From the Saddle (Slipstream July 2014)

Hi everyone.

This month I am pleased to announce that TVAM has a new Run Report Form (RRF). The old form had been around for quite a number of years and had received only minor updates over that period. Also, it did not accurately reflect the same marking categories or grades seen on the IAM Examiner’s Test Report. So, with that in mind, it has been overhauled while still maintaining the general look and feel that you are all familiar with. Let’s look at what has changed:

CO Jul-14 pic1The first thing you will notice is the old rating of A–E has been replaced by grades 1-5. We’ve also added a description to explain what each number means, with 1 meaning Excellent and 2 meaning Good etc.

CO Jul-14 pic2
The marking for each category has also changed to match the Examiner’s Test Report with the old Plus / Ave / Minus being replaced by scores of 1 to 5.

CO Jul-14 pic3Safety, as always, is the number one priority so this section stays at the top of the new form. You can see that grades 1 and 2 are shaded for each item, and indicate the scores you should be aiming for prior to taking your test.

CO Jul-14 pic4The old sections called Progress and Speed have been replaced with a new section called Riding Style. It contains most of the items from the two old sections but also includes many of the items from the Examiner’s Test Report that were not mentioned before, such as Slow Riding and Eco-Riding.

The sections for Bends, Overtakes and Junctions have all been retained although they have been placed in a different sequence.


Safe riding everyone.

Andy Wedge
Chief Observer


Castle Combe Track Day Now Booking

castle_coombe300As we had so much fun last time we have provisionally booked the circuit again.

Come and join us for a TVAM exclusive track and training day at the fabulous Castle Combe circuit on Tuesday 30th September 2014.

We have 56 spaces available at a very reasonable £120 per rider, so book early to avoid disappointment.

There will be 4 groups; Novice, Novice/Inter, Intermediate, Experienced.

Sessions will be 15 min duration.

This is a road bike only event for those riders wishing to explore the full capabilities of their bike in a safe and controlled environment.  Track Guidance available from our knowledgeable team of Observers as well as on site Instructors.

There are strict noise limits here, your bike will need to pass the limit of 105db static test at half a meter and at three quarters of your rev range.

One or two piece Leathers are advised, but Zip together Textiles with CE armour are allowed. There is no requirement for ACU approved helmets (Gold Sticker) at this event.

For further information contact Dave Hepworth at

To book your place go to the TVAM Webshop.

Biker Down Courses

biker down_col


New courses in 2014 open to all but TVAM are very welcome.

All start at 7.30pm

16th July – (cancelled due to industrial action)

More courses from September after a summer break

All held at Marlow Fire Station

Please contact
Keith Wheeler
Road Safety Officer
01296 744431 / 07767 412076

to book your slot.

From the Chair (Slipstream May 2014)


Hi everyone

Andy Wedge and I represented TVAM in the IAM Region 2 meeting last month. There was an in-depth presentation of 92 slides, which will be in our documents folder on the TVAM website for those of you who would like full details.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Sales of Skills for Life in our region are up by 6% year on year. The IAM have set a target to increase to 8%. Seems like a big ask, but the general public, bikers and TVAM will all benefit if we too can support this.
  • Our region takes 175 days to get associates who have been through enrolment to test, and 250 days including enrolment through to registering test completion (all car and bike). This is longer than all other regions. The quickest region does this in 150 days.
  • Information like this will be put on the IAM website to allow people to choose the group that meets their needs.
  • They are ramping up their effort to say thank you to members, including adding details onto your IAM membership card such as a F1RST pass.
  • There is a concerted effort to understand reasons for not renewing IAM membership. The slides give you more information, including reasons such as personal income versus perceived benefits (as you will know, we also have a project within TVAM on a similar vein to review and consider every benefit and cost to all types of our own club members).
  • Progressing with the new modules; members will be able to buy; New quiz/assessment module, Urban riding. I understand existing full members will be allowed to check it out later for free.
  • They are actively progressing merging of groups – this will not apply to TVAM as we already have our regional sub-teams.
  • There is a plan to change IAM communication, under the banner ‘group engagement’; which actually means increasing numbers of emails to committee members. Yay!
  • Our regional manager, Mark Trimmer, has categorised groups in his region as Red (i.e. poor sales of Skills for Life, and low test passes), Amber, and Green (doing well and above average). He has focussed his activity in Red and Green groups, and helping merge groups.
  • There was further talk about the database (DTE) that the IAM like groups to use. This is very helpful for other groups that don’t have their own, as TVAM do.

Please do carry on enjoying the club and making the effort by joining in on the courses, enjoying banter and riding.

Shiny side up

Charon Willis


BOTTYs Mid-Summer BBQ (B)



Saturday June 21st

Join the BOTTYs for their mid-summer bbq. Starting with a B run from Nelson’s Diner on the A339 near Kingsclere, RG20 4TA, leaving promptly at 10.30am. Pillions are welcome on this run. The bbq will be in a dedicated area in Lepe Country Park on the Solent starting around 1pm. £8 per person payable via the TVAM webshop. Numbers are strictly limited by the venue so book now. More volunteers to help with setting up and or cooking required. Please contact organiser Phil Ryan – see diary entry or Slipstream for contact details.

From the Saddle (Slipstream April 2014)


Hi everyone.

First off, I’d like to thank all those who attended this year’s AGM, and for giving me the opportunity to remain as Chief Observer for another 12 months, which look to be as busy and challenging as ever. This will be my 5th year as Chief Observer and under current club rules, it will be my last. I hope to make it a good one.

Last year provided us with some interesting challenges as we got to grips with changes in the Observing qualifications through the introduction of the IMI (the Institute of Motor Industry) programme. The National Observer qualification is reasonably well established now and, to date, we have 13 Observers who have passed that test. Recently though, the IAM confirmed that the Local Observer programme has been suspended following an initial review of the process and feedback received. A further review is due to be completed by June 2014, so hopefully we will get another update after that. In the meantime, we will continue to validate new TVAM Observers along the same lines as before.

On the subject of new Observers, we held another successful induction day recently. This course has been completely revamped over the past year or so, with a new style, new content and better alignment with the National Observer programme. Jon Taylor and Amanda Smith also attended and I’d like to thank them for their assistance with some of the practical exercises, and their feedback at the end of the day. In order to emphasise the change in focus for this day, we have renamed it the Core Skills Day. I would encourage all Observers to get to know the latest Trainee Observer guidance and coaching information as soon as possible. TVAM has always tried to have the highest standards for its Observers and I think that recent changes have taken this to a new level. Particular thanks go to Iain James and Howie Pyett, who both spent countless hours putting the final touches to the material in the days leading up to the course.

IAM Price Increases!
The IAM have confirmed that from the 1st October this year, the Skills for Life package price will be increased from £139 to £149. Some of the reasons given for this are: the expenses paid to the Examiners are being increased (the first time in 15 years) and removal of qualification fees for things like the National Observer test. Additionally, the IAM membership fee is being increased by £1 for those that do not pay by direct debit. It will be interesting to see how the Skills for Life price increase affects take-up and we will be monitoring this closely.

Observer Weekend
This year’s Observer Weekend will again be held at the Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells on the 7th and 8th June. All Observers and Trainee Observers are invited and places are filling up fast. This is a great opportunity to get to meet Observers from different local teams over a beer and enjoy riding with them on some great Welsh roads – all with guaranteed sunshine of course! If you haven’t booked your place yet, you can do so online via the web shop in the members’ area of the website.

Safe riding everyone.

Andy Wedge
Chief Observer


From the Chair (Slipstream March 2014)


Welcome to March!

Hopefully we’ve finished with the flooding, and you and yours haven’t suffered too much. Now we can get on with a fun-packed year of events from Slipstream, and your local group’s activities.

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) campaigns to protect and promote motorcycling and the interests and rights of all riders, illustrated last year by helping to stop the introduction of the ‘Super MOT’. However, like many organisations, MAG needs income, and to increase public awareness. One easy and quick way to help is to support one of their latest promotional initiatives.

In April, a song by Nikki Murray – who refers to it as ‘An anthem for MAG’ – should be released, and MAG gets half the proceeds. So log on to, and for the princely sum of 79p you will be able to download it. They are suggesting you also get 3 friends to do this, in the same week, in an attempt to get a chart hit and therefore huge publicity. Admittedly not as exciting as riding your bikes, but potentially supports our freedom to ride.

Andy Wedge has kindly collated the feedback received on the IAM presentation to Observers regarding the local and national Observers qualification, and sent it on to Jon Taylor (Staff Examiner) and Amanda Smith (IAM Quality Control Manager).

The AGM is today (Sunday 16th March). Are you here? Then join us to hear the plans and questions that our club members have put forward.

Keep your eyes open for latest amusing surveys from the IAM in your email/forum box. I like the one that 26% of drivers were distracted by back seat drivers – it was a missed opportunity for the IAM to promote motorcycling and Skills for Life, and start a ‘Get a motorcycle’ campaign – and the one that 4 out of 10 drivers are not concentrating. You know what I’m going to say, ‘Get a motorcycle’, then try not concentrating. Ho hum – preaching to the converted, I know.

Have fun


Castle Combe Track Day Now Booking

castle_coombe300Come and join us for a TVAM exclusive track and training day at the fabulous Castle Combe circuit on Tuesday 20th May 2014.

This is a road bike only event for those riders wishing to explore the full capabilities of their bike in a safe and controlled environment.

There will be 4 groups of 15 riders, with session of 15 min duration.

There are strict noise limits here, your bike will need to pass the limit of 105db static at half a meter and three quarters of your rev range. You will need leathers, either one or two piece that zip together.

We have 60 spaces available at the very reasonable price of £120.00.

For further information contact Dave Hepworth at

To book your place go to the TVAM Webshop.

New T-Shirts available for 7Ws #28


The finishing touches are being done for the T-Shirts. They are going to look like the attached so if you would like a T-Shirt then please let Ian know asap via the TVAM Forum here.

The price is being held at £10 per shirt.


Ian Dickinson

Posted in 7Ws

Rob Barber, TT rider, attending 7Ws #28

Rob Barber- ZERO TT 2012  004AJust to let you know that Rob Barber, TT Zero rider (as well as BSB etc.) is planning to come along to 7Ws again and be our guest at the awards dinner on Saturday evening.  Although he can’t bring any bikes this time (they’re being prepped for racing, which apparently takes priority…) he has asked Jenny Tinmouth, the only female BSB rider, if she’d like to come along too – we’re waiting to hear if Jenny can make it.

Oh, and Rob is planning to borrow a road bike so he can come out with us on one of the runs on Saturday…