Back in 2017 I attended a Ladies Skills Day at Thruxton for the first time. Whilst very nervous to start, I learnt loads. 2018 was even better as I was looking forward to it, knew what to expect and was excited by the anticipation of meeting Maria Costello. The day exceeded all expectations.
The welcome and introduction (in the lovely new building) was excellent, covering everything and more. We then moved into our groups. On and off track tuition, advice and briefings by the instructors were great. Talks between track-time were informative, funny and presented with enthusiasm and energy.
On track, I was trying to work out who was behind me, then realised it was Maria Costello! Oh boy, who could not be in awe of such an amazing lady and to find yourself on track with her!? Maria had a quick chat when we pulled into the Paddock and then later in the day, followed me again, overtook and signalled some advice, then gave me a fantastic briefing. This made my day and gave me lots to work on (as there always is).
Through the Facebook page ‘Motorbike Women’ I met up with a couple of ladies at the Skills Day and exchanged messages with them afterwards. They both thoroughly enjoyed the day too. One, I believe, signed up for the IAM RoadSmart advanced riding course on the day which was marvellous. They were both wanting to improve their cornering and commented on a picture of me coming through the chicane. I sent them this message:
“Three years ago, I was rubbish at cornering. I fought every corner; wrong line, gear and speed. My husband persuaded me to go to a series of IAM RoadSmart talks. When the speaker said: “we all understand counter or positive steering don’t we?” out of the large audience, I was the only one to put a hand up and say “no.”
After a brilliant talk on counter steering, a light came on! This spurred me on to take the IAM RoadSmart advanced riding course and the speaker, by coincidence, was my examiner. I would never have ridden through Spain, across the Pyrenees and down to the South of France without the skills achieved through IAM RoadSmart.”
Hopefully my experience helped the two ladies realise that they can achieve their objectives. They’re already looking forward to next year with lots planned in between.
Another high point of the day was a lady on a 125cc with ‘L’ plates at the Skills Day. Shaun Cronin, IAM RoadSmart regional service delivery manager (Southern), was probably spot on when he said that she would learn more from the day than anyone else. This got me thinking about new riders and how much they could benefit from IAM Skills Days – there’s still a few spaces left so make sure you reserve yours quickly!
I’ve already booked three Skills Days for 2019 and can’t wait to see what else I can learn.
By Janet Short, member of Somerset Advanced Motorcyclists
Book one of our Skills Days here.
*Hero image credit to Kelly Dowling Photography