I’ve just woken up and I’m aching in places I didn’t even know existed. My legs are sore, so are my arms, and I’m still finding mud in strange places, and yet bizarrely all I want to do is get back onto a motocross bike.
I guess you could say I enjoyed the KTM MX experience yesterday.
I’m not a massive fan of riding schools; there’s usually a bit too much talking, not enough riding, and you leave the day confused with far too much information to process.
This one was different. The day starts at 10am and - bar a short lunch break - you’ll be on the bikes until late afternoon. You can choose almost anything to ride, from the new Freeride, to EXC and SX models, which range from 250cc to 450cc. Most of us jumped on the 250 which has a nice amount of power without feeling like its going to tear your arms off everytime you open the throttle.
After familiarising ourselves with the bikes, we were split into groups and then set loose around the Route 34 motocross track down in Winchester. Most of us there were road riders so there was loads to learn, right from the complete basics, like where to sit on the bike, down to more advanced techniques.
I didn’t feel that confident riding whilst standing up; I didn’t know if my arms were suppose to be bearing my weight, if my knees should be locked, or how far forward I should lean. It all felt alien and I had a million and one questions floating around my head. After my second session on track, Barry Johnson - who runs the school and is a former top British and International motocrosser - gave me a complete rundown on what I was doing right, what I was doing wrong, and kept it all simple enough to put into action on my following session.
Eight or nine 15-minute-long sessions later and I’m genuinely considering putting my track bike on eBay to fund one of these KTMs. Suddenly I feel comfortable power-sliding out of corners and throwing the front end into small berms without worrying about it washing out. I started enjoying every minute on track instead of wondering where my next crash was going to be.
In-between sessions it was easy to flag down an instructor to ask more questions - 'Why are my arms hurting so much?', 'How far forward should I sit?', 'Why am I so horrendously rubbish at this?', you get the drift.
What I really liked about the school was the atmosphere, it seemed like there was room for you to make the day what you wanted it to be, whether that be to improve your motocross skills, test ride some off-roaders before taking the plunge, or just have a really fun day out with friends.
And unlike other schools I’ve been on, none of it was intimidating. If you’re a novice you won’t be put in the same group as a racer looking to sit you up at every corner, and if you’re a fast rider you won’t be held up by newbies.
(That's not me. Unfortunately.)
Whatever you’re level you’ll be knackered by the end of the day, five minutes on an MX track feels like marathon training.
The experience day runs at different venues across the UK in the South, South East, Midlands and up North - just find your nearest venue and book a date. You don’t need to bring any kit with you, just turn up and everything is supplied. You don’t even need a licence.
It costs £185 and was hand on heart one of the best days out on a bike I’ve ever had.
Now, who wants to buy my R6?
Want to try other off-road disciplines? KTM runs the Ady Smith Enduro school and has also just launched a new off-road centre in Cheshire where you can razz around on the new electric Freeride E. Find out more
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