One member’s review of his experience on an IAM RoadSmart Skills Day. Running 13 Skills Day dates across the year, IAM RoadSmart use three race circuits including a mix of car and bike enthusiasts. While this is an account of the final Skills Day of the season more details can be found here, and the dates for 2022 will be released soon.
By Steve Pratt
On Wednesday 29th September I attended IAM RoadSmart’s motorcycle Skills Day, held at Mallory Park racetrack. This was my second Skills Day this year, having previously attended Croft racing circuit in late June.
It’s worth noting that these events are not track days, but the environment of the track permits a very high level of training not available on the public road and use of the track is very controlled with small groups and an instructor.
Ensuring the highest level of safety, traffic flow is in one direction with no input from anywhere else but very controlled entry and exit points, and the road surface is far grippier than any standard road surface.
The exercises that we practiced at higher speeds during the Skills Day aren’t permitted on public roads in this country, so having the experience at Mallory Park was exhilarating.
Here is an abridged version of what you can expect to learn and have some new tools in the box if you were to attend a future Skills Day:
Briefing: Each Skills Day starts with a brief presentation on each exercise conducted with the aid of slides and videos prior to going out on the track with your instructor.
Information: Working on limit point of vision and sighting for turn markers – Gerard’s Bend, a right hander approx. a third of a mile long turning through 200 deg. Really working your LPOV (limit point of vision).
Position: Being instructed then practising position for entering and exiting bends.
Speed: How often have you practised braking? An exercise in controlled accurate braking only using the front brake. Squeeze – squeeze hard – release slow, this was conducted at an input speed of 90mph. You will not believe the confidence you will gain as to stopping.
Gear: An exercise in how your gears drive your bike, doing a lap using 2nd & 3rd, then 3rd & 4th then 4th & 5th, then I went around in just 3rd to understand how much drive you can get from each gear and the stability it offers the bike.
Acceleration: In the briefing room we were shown how the contact patch of the rear tyre spreads under acceleration, especially when the bike is cranked over or coming out of a bend. The practice was amazing. That positive throttle in a bend and then some is a great feeling of control.
These days are open to everyone - that’s Associates, Full Members and Observers. Even friends who are not IAM RoadSmart members are welcome to attend.
There are several us in Hull & East Riding Advanced Motorcyclists (HERAM) that have attended these events and we all cannot recommend them highly enough.
The new dates are announced on the 4th December this year, and I will get an email out to the membership as soon as I have the details. These events are sold out very quickly.
On a final note, Shaun Cronin (Regional Service Delivery Team Manager – South) who organises these events shared an email from an attendee of the Thruxton event. A lad was returning from the Skills Day (in the wet) when a car pulled out in front of him, he said:
“The technique and confidence I had gained on the day allowed me to brake hard and turn the bike to avoid a collision, something I don’t believe I could’ve done prior to the day; I’d go as far to say it probably saved my life.”