So Burt and Moly of this parish set up a weekend of big bike rally training at the Sweet Lamb Rally Complex in Wales, complete with Dakar riders Craig Bounds and Tamsin Jones. The aim of the course is to better prepare you for rallying, rather than trail riding - although many of the techniques are transferable.
Here are some of photos and videos I took during the weekend.
This is Burt in a totally natural pose He has a ton of biking experience:
This is Moly giving some instruction - he rides a custom mongrel of an HP2 megamoto/enduro and he's blisteringly fast, just a shame about his Brummie accent
This is Craig Bounds - riding God, and all round nice chap:
And this is Tamsin Jones in one of her more serious moments. A successful finisher of the Dakar who has made me question the phrase: "Riding like a girl"!
Being a Rally complex, meant we had great facilities for our bikes:
Rest assured, they weren't going to stay this clean for long!
High speed cornering is crucial to rallying but also really useful for trail riding - learning how to manage your line in relation to the vanishing point, just how much traction you can hold, use of pressure through the pegs and the handle bars. It's also unique to be able to spend some time on one bend, to break it down, and to be able to hit it as fast you can without fear of hitting others users of the lanes such as ramblers or horse riders. Of course, there is still the fear of not making it round!
First some demonstrations from Moly on 2 of the bends we would be working on:
And then it was up to us to try... it was getting wet so I didn't get so many photos but here is one good set showing Russ really going for it:
Starting to go wrong...
Bringing it back...
And then losing it again
In Russ's defence - he was really very fast and was just unlucky that I had the camera out. Here he is in better shape:
This session was super valuable. To give you an idea of the improvement - I started going in to the bend on tickover in 2nd gear... to being on the power in 3rd and changing in to fourth as I came out of the bend. Probably something like a 20+mph increase in speed and actually feeling more comfortable than when I was coasting through. A great session, despite the pouring rain!
Next was to really get to grips with momentum technique - the idea being: you can't simply apply power once you start losing grip or speed... you have to approach the obstacle with enough speed and momentum and then maintain it through the obstacle.
First up, Tamsin demonstrates the route:
This was a tight left hander and those rocks are like riding on ice!
Then, up and over this initial lip, through a water splash and up a sheer rock face!
The general reaction from us was: "You're having a laugh!"
Well, we all made it through... twice!
A better view of the water splash
And the climb... which you can imagine got a little more interesting as it got wet!