Getting dirty - off road experience

Posted: 13 Jul 2013


Road riding is great but if you really want to learn how to control a bike then you need to get dirty and off-road is the place where you learn all about ‘proper’ machine control.

The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) have cottoned on to the fact that not all bike riders have ridden off road before, so for the last two years they’ve set up taster days where us clean living road riders can get some air in a controlled and well supervised environment. For a paltry £15, 400 members of the public who registered to MORE (Motorcycle Off Road Experience) headed off to Brake Hill Farm near Kettering, got kitted up and were shown the ropes on a practice track under instruction from a few legendary motorcross riders. Not one to name drop or anything but Mick Extance, Dave Thorpe, Ady Smith and Barry Johnson were on hand to show us what it’s all about…

Bikes were provided by KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki and nerves were settled by a pep talk and a few basic tips and skills from the respective team leaders/world champions before they sent the nervously excited novice riders out on track. Body positioning is one area road riders struggle with when riding off road for the first time, you need to sit well forward to get some weight over the front end, keep your arms bent, stick a leg out in the corners and get used to standing up a lot when needed. Like ducklings leaving a protective mother for the first time the riders toddle off on a simple grass circuit to get the hang of things before being thrown over the metaphorical waterfall to impending doom, well on to the fully-fledged mucky looking motocross track at any rate. Luckily our experienced guides took us around and showed us how to tackle what appeared to be near vertical climbs, huge drop offs and jaw dropping jumps. Well that’s how they feel as you trust in the instructor for the first time. You soon start to relax and even crack a smile once you’ve completed what looked like an impossible obstacle, these bikes can climb a vertical wall!

Over the course of a morning session we all managed to get a good few laps of the track done, with only a few comedy crashes to laugh about and I think we all managed to get ‘some air’ before it was all over. It’s fair to say that everybody came back with a beaming smile on their faces and as we got changed talk was about which bike everybody wanted to buy and where they could ride it once they’d bought one.

Off-road is a year round sport and whether you fancy enduro, motocross or just having a laugh with a group of mates on our legal green lanes it’s an area of biking you really should try. If you’d like to get on the taster days next year make sure you ‘like’ Motorcycle Off-Road Experience on Facebook, or visit if you can’t wait until next summer check out the trips, days out and holidays offered by the professional riders in conjunction with their chosen manufacturer. You’ll love it! Right I’m off to book a few days in Spain with Mick Extance…

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