20 June 2014 MORE Off-Road taster days kick off successfully

The annual Motor Cycle Industry Association motorcycle off-road experience for those new to the sport kicked off on Friday 20 June and early signs were that yet more people are being convinced of the fun and benefits off riding a trail, motocross or trials bike.

Concentrating initially on entry and mid-capacity machines, the event was hosted for the first time at Bevercotes in Nottinghamshire this year and supported widely from all sides of the UK motorcycle industry. With machines from all four Japanese manufacturers - and representation from a selection of European brands too –the variety of machines available to try was vast; a good thing given the number of eager riders who turned up for a female-only morning session.

With the vast majority of those who applied for places via the MORE web site complete novices off-road, the chance to learn in a reassuring environment and sharing their experiences with other female riders was welcomed.

For Kawasaki, the Mick Extance Kawasaki Off-Road experience were at the event in force and quickly set about making sure riders had the correct clothing and safety instruction following an opening speech and briefing by MCI Off-Road Group Chairman and Kawasaki Motors UK General Manager, Howard Dale.

“The track looked great and we wanted people to be able to ride safely as soon as possible so I kept the briefing short”, commented Dale. “ Under the guidance of Mick and his team - along with the training experts from other manufacturers - the first groups were soon circulating the training paddock and having the advantage of one-to-one hints and tips before taking to the track proper”.

Provided courtesy of the Amateur Motor Cycle Association (AMCA), the track was in great condition and ready for the first riders by mid-morning as Mick Extance explains.

“We like to keep a momentum going. Confidence is good, over confidence is bad. We set about teach body positioning, throttle control and making sure our riders were settled, happy and safe. It still amazes how quickly someone who has never ever ridden off-road can master the basic skills. Even with a helmet and googles on you can see their huge smiles after just a lap or two”.

Echoing Mick’s sentiments was Emily from Oxford who normally rides a 400cc machine on the road.

“I found out about the event via a forum that the female TT racer Maria Costello posts on. I was worried about falling off like everyone was but that soon evaporated and I had a great time. I rode a KLX125 Kawasaki which was small, and really easy to manage. There was a quite steep hill and it looked quite daunting at first but now I feel I have really achieved something – I would certainly ride off-road again and recommend the MORE event to anyone male or female.”

Abi from Norfolk has a 600cc sports machine she rides on the road and saw her initial concerns allayed by the one-on-one teaching approach.

“It was really good, a real confidence booster. The body position is totally different to a road bike. That said you grip more with your knees and I honestly think I learned things here that will translate to me being a better and safer rider on road. I did have a few spills and I am sure I found the biggest dip on the whole course to fall off into but I had a genuinely great time and everyone was just so welcoming”.

Lapping consistently across the whole morning was Nicky from Aylesbury.

“Mick allocated the ideal bike for me to learn on, I was in control from the start and enjoying it from the very first lap. I must have done eight or nine laps in all and I would have done more if time allowed.
Normally I would not think about signing up for the morning women only session but I would really recommend it, the atmosphere was fun and friendly and it’s something I’d gladly do again.”  

Summing up at lunchtime on the first day of four, Howard Dale was pleased that the 2014 event was already building on the success of the previous year.

“It’s a sign that there is a real latent interest in off-road riding that the hundreds of 2014 places were snapped up very soon after they were made available to the public. Along with the AMCA, other MCI manufacturer members and numerous supporters in the run up to the event and on the day, we have delivered something we can be proud of.

Our main aim is to pass on the passion that we all have for off road riding. We supply the bikes, the clothing and the expert advice. All that our guests need to do is supply the desire to learn and willingness to enjoy themselves – by today’s evidence I’d say we had the first of another batch of off-road converts on our hands.”