Last week I was lucky enough to have a trial motocross day with Excess Energy, which trains individuals and groups out at Rogers Hill Raceway in Briantspuddle (that’s near Bere Regis!). Being a bit of a water baby, getting all trussed up in body armour and helmet was a bit of a novelty, but I’ll try anything once and the I reckon I didn’t look too much like a fish out of water. I was keen to see what sort of fitness was required for this type of thing – standing up riding for several hours, uneven ground, core stability, quick reactions. We were a mixed group of three – father and son (just 11 years old) – both who had done more riding than me. Having not been on two wheels with an engine since I did my CBT licence about 15 years ago, we spent the first half hour familiarising with the bike and starting up, moving off and stopping (without going arse over tit). Now, I started out a bit gammy, because being a regular mountain biker, I’m not used to throttle and brake being co-located and kept revving and promptly stalling (not great for the kudos!). After that we practised skills in a relatively forgiving (spongy) field – this had us start riding on the foot pegs, standing tall, bum tucked in, going up and down hill and finally testing how tight we could turn in circles, which is where I came a cropper for the first time, but was pleased to find that a fall, albeit at a snail’s pace, did not hurt, not even the ego!
We progressed to the mini closed circuit – sure it was built for people from Alice in Wonderland.. and we all got round here successfully, learning to shift the body position and weight balance to negotiate burns, different ground cover, ramps and so on (bit of a baptism of fire to be fair)…. Nothing was hurting yet, but I was starting to perspire!
After a top notch sausage bap (not what I normally condone) we were back to it – this time green laning.. off road, on tracks, negotiating deep furrows in a newly ploughed field, narrow bridges with a drop to something wet either side, steep climbs, trees so closely packed, I would’ve found an alternative route on my mountain bike…. But no, here I was.. clutch control, easing off the throttle, teetering on the brink one too many times, just to jeep up with my young fellow student! And just as I was thinking how my instructors would be so impressed by my perfect body position as I cornered a field, my brain froze, I opened up the throttle and careered towards a tree, taking a pretty impressive side slide (if I say so myself) to avoid a collision..After a bit of a thump to my side as I hit the deck (but actually nothing as my kite-loop crashes), a quick brush off and self-admonishment, I was back on (albeit with slightly shrunken balls!). Just enough time to finish up making sure my confidence was not dented and a great day was had.. Sore quads, and neck, I was pretty impressed with the workout and that my stamina and endurance help for the full day…all I needed now was a deep tissue massage, a hot bath and a damn good scrub as I was covered in a thick layer of Rogers Raceway dirt.. Have a go and see for yourself (the website appears to be down a the moment – if you want more information call Paul Sheehan on 07815 864284).

Written by: Jo Gaskill

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