Motor Cycle Monthly's Carli Ann Smith with (from left) Inspector Mark Rogers; PC Simon Burgin and Sergeant Chris Clare

Motor Cycle Monthly’s Carli Ann Smith with (from left) Inspector Mark Rogers; PC Simon Burgin and Sergeant Chris Clare

 

Article continues below...
Advert
Article continues below...
Advert

Motor Cycle Monthly went undercover with the Road Traffic Police in Cambridgeshire to find out a bit more about what they do. It was nothing like The Sweeney…

Sitting discussing Wayne’s Isle of Man TT tattoos and talking with Mark about how much fun he had riding Fizzies in his teenage years, it was quite easy to forget just where I was and what I was doing. Sitting in this room full of motorcyclists chatting about their latest bike, their latest road trip or their favourite BSB track, was just like sitting talking to any other riders.

Admit it, a lot of people have preconceptions about the police and often think that they’re out to spoil your fun. In reality, they aren’t. They’re there to ensure everyone stays happy, and is safe doing it, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

Article continues below...
Advert
Article continues below...
Advert
Sergeant Chris Clare and PD Simon Burgin debrief after an assessed ride

Sergeant Chris Clare and PD Simon Burgin debrief after an assessed ride

All motorcycle police riders are advanced drivers prior to their bike training, and there are extremely stringent standards required to be part of the team. Training varies around the country, but the Cambridgeshire guys take part in a zero-to-hero course. This involves one whole month of intense training, completing over 300 assessed miles a day, with a final and important test at the end. We were lucky enough to follow one of the instructors – Sergeant Chris Clare – and a willing volunteer – PC Simon Burgin – to replicate this final test. It includes a number of different road types: town; A-roads; motorways and rural twisties. Even after all this training, they’re always learning and Chris ensures that the riders he’s instructing know that too, “I’d say they were now at their most vulnerable, experience counts for a lot and I tell them that just because it has blue lights, it doesn’t mean it sticks to the road any better.”

The bikes that were to be today’s steeds were two of the ten BMW R1200RTs on the fleet, fitted with Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres – a sporty choice you won’t see fitted to many RT’s, worn and replaced every 2000 miles. While the legal limit for rubber on the road is 1mm, the Sport Maxx are made redundant at 2mm to ensure they are always performing at their best. It’s important that the officers have as much grip as possible. As well as the marked BMWs, Cambs police have two unmarked bikes – a Kawasaki GTR1400 and a Honda VFR1200 – which feature video filming equipment, sirens and blue lights. This year, the team added a pair of maxi-enduros to their fleet in the form of two Yamaha Tenere motorcycles to tackle anti-social behaviour and the disturbance caused by mini-motos, quads and other unlicensed vehicles being ridden off-road. In order to ride these off-roaders, the officers also have to take part in ‘loose material training’.