Motor Cycle Monthly sent Staff Writer, Carli Ann Smith, to try out off-roading under the watchful eye of, Ady Smith at the KTM off-road school.
Driving down the single track farm road, I was both excited and nervous about what the day would present. I’d booked onto the KTM off-road experience but I had no idea just what an ‘experience’ it would be.
Apart from bombing around a field on a DT125 when I was a teenager, I had next to no previous off-road history. I thought that this would hold me back, but after talking to a number of the other participants on the day, I was put at ease by their great mix of riding experience. It wasn’t like I was going to be let loose with no training either, and my teacher for the day would be Ady Smith. Having competed in British Championship Enduros every year from 1983 until the end of 2000, and winning a number of supercross and supermoto events at a national and international level – who better to teach me?!
There were tons of bikes to choose from: a selection of 2- and 4-strokes with all capacities from 125cc up to 500cc. Quite a line-up, and we were each going to get the chance to try every one!
Kitted out with all the gear – everything from gladiator style body armour, knee protectors and huge boots that protect your shins and ankles, the day started with us going round the easy section of the track to learn the basics for the day: tight turns while sat down and stood up, the right standing position, clutch control and braking technique. We had plenty of time to practice our newly learnt manoeuvres and have fun on the bikes, but all that riding meant I was pooped by the end of the morning session – I’ll quietly admit to being rather pleased when it came time to head back to base and get a drink. During the break it was clear that we all had different levels of experience, but could all share our tails of heroism (and spills).
Ady and his team gradually opened up sections of the motocross track throughout the day which presented us with new challenges. There were tight twisty wooden sections, open tracks to get some speed up, and a particular jump where I had my first ‘big air’ moment. Ady likened it to “pieces of the jigsaw coming together” and he was completely right. The techniques and skills we’d learnt throughout the day all came together on the track to result in hours of fun.
I drove home with a huge smile on my mud covered face and the smile was still there when I arrived, 231 miles later.
I would massively recommend the day – even if you’ve got no off-road experience it’s a great introduction. What I loved was that even for those who had ridden off-road before there was more than enough for people to hone their skills and get their knobblies into. It would make a great Christmas, birthday present or just a weekend away. Grab some mates, get on the website and book onto a date and venue to suit you – if you like two wheels and having fun, you’ll love it.
Dirt buddies : Meet some of the other riders from the day
“I’ve had a fantastic day, it was a great experience I just wish it was longer! You get to go at your own pace and don’t have anyone breathing down your neck telling you that you can’t do certain things like at some schools.”
Steve Donald, Hellingley
“I’ve had a great day, I haven’t ridden a bike for 17 years so a day like this was a fantastic chance to get back on in a controlled place and try out off-roading.”
Mike Lambert , Polgate
“I’d definitely come again, you have the opportunity to do what you want and try things out.”* could remove to get word count down?
“I chose to do the school on my 2012 KTM 250EXC-F. This was the 4th time I’ve done the school after my first experience in 2009. I like it so much because Ady really wants to make a difference to your riding whether you’re a beginner, you’ve been a few times or you’re an experienced rider who’s thinking of changing their bike and has come to try the range. If you want to do or try something specific, Ady will try and incorporate it into the day. You learn something new each time and everyone always leaves with a buzz. I haven’t done Ady’s camp in Wales yet so I’m hoping to do that next year.”
Have a go… The KTM off-road school www.adysmith.co.uk There are a number of packages to suit everyone whether you have all of the gear or not. Simply log on and check out the dates available.