I’ve just got back from the last IAM Track Skills Day of the year which was held at Thruxton. It was a great day with most of the riders present being TVAM members taking the opportunity to brush-up their cornering skills on the lovely flowing, grippy track and to explore parts of their tyres not normally in contact with tarmac.

This was the first year I’ve instructed for these events throughout the season, meaning I saw around 450 riders go through the process from track familiarisation to independent riding under supervision over the 6 sessions on track. With a focus on accuracy and smoothness the progression of exercises encourages riders to experiment with braking harder than you would on the road, just to see how quickly our bikes can slow, to maintaining positive throttle through corners and accelerating away. The day isn’t about speed but smiles – and there was lots of those around yesterday despite rain in the afternoon sessions.

Demand for these special skills days has been growing over the past few years as the IAM recognises there is a demand for events using the safe environment of a race track but which aren’t out-and-out track days with screaming 600’s and 1 litre bikes ridden by power-ranger clad racers going for a lap time. Dates are already being negotiated with circuits for 2020 and these will go on sale from the first day of Motorcycle Live 2019 in Birmingham on 16th November. Whilst we will continue to organise our own TVAM days at Castle Combe if you want to ride Thruxton you will need to book these early through IAM RoadSmart as the track’s owners will only deal with them. As more details become available we’ll push a note out on the ‘all-members’ Club groups.io forum.

Just occasionally one of our number distinguishes themselves through quiet perseverance and by ‘just getting on with the job’ of training riders to be safer on our busy roads. Every month we recognise our Observers who have successfully guided another Associate through their Advanced Test. One of our Observers though has now decided it’s time to hang up his gold badge having moved to Poole and bought a boat. With 48 test passes and having been an active club member for many years (decades) quite a few know Colin Wheeler for his sense of humour, fun, and healthy scepticism for bureaucracy. I understand Colin will be at St Crispin’s this Sunday and I’m sure we will all want to wish him well for the future.

Andy Slater