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Chris Smith - F1RST Pass

May 19, 2023, 10:28 AM by Glen MCALISTER
Congratulations to Chris Smith on passing with a F1RST.  Also to Alan Fraser as his observer.  Well done to both.

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We are pleased to present our most recent newsletters.

(Last updated December 2021)


Go Safely

In this feature, we post articles essentially focussing on driving safety matters. 

In the first 3 documents we cover pre-drive checks and cockpit checks for conventional cars, electric cars and motorbikes respectively.

Next, because its start of winter, we provide some information on winter tyres and snow socks.

The next document explains how Average Speed Cameras have improved driver behaviour in our Region.

We have added a document so you can learn about hazards that a truck driver has to contend with at roundabouts or junctions and what you as a driver or motorcyclist can do to help the driver of a 40te plus truck.  Many of you will be familiar with such problems on Anderson drive.

Finally, potholes are very damaging to cars and bikes and it is important that those responsible for our roads are made aware of such hazards. We have included a document telling you how to report them to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire councils so that they can repair these faults and make our roads safer for everyone.      

(Last update - December 2021.)

Winter Tyres (pdf)
Download (146 KB)
AGM 2021

Annual General Meeting November 2021

Here are some of the members of our group who attended the Annual General Meeting which was held on 24th November.


Aberdeen in Action

Here, we provide some details of the events that we have been involved with recently.



Ullapool Ride Out

16 riders set out from Westhill on 28th August for a big run to Ullapool.  2 dropped out at Granton on Spey and then a further 2 at Tore.  12 people made it to Ullapool for lunch. All enjoyed the day which enjoyed fairly favourable sunny weather. The route was approximately 335 miles from start to finish.


Ullapool Group (2)

11 riders take a short break at Granton on Spey before setting off for home

Full Throttle Car Show

The Group were fortunate to make one of the only car shows being held in 2021, most of which were cancelled due to the pandemic. 

This was also the first outing for our Mobile Display Unit which had just had all the external sides covered in new vinyl films to advertise both IAM RoadSmart and Aberdeen Advanced Motorists Group. We are very pleased with the new branding.

The Full Throttle show was held at Castle Fraser on the 5th September.


Here is the new look MDU seen from the back and nearside.

MDU at Full Throttle

Open for business

Brass Monkey Ride out

To wind up 2020 as far as social events were concerned, 8 intrepid souls braved the near zero temperatures to travel on some of the best rural roads in Aberdeenshire.  It was a bright frosty day but all enjoyed the chance to have a final get-together, socially distanced of course.  The route started at Mill of Mundurno and made a stop off for lunch at Huntly. All returned home safely without incident.


After the group took a pre-run hot cup of coffee, Joff gives the briefing at Mill of Mundurno.


Getting ready for the off. (Note all bikes in separate spaces to maintain distance)

2020 Series of Virtual Presentation Meetings

With the restrictions imposed by the Scottish Government in 2020 to limit the spread of Covid 19 coronavirus, the Aberdeen Group had to find new ways to keep our membership engaged.  We ran a successful series of virtual monthly presentations which were open to not only AAM members but other Scottish Groups were also invited.  Our programme kicked off in May:

  • Experience of a Scottish Police Traffic Officer and Police Driver examiner presented by Mark Ryan
  • Lead motor cycle support for the cycling tour of Norway race presented by Neil Robertson
  • Motorcycle training of medics in Nepal presented by IAM ASDM, Scott Tulip
  • General Knowledge Quiz compared by Neil Warden, AAM Group Secretary and Chief Observer.
  • Driving experience with an all-electric Jaguar i-Pace presented by ex-IAM Chairman, Derek McMullen.
  • Neurodiversity presented by IAM expert, Denis McCann
  • Car detailing - a virtual visit to Carbonshine workshop - interview with Innes Robertson, owner of Carbonshine.
  • History and highlights of Knockhill Racing Circuit presented by Stuart Gray, Knockhill Commercial Director



Motorbike training for Nepalese medics - photo by Scott Tulip.

Knockhill (2)

Overview of Knockhill racing circuit by Stuart Gray


Moonshine Run 2020

19 brave bikers / passengers took to the roads in a rather dreich day to tour the wonderful roads of Speyside whisky country. However, it nearly didn't get started....... one of the group leaders lost his keys just after refuelling.  All of the group then started to search for the errant items only for the embarrassed rider to magically find them in his jacket's breast pocket   



Lunch was a great success at the "Speyside Kitchen" near Aviemore where the group were pleased to get a respite from the constant freezing drizzle. At last they could dry off a bit, warm up and tuck into some delicious home made soup and bowls of chilli.  Herebelow, the group just about ready to once again set off on the return leg.


Moonshine run


The riders split into 2 groups for the inward leg home.  One team headed over the twisty roller coaster route over the Lecht whilst the 2nd team took the less adventurous trail from Grantown to Keith and hence back to Deeside.



Going Green 

We were very privileged and pleased to be given a zoom talk by IAM RoadSmart Chairman, Derek McMullan in September 2020.  Derek told attendees about the technology in his i-Pace Jaguar and how the characteristics of acceleration and braking of the car compared with a conventional fuel car and the fact that the car has no gearbox, has meant a different approach to the speed, gear and acceleration phases approaching hazards.




Ride out in September 2020 to the Commando Monument

A group of 15 AAM bikers set out from Aboyne to the Commando Monument at Spean Bridge.  Here are 3 of the pictures from the event;

1) The gathering at Aboyne car park.  Notice the bikes are parked to maintain social distancing.

2) Mission accomplished. The group pose in front of the monument.

3) Commando monument plaque.



AAM Display at Blast from the Past Classic Car Show, 2019

Aberdeen Advanced Motorists group attended the Blast from the Past Classic Car show at Thainstone Centre in July 2019. Our mobile display unit attracted a good number of members of the public and we are hopeful that most of the drivers and riders who expressed an interest and completed an enquiry form will eventually sign up for an Advanced course. 

Blast from the Past


The mini-moto on display was especially attractive to the kids among us!


September 2019 Tyndrum Ride-out Day

1) Our biker Group at Aboyne just before setting off

Tyndrum riders



2) Joff gives the briefing.

Tydrum briefing



3) Everybody seems happy with the arrangements

Tydrum briefing 2


Presentations to the Public on Advanced Driving

We have given a number of talks to local groups about Advanced Driving. The pictures below show us presenting at one of the Aberdeen "Men's Shed" Groups and to the MG Owners Club.


Peterculter Men's shed talk
MG Owners Club talk



Zoom Quiz Night

This was the first quiz night that we held on 20th August. A range of general knowledge questions were set by Neil Warden covering subjects such as statues, geography, music, films, TV and of course motoring.  Member Doug London won with 53 points out of a possible total of 74. 


Zoom Meeting

The answer to one of Neil's questions on statues.

PAST TIMES - Clippings saved from newspaper articles

In this section, we've pasted some of the articles concerning Aberdeen Advanced Motorists that have appeared in the press, in the days when folk were not so used to reading about groups on websites or social media.  We hope you enjoy looking back in our history and seeing how active AAM was in keeping road safety in the public eye.


Driving out of town

2008 Advice on rural roads driving

This piece appeared in the Press & Journal in March 2008 and was part of a series of features which aimed to encourage young drivers to sign up for a tough driving competition in which AAM run in partnership with Knockhill Racing Circuit and Grampian Police. From answering a questionnaire, 25 youngsters would be selected to have an assessment by AAM and from that the 12 best would go forward for special tuition and final assessment at Knockhill. The winner won a Seat Ibiza Sport. In this piece Neil Warden, then Chairman provided tips for driving safely on rural roads.

Daily Mail Advert

2005 Advert for Institute of Advanced Motorists

This advert appeared in the Daily Mail in October 2005. It shows that the Institute of Advanced Motorists had 10 motorcycle groups and 22 car groups operating in Scotland at that time. Anne Marshall was Chairperson of the Aberdeen Group then.

14 Look Plan Anticipate

Improve observation skills

Sgt Neil Morrison of the Grampian Police appeared in a short piece in the Press and Journal during March 2005. Neil highlighted that many drivers look at the road without actually seeing and consequently fail to anticipate and plan for approaching hazards. The article was one in a series associate with improving skills, particularly of young drivers.

13 Watch your speed

Speeding in Built up areas

In this letter to the Evening Express in March 2005, David Walker highlights that the reports of pedestrians being hit is most likely caused by drivers failing to adhere to the speed limit. It is still a very common problem and the regular reports in newspapers and television concerning fatalities of pedestrians shows that very little has changed in the 15 years since David wrote this.

17 Testing Times

Skill for Life Training

This picture appeared in an article in the Press and Journal in February 2005. A journalist with the paper had fallen in to some bad driving habits since passing her test. The story highlighted how an advanced driving course, then called, Skill for Life, would make having an accident 75% less likely. At that time the course cost £99.

Burkhill Young driver appeal

2005 Letter appealing to young people to drive safely

Still an all to familiar tragedy when a young driver was killed by going too fast on wet roads. Graham Birkhill of Aberdeen Advanced Motorists as well as the chief of the local traffic police provided input to the article with appeared in the Evening Express in August 2005.

G Burkhill letters

2004 Letters about improving bad standards of driving

These letters by Graham Burkhill of AAM were published in the Evening Express in 2004. The first was in June and a follow up letter was published in July.

09 Motorists receive awards

Awards during a Dealership visit in 1997

Two new members of Aberdeen Advanced Motorists were presented with their certificates during a visit to the John Clark BMW dealership in September 1997. Mike Mitchell was the Chairman of our local group at that time.

08 Scotlands best

Scotland's Best in 1996

We are not sure which newspaper this appeared in but it dates from July 1996. This Aberdeen young driver entered a competition to mark the 40th anniversary of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and won the Scottish final.

07 Baby drive my car

Complacency and becoming better drivers

Here is another article in the Aberdeen & District Independent newspaper from July 1996 in which David Walker highlights the problem that most drivers have become too complacent and have little awareness of speed, and approach to hazards. Interesting, at that time, the use of gears rather than brakes was recommended to slow the car. IPSGA isn't mentioned in the article. Also AAM at that time held training meetings for drivers wishing to improve. Again, this shows the difference in strategy at that time. The current methodology being practical sessions and the emphasis on client centred approach.

06 Drivers are killers

Drivers are the Killers

David Walker, Chairman of Aberdeen Advanced Motorists at the time, was a regular contributor to the local newspapers on a range of matters concerning road Safety. This letter, from the Evening Express in March 1996, makes drivers aware of their limitations and to sign up to advanced driving.

Advanced driving advert

1996 Aberdeen Group of Advanced Motorists Advert

This advert appeared in the Aberdeen Herald and Post in March 1996. At that time, the course comprised a series of classroom sessions followed by observed drives.

Driving Skills awards 91

1991 Awards for AAM Drivers

This photo appeared in the Evening Express in November 1991. Mr Tom Acamovic received a double award for his driving skills. Also in the picture is Mr David Walker who would later become Chairman of the AAM group and would write many articles to the press on making local roads safer.

Chris Smith - F1RST Pass

Posted on 19/05/23 |
Congratulations to Chris Smith on passing with a F1RST.  Also to Alan Fraser as his observer.  Well done to both.

47D5E77B-01B4-4903-92BE-739C884324E2_1_201_a (1)

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