Yes, we started the day with tea and coffee round the fire pit. The first of our Stage 1 Plus courses of the year was run over a Friday and Saturday mid February. The 2 day syllabus gives riders the chance to put the basic building blocks of off road riding into place and get plenty of time on the bike.
From body positioning and bike handling, through braking on the flat and downhill, to riding off camber and even tackling the first stream crossing there was a lot to take on board.
Day 1 included running through bike handling drills initially round strategically placed coloured cones, and then moving on to similar drills but using the natural obstacles presented by the trees in the woods, taking tighter and tighter turns on loose and uneven ground. Getting to grips with braking techniques on uneven ground, firstly on relatively flat terrain and then moving on to downhill braking drills. The principles of clutch control were covered with exercises including the “momentum hill” helping to develop finesse with possibly the most important control on a motorcycle.
Day 2 gave us the chance to up the ante a little, plenty of nice long trail rides around the beautiful East Sussex venue and recapping the Day 1 content. The braking drills continued and hill climbs and descents saw riders tackling steeper and steeper hills, building their confidence from day 1. Culmination of the second day was the optional stream crossing, dropping into the stream, riding through it over hidden rocks and tree roots, then riding out of the stream, up hill back to the start point – lots of whoops and cheers when riders got through albeit with wet feet.