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Andy Smith is a former Police Motorcyclist with years of experience in motorcycle training at all levels. He offers training through 1stClassRider.co.uk, and ride outs through his newsletter blog right here. To contact Andy click here.

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Bike Racing at Castle Combe

Just to let you know if you are looking for somewhere to ride to get out of the rain!

Rob in Bristol has posted a comment on the last blog page to let us know that there is Bike Racing at Castle Combe Circuit this weekend. Saturday & Sunday, 16th & 17th of August.

Castle Combe is normally only used for cars but they do race bikes there, but only once a year.

So if you couldn’t make it to Aberdare Park (and the Hot Pot Cafe for a Special Steak Breakfast) then Castle Combe may be the day out for you.

Castle Combe Village itself is a charming typical Cotswold retreat and some of you movie buffs may know that it was used as the setting in the film ‘Dr Dolittle’ starring Rex Harrison.

Now he could talk to the animals…. but I would rather cook ’em and eat ’em. Dead Farmyard creatures on a plate and a day at the races. What more could you need.

So if anyone wants to join Rob just post a comment and let him know.

The New Motorcycle Test. (An Update)

Just an up date for anyone who might be interested. If you are not interested then close your eyes now and keep them closed for about five minutes.

Training Schools who will be involved in training clients for the new motorcycle test were invited to an open day at the New Multi Purpose Test Centre, Stephenson Street, Newport, last Sunday.

We were briefed on what will be required and then were invited to try the test ourselves.

For us, this was a very useful exercise and much of what will be included in the test is already included in our preparation for clients for the existing test.

One manoeuvre which will require a bit of attention, however, is the turn and swerve.

This requires the candidate to ride around a bend and on exiting the bend to build up their speed to just above 30mph. They will then ride between a channel of cones and will be required to swerve to avoid a second line of cones and then bring the bike to a controlled stop.

We found the stopping distance allowed is ample but the distance allowed to get up to speed coming out of the bend was a bit tight.

I took the exercise on one of my 125’s just to see how someone weighing just 8 stone like me would fare. (For those of you who can’t remember what I look like……my right leg weighs 8 stone on it’s own!)

I was able (but only just on the 2nd occasion) to get up to the required 50kph. But other than this I can’t see any need for panic.

If you know of anyone who may be putting off their getting a bike licence because of the new test, then please tell them to give us a call.

I’d read the DSA literature but this practical session did much to remove any misgivings I had.

(My feelings about the road part of the test taking place in Newport still stand) but the ‘off road’ section should be easy enough for our test candidates to achieve.

You can now open your eyes. (I knew you were peeping and didn’t really have them closed)

See you on a ride out soon.


There Are 2 Responses So Far. »

  1. Nows theres a coincidence.As last weeks ride was cancelled I took myself out for a few hours practice mainly because I need it (turn and swerve!for me thats cornering as usual then)
    Now,for those travelling from the Welsh side my ride went to the Castle Coombe area but I left the
    M4 at Coldra and travelled via Chepstow Gloucester Slough Old Sodbury Marshfield CASTLE COMBE Slaughterford, generally heading for Chippenham,to Biddistone (be careful driving through Biddistone Dock area the ducks will have you) and the medieaval town and village of Corsham and Lacock where they have made films eg Tom Jones and as recent a period drama's its like stepping (or riding, turning & serving)back in time and plenty of hostelries in the area prepared to take Welsh £s.Journey back take the Corsham to Bath Rd via Box.Just passed Bathford thers a signe to M4 or go Bath,Bristol – M4 About 170 miles of West country, fun packed miles.

  2. Nice one Stuart. It’s the only way to travel.

    With regards to the blog post about the new test, I just want to add that several instructors from other training schools actually failed the new test manouevering exercises.

    All of ours passed it. So if you need any training and want to know where to spend your hard earned pounds….

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