Welcome to Topgun!

With all the "Maverick" appreciation going on at the moment, the sight of the candidates all turning up in convoy, and it has to be said, looking quite professional, it seemed a great opening gambit "Welcome to Topgun"!

Six candidates were signed up for the inaugural E-YARD Machine Handling Course.

There was a mix of associates, members and tutors all in trepidation as to what they'd signed up for, having seen cones and training areas set up!

There were six exercises for the candidates to undertake, the aim being to build confidence in machine handling, from stationary to manual handling, low speed maneouvering and braking.

The session started with a stationary bike, held at it's point of balance held by fingertips. Like all the exercises, the candidates did this with their own machines!

The tutors, Paul Morton, Adam Abel and Chris Hood took two candidates each and then moved on to the second exercise, understanding the turning circle and advantages of leaning a machine to reduce space needed to turn. Clutch control and manual handling of the machine was then followed by funeral pace riding. By this time the candidates were starting to really understand their machines, how they felt with no other forces acting on them, what there actions have on the bike itself and throttle/clutch finesse.

The exercises continued with experiencing how powerful and effective motorcycles brakes are, initially feeling how different a rear brake was in terms of stopping power compared to a front brake, or both together. In a safe environment it also allowed the candidates to experience the effect of ABS and build a muscle memory for the feel of effective braking.

A slalom course was then ridden, developing a feeling for the lower speed capability of moto's and the effectiveness of relaxing and moving about for the best stability.

The final exercise replicated U-turning in a car park or alley (we've all ended up down a dead-end at some time!) utilising the motor skills such as throttle and clutch control, rear braking and inportantly looking where you intend to go and not target fixating!

A great day which brought comments from candidates such as "Had a great time today. Massive thanks to tutors for much needed encouragement and advice throughout the session, even when I started doubting myself. I'm bloody knackered now though!!" and "Fantastic course this morning, went to it bricking it, thinking I was going to drop my bike, came away from it with more confidence riding and manoeuvring at slower speeds.