you ride well and we do it for no other reason than to encourage you to do more and applaud your efforts if you meet our high standards.
Believe me it’s not an easy thing to do and certainly not one you’re likely to achieve alone by reading Roadcraft. We all had an immense amount of guidance to develop our skills. We have all been through the stress of a test (many many tests) and we feel your pain. We also know the elation and sheer pleasure you get from achieving your goal and it’s great to see.
Oh and I forgot to say, you’ll have less wear and tear on your bike, you’ll have a much larger circle of like minded friends to give you a reason/excuse to ride. You’ll enjoy your ride alot more because, guess what? Statistically you’re less likely to get nicked or crash your beloved bike, because guess what? You’ll be riding WITH and LIKE the cops and highly trained riders.
We, the examiners, want you to pass and we want to see you riding a bike ‘properly’, and that doesn’t mean fluorescent jackets and having to wear a cardigan. We want to see you ride progressively, accurately and safely with dynamic and appropriate reaction to potential danger.
We are petrol heads just like you. Do it! You know it makes sense.
I joined West Midlands Police in 1980 and from the off I was in awe of police riders and the skills they had plus the job they did in trying to prevent road death.
I could see that the job was inherently risky due to the nature of work, road environments and the speeds they often carried in those danger zones.
It was clear that with the sheer mileage they covered in this fashion that their ‘relative’ lack of demise was not due to luck alone.
Don’t get me wrong, even the ‘best’ had accidents but not with the frequency you’d think.
I fought tooth and nail to get on a course to learn police ‘System’ riding and was hooked from the first time I ventured out with a highly experienced, super critical and constructive instructor who clearly had occupational competence and could help me.
The rest as they say is history and I vowed to do all I could to spread that word far and wide because ‘IT WORKS’.
The story started long before that though, in fact approx 20 years before aged five on a monkey bike on Morecambe beach in Lancashire with my Dad.
I crashed a lot but I was on sand and I bounced well.
In 1994 I joined the force driving school as an instructor and I cannot tell you how good that job is. Imagine a job where you ride 200 to 250 miles a day for 10 years and all you have to do is seek the best roads and ride them to the best of your ability in company with other like minded souls?
I’ve tested and trained many hundreds of police riders including training the successive instructors. During that time I also instructed on off-road bikes and we went to the Yamaha and KTM schools to be taught by the best, Geraint Jones and Adie Smith and the like.
I had a spell racing CB500s in the Thundersport series finishing 7th in my first season out of about 40. Not bad I thought but the leap to top 5 has to be seen to be believed! I also have instructed on tracks for the IAM, Kawasaki, BMW rider skills and the European Superbike School. Wheelie schools and stunt schools with the likes of Craig Jones followed as the passion evolved.
Police riding courses were only previously available to officers but then the police decided to start a scheme called Bikesafe, which is an introduction to advanced riding. I have run that course since its inception in the Midlands and present at the Motorcycle Show at the NEC every year..
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