Hi everyone.

At a recent St. Crispin’s Sunday, I talked about the IAM’s F1RST grade and the standard required to achieve that.

The F1RST was introduced in March 2011, and there was a retrospective qualifying period of 2 years. That means that anyone who had ridden at the required standard on a test from March 2009 on was entitled to be included on the F1RST register. Typically, the IAM did not feel it was necessary to go back and check their records to see who had qualified in that period. When I asked them to check which TVAM members may have qualified, they refused on the grounds that they would have too many records to check. So last week, to make it easier for them, I emailed them a list of 109 of our current members who passed their test between March 2009 and March 2011. We’ll see what response we get this time, and what support they are prepared to offer their members, some of whom are potentially entitled to a F1RST.

If you have your test report from that period and feel you should be included on the F1RST register, please let me know.
Those of you who have a F1RST may wish to consider the Masters test, the replacement for the old Special Assessment. It’s a separate offering from the IAM, described as the ‘ultimate recognition for a civilian driver or rider’. The grading for this test is measured against the Police Response Riding standard – the pass mark is 70%+, with a distinction achieved at 80%+. Our local Staff Examiner, Jon Taylor, tells me he has only ever graded a small number of riders at 80%+, so the Distinction level is a tough nut to crack. This special test comes with special prices and special mentors, and is not something that TVAM Observers are in a position to help you achieve at this time.

More details on the Masters can be found on the IAM site at Sadly, the concept of proof reading does not seem to have reached some areas of Chiswick, and the Masters Standards document that you can download from there contains a number of errors.
Changing tack a little, Amanda Coneley has done a great job this year coordinating all our Cross Check rides, as well as making cakes for the Bike Maintenance course. Our Cross Check rides are a final quality check before going forward to take the Advanced Test, and coordinating these is an important part of the TVAM process. Other commitments now mean that Amanda will not be able to continue in this role next year, so we’re looking for another volunteer to step forward. In recent years, this role has been filled by an Observer, but it doesn’t have to be the case. If you think you may be able to help, please see Amanda or me and we can explain the role in more detail.

We already have an Observer Evening lined up on 5th December where IAM representatives are coming to give us their view on the Local and National Observer programmes. Also being arranged for early next year is a ‘Meet the Examiner’ evening, and the guys from Rapid Training will be along to talk to our Observers about our Aardvark rides. Look out for announcements very soon on the Forum and e-groups.
This is my last column of 2013 – Charon has the honour of kicking off the New Year in the January Slipstream. If I don’t see you at St Crispin’s, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support during the year. TVAM is a great club with great people and despite differing opinions at times, we continue to deliver high value coaching to all our Associates while ensuring that the fun side of riding is not forgotten; onwards and upwards in 2014. Have a good Christmas everybody.

Andy Wedge
Chief Observer