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  • Writer's pictureIan Speight

2023 - Happy new Year!!! And what a great year it's been. Here's a look back at what I got up to. Grab a coffee, it's a long one!


Well, that's another year over, it seems only yesterday that I was typing my 2022 review!

Training

2023 was another great year, in fact, it was my busiest year yet! I met, and trained with so many different people from all walks of life and backgrounds, and I enjoyed every minute and every mile. Most riders came for bespoke training, to work on a particular area of their riding, but 8 customers went on to take an advanced test with either RoSPA, the IAM or the BMF Blue Riband Rider Award. 5 others took the Enhanced Rider Scheme, and I'm pleased to report that they all passed!

Congratulations go to; Caroline P (RoSPA), Geoff H (RoSPA & IAM), Tudor G (RoSPA) - who's now putting his success to good use as a volunteer Blood Biker, Ben W (RoSPA), Paul W (RoSPA & IAM), Paul B (RoSPA), Pete S (BMF & RoSPA), John (IAM), Angela (ERS), John (ERS), Luke (ERS), Patrick (ERS), Peter (ERS), and last but not least Sean (ERS).

Special Mention

I'd like to give a special mention to Bob Badger. Bob is an experienced rider who has been riding for over 30 years. He has previously passed the IAM bike test and is a very active member of the IronButt Association, and still takes part in various rally's and treasure hunts all around the UK. Bob has owned his current bike for just 2 years but has already covered over 50,000 miles! Two things deserve Bob's respect. Firstly, that despite his experience, he still appreciates the benefits of CPD when it comes to riding, hence why he comes for a yearly refresher. Secondly, Bob was 80 years old in 2023! What a great inspiration. We had a fab training session and its always a real pleasure to spend the day with him.

RoSPA Advanced Tutor requalification.

In March I took my triennial retest to maintain my Advanced Tutor Qualification (it should have been a Diploma re-test but RoSPA moved the goal posts.....if you know, you know). I met fellow RoSPA Examiner Nick W at Scotch Corner services and after a brief catch up, we were on the road. Two hours later we finished all the elements and Nick gave me the great news that I'd passed successfully. I was well chuffed, and a few days later my certificate arrived.

RoSPA group training sessions.

It was another great year with my local RoSPA group (Advanced Riders North Yorkshire - ARNY) In 2023 I 'celebrated' 10 years with ARNY, and I really enjoy my role within the group. Here's me and a few of the 2023 Tutor team. Back row - L to R - Steve, Mick, Phil, John, Simon, Dave A, Front row - L to R - Alf, Dave R and yours truly.

(missing from the pic are fellow Tutors John J, Dave T, Richard, Paul, Bev, Phil, and Paul S.

RoSPA Examiner duties.

It was a quiet year for RoSPA tests, in fact I only conducted 7 tests. These consisted of 4 'regular' tests and 3 Advanced Tutor tests, and I'm pleased to say that all candidates passed successfully. Congratulations to Pete S, Pete I, Mark, Geoff, Simon, Phil, and Paul.

IAM Roadsmart.

In August I enquired about a return to the IAM. In September initial paperwork was submitted and in October I completed a day with my Area Service Delivery Manager to complete all the assessments for the roles of motorcycle Examiner, Masters Mentor and National Observer Assessor qualifications. Which I'm pleased to say I passed successfully.

IAM Examiner duties.

As I only returned to the IAM relatively late in the year, I only conducted 1 test, which was with candidate Merick, who passed successfully.

IAM car qualifications.

In late December I spent another day with my IAM Roadsmart Area Service Deliver Manager Steve Ellis, but this time to complete assessments to deliver car training and testing. These mirror the bike qualifications I took in October but for cars. Car test Examiner, car Masters Mentor and National Observer Assessor for group car Observers. At the time of typing this review, my certificates haven't arrived but they should be here in January.

BMF - Appointed National Lead for the BMF Blue Riband Rider Award

In mid December I was able to announce that I had been appointed as National Lead for the BMF, Blue Riband Rider Award. I take over the role from Tony Smykowski who decided to stand down after 6 years. I want to thank Tony for all the work he's done and for taking me on as BRRA Instructor back in 2020, and then encouraging me to become a Regional Chief Instructor and then offered further support and guidance in taking over his role as National Lead. Also a big thank you to Helen at the BMF for her help and support. I'm really looking forward to working with the BMF and all the BRRA instructors around the UK to raise the profile of the BRRA and increase Instructor numbers and course candidate numbers. Here's the news article from the BMF website.

BMF Blue Riband Taster Day.

In April, myself and fellow BMF BRRA Instructors Alf, Mark and Jim held a taster day for BMF Members. It was well attended and we conducted 15 taster rides. All in all a great day that was later covered in an article in the BMF Magazine.

Magazine article - Instructors and attendees.

BikeSafe

I assisted Humberside Police at 3 BikeSafe events in 2023. At Mays event I was paired up with Nigel on his M1000R, which he'd only collected brand new the day before!

In July I was with Adrian on his Vstrom.

In September I was with Al on his 1250RT.

If you've never done a BikeSafe event, get it on your 'to do list' for 2024.

Train the Trainers Course.

In November I was able to announce a great new relationship with Phoenix Motorcycle Training Ltd, to deliver their DVSA accredited Enhanced Rider Scheme Motorcycle Instructor Course. This course has previously only been available in the south of England, so it's great to bring it to the north and opens it up to a larger geographical area for riders in the north of England and Scotland's, who wish to move their skills to a new level, without having to travel to the other end of the country.

The ERS Motorcycle Instructor Course provides the training to become an Enhanced Rider Scheme (ERS) Instructor who is recognised by the DVSA. The Enhanced Rider Scheme is designed by The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). It lets motorcyclists have their riding skills checked by a DVSA-approved trainer to help them become safer riders and get more from their motorcycling.

The course covers 5 days and includes everything you need to develop into a quality post-test instructor. There are 7 core modules to the ERS Motorcycle Instructor course, which focus on a your ability to train students in a structured approach to riding. To understand defensive riding and hazard awareness, progress and use of speed, overtaking and filtering, bends and corners, slow control, and developing the correct rider attitude. The majority of the course material is based on Motorcycle Roadcraft. You will need to obtain a copy of this before the course starts.

The course also covers the delivery of training in many of the 12 extra modules:

  • Effective braking techniques

  • Riding for work: delivery or courier

  • Biker Down and accident scene management

  • Filtering (advanced level)

  • Riding abroad

  • Motorcycle maintenance and machine awareness

  • Motorways and dual carriageways

  • Blood bikers

  • Mobile phones, GPS, sat nav and Bluetooth

  • Carrying a passenger or load

  • Group riding

  • Training in alternative environments

This course is best for:

  • Motorcycle instructors who wish to teach/instruct/coach advanced riding courses.

  • Motorcyclists who wish to reach the highest standard of motorcycling skill.

  • Advanced motorcycle instructors who want to become ERS Trainers

  • Motorcyclists who have an advanced motorcycle qualification (IAM, RoSPA, BMF or DIAmond). You will also need to take an advanced theory test.

I want to thank Mark Jaffe at Phoenix Motorcycle Training Ltd for all the effort that he has put in to getting me on board and making this happen and I look forward to delivering this course in the future. For more info, go to;

Demo Rides.

Thanks to the excellent team at Barrie Robson BMW, York, I was fortunate to have rides on the following new BMWs in 2023 - R1250R, M1000R, R18, S1000XR, and the R1300GS.

All of these bikes offer a very different riding experience. First up was the R1250R. roadster.

The M1000R - I've owned 3 S1000Rs but this is another level!

R18 - A big surprise. Much better, and more enjoyable then I expected.

S1000XR - I love the concept of a tall, comfortable sports bike, but the seat on the current bike takes some getting used to. It very much 'locks you in' with very little wriggle room. I understand the soon to be released 2024 version has addressed this and I can't wait to try it. I'm even more excited by the thought of riding the M1000XR!

Last but not least, the new R1300GS. This new bike has undergone a thorough make over, both in looks, style, frame, engine, gearbox, suspension and boasts more tech, more power and less weight. The extra power and less weight were immediately noticeable, with the bike being really responsive. The fuelling seemed spot on in any gear, and at all speeds and the quick shifter was super smooth. I'm more of an GS Adventure guy so really looking forward to that version being released in 2024.

Motorrad Tours.

In March it was the annual Motorrad Tours, Tour leader training weekend which is held every year in Wales. Reviews of 2022 tours, looking at all things 2023, refresher training for the current team and selection process for potential new Tour Leaders. A few photos from the weekend - Paul, Chris, Mark and Dan meeting the locals.

Final group photo of the 2023 team.

Back row inside the compound! - Alf, Nigel, Pierre, Paul, Mark, Steve, Dan.

Front row - Eugenie, me, Chris, Katrina. Lizzie, Scott and Bob.

Tour Leader duties.

I completed 2 tours as a Tour Leader with Motorrad Tours. Both were for BMW dealer customers and both to Scotland. The first was with Bowker BMW Preston.

All lined up and ready for another days riding.

Fab roads, scenery and company.

Next up was customers of Barrie Robson BMW, York - Group photo day 1.

Cairngorms, amazing roads to ride.

So, that just about covers all 'work' or work related activities, so what else did I get up to?

Moto GP - Portugal.

In March, Kim and I went to Portugal for the 1st round of the MotoGP. It was our first time in Portugal and we really enjoyed the racing, our hotel and the location we stayed. We intend to visit Portugal again soon.

Grandstand position, right on the start-finish straight.

Beautiful Marina.

June - Bike trip.

In June I went on my annual bike trip with biking buddy Daren. Our trip took us mainly around Germany and France.

Ferry across the Rhine.

Nurburgring.

Somewhere in Europe!!

60th birthday trip!

In late August, Kim and I headed off for a 2 week bike trip to celebrate my 60th birthday.

We covered areas of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France and Belgium. We took dozens of photos, but here's just a small selection.

Day 1 - leaving home of the GSA.

Koblenz

Nurburgring.

Somewhere along the Moselle.

One of the many tourist boats that transverse the Moselle and Rhine rivers.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Toll booths for the Grossglockner pass, Austria.

Top of the Grossglockner.

Kim at the top too!

Salzburg, We loved the place!

More Salzburg.

Mozarts birth place, Salzburg.

31st August, Bolzano, my last day in my 50s!

1st September - birthday cards and cake!

Castles near Fussen, Germany.

Antwerp, very nice place.

More Antwerp.

Back on the ferry and heading home.....they even let Kim drive!

It was a fantastic trip and one that will stay in the memory for a very long time to come.

July - Barrie Robson demo day.

In July I had a fantastic day leading the demo ride out for customers of Barrie Robson BMW. Nearly every model in BMWs line up was available to ride and lots of people came along to take the opportunity to ride them. It was a damp start but the weather soon picked up and it was a great day.

Lovely and dry from lunch time and into the afternoon.

My bikes.

I started the year on a Honda Africa Twin and a BMW S1000R, but in early February, I traded them both in for a pre owned 1250GSA. It was an immaculate bike and Kev at Barrie Robson BMW put a great deal together. By May, I'd covered 6000 trouble free miles and had no intention of swapping it.

Here's me collecting the pre owned GSA back in February.

In May I'd seen a great deal on a new 1250GS Adventure at another BMW dealer, so I visited John at Barrie Robsons to see if they could match it. They could....in fact they bettered it!! The problem was, it was the 25th May and I was due to go away with Daren on 3rd June. John said "No problem"! I collected the bike the next day (26th), took it back on the 1st June for its 600 mile service and I was on the ferry as planned on the 3rd. Great service!

Collecting the new GSA, 26th May.

As of the end of December, I have covered 10744 miles on it.

Mileage for the year - 21000

Training, bike tests, days out, weekends away, 2 European trips and 2 trips to Scotland, all adds up, but that mileage was spread across several bikes. In January and early Feb I managed around 1500 miles between my Africa Twin and S1000R, before trading them both in in early February for the 1250GSA. I managed 6000 on that, before trading it in for my current 1250GSA in late May, on which I've covered 10744 miles. There's then another 3000 miles across 2 Motorrad Tours to Scotland. This makes a grand total of just over 21000.

FireBike

In October I was able to announce that after a lot of form filling, checks and more checks, I had been accepted as a volunteer rider to join the North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service, FireBike road safety project team. FireBike was launched in 2022 and aims to reduce the number of accidents and injuries on the county’s roads by directly engaging with motorcyclists and other road users. The FireBike team is made up of volunteer personnel from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service who each bring expert knowledge of the emergency services alongside a passion for motorcycles and rider safety. The FireBikes will be a regular sight on the roads of North Yorkshire and will travel around key locations where bikers meet. Members of the FireBike team will actively engage with riders and other road users to promote road safety through education and training. The initiative operates alongside the already successful “BikeSafe” course run by the Police and the FireBike team will also be delivering “Biker Down” courses that are facilitated by North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. FireBike has already proven to be popular and attended a number of events throughout 2022.

Andy Creasey, the FireBike project manager said: “Sadly, we deal with a number of road traffic collisions involving motorbikes each year. Many of these collisions involve serious injury or in the worst cases fatalities. My colleagues and I want to do everything we can to improve the safety on the the roads for everyone. Motorcyclists enjoy chatting with likeminded enthusiasts and FireBike will help us deliver positive messaging directly within the biker community.”

I'm really looking forward to getting out and about on the bikes and chatting to riders around the region. So, if you see one of the bikes at your favourite coffee stop, event, please come and have a chat. Here's me and fellow FireBike team rider Stuart with the 2 FireBike bikes.

They bikes look great with their new livery and auxiliary lights.

Facebook.

My FB page continues to grow, as of today I have 1486 'likes/followers', which is a slight increase on 2022 and is fantastic! Thank you for your continued support, it really is very much appreciated.

Instagram.

I joined Instagram at the start of 2022 but in all honesty I haven't posted much on it. As a result, I have a whole 74 followers, up from last years 58. I promise to try harder in 2024!

Thanks.

Thank you to every one who has trained with me in 2023. I love that so many people train and become friends as a result, it's one of the many things I love about doing what I do. I look forward to building further friendships and enjoying 2024. Also, a big thank you to the team at Barrie Robson BMW of York and Miles Kingsport Honda of Hull for their continued support. Also to Helen and Tony at the BMF for your support, help and guidance in being appointed the National Lead for the Blue Riband Rider Award.

Finally.

Special thanks to my wife Kim, who 'allows' me to do all that I do. Ride off into Europe for Motorrad Tours 3 times a year, have an annual bike tour with my mate Daren, not to mention, training weekends for Motorrad Tours, plus BikeSafe events and all the other 'stuff' I get up to throughout the year. She really is amazing.

Wishing you all the very best for 2024

Ian and Kim S

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