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-   -   Off road skills course recommendation England/Wales? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/tours/off-road-skills-course-recommendation-68082)

Smudger 2 Jan 2013 08:40

Off road skills course recommendation England/Wales?
Hello all,

Happy New Year!

I was looking for recommendations for an off road school in England/Wales. I know there are quite a few I just wanted to check if any of you knew of one with decent instructors and bikes. Thinking of a day or two’s tuition in the mud as a way of easing into 2013.

Recommendations appreciated!


Endurodude 2 Jan 2013 22:26

I'm looking to go with the BMW off-road skills course in the Brecon Beacons. I've heard good things from others, and the level one course seems to be exactly what I'd like to learn! Like you, I'm hoping to get into off roading a little in 2013, and this seems like a good introduction. I spoke to the at the NEC recently and had went through what I'm after.

For me, this is a wise choice as I ride an F800GS, and I can use theirs to through around the countryside instead of my own! What sort of bike do you ride? Perhaps others will know of better suited courses for your machine?

Happy riding :D

Smudger 3 Jan 2013 08:26

I have heard good things about both the Yamaha & the BMW schools with Yamaha coming in at £200/day as of April, with an Enduro two day school at the end of January for £320 (aimed at those with more experience than I) & BMW around £480 for two days both providing bikes & all the gear.

I’ve had BMW’s in the past & rode an F800GS from Alaska to Argentina in 2010/11 (http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/Smudger1/.) so I’ve had my time playing in the mud with one of those & in all honesty I’ve now sworn off the brand.

I’ll try & be patient and wait until April!

dash 3 Jan 2013 22:06

My first call would be to Black Desert Training, run by Craig Bounds and Tamsin Jones...

Black Desert Off-Road Training School and guided tours

Both excellent teachers as well as extremely accomplished riders (and great fun to chat to). They have hire bikes available, and being a smaller setup I think they're probably more able to tailor a day to suit exactly what you want to get out of it than the big manufacturer-sponsored schools (although in fairness, I've never been to the BMW school)

Craig is in Peru at the moment for the Dakar, but I think Tams is in the UK, so probably able to answer queries.

Craig hiding his exasperation well as some muppet on a Tenere stalls in the middle of a really simple slow-speed control exercise... :mchappy:


Lonesome George 4 Jan 2013 01:17

Hi Smudger, Dom here - we met in Canada. anyway, I did the BMW course in Wales before my trip and thought it was excellent. There can't be much better than being trained by Simon Pavey himself. I know it's not cheap but it is good.

why have you been put off BMW?

Big Yellow Tractor 4 Jan 2013 07:56

Staying on the Dakar theme, Patsy Quick (the only British Female to finish a "proper" Dakar I think) runs School of off road riding skills - - HOME alongside her rally support business.

She's based in West Sussex.

I did an enduro training day with Wyn Hughes a few years back and he was a superb instructor. He's now with Yamaha Off-Road Experience.

Smudger 4 Jan 2013 13:24

Thank you gents!

I did see a review for Black Desert in MCN a couple of months ago but couldn’t recall the name of company and they didn’t come up on Google searches so thanks for the tip. Will check out Patsy Quick too. I was lucky enough to get to see the Dakar during my trip & anyone who can ride to that standard for such a huge distance is a God from whom I’ll happily take tuition!

The Yamaha school is really helpful & looks good. However, with their first dates starting in April I may opt for Black Desert as they have courses running a little earlier & I’m keen to get muddy.

Hello Dom, hope all is well! I know the BMW school is well regarded by all, but without getting too far off topic I can still recall having to hit mine with a rock and towing others, whilst older Japanese bikes ridden harder proved much, much, much more reliable. Plus if something went wrong with the Jap bikes (which annoyingly, it very rarely did) unlike BMW, they weren’t insanely expensive to repair. My $500 replacement water pump that was unable to pump water & the indicators failing to cancel which was traced to a mere £700 replacement wiring loom (needless to say I bodged a repair instead) are two from a long list. Amazingly I know of others who have suffered even more issues with their BMW’s. I know all bikes have problems, but it appeared to me BMW have far more than most. I wasn’t sad to see mine go.

So despite how tempting a S1000RR might appear on paper (I’m back on a sportsbike kick at present), it will be a number of years before I reconcile with BMW – unless ofcourse they wish to sponsor me as a Global Ambassador, but somehow I doubt it.

Thanks again for the info & I'll let you know how I get on.

Jabez Clegg 4 Jan 2013 16:57

We had a great time with the yamaha off road school 4 yrs ago before starting our RTW, however nothing they have can teach you about riding a fully loaded XT 600 through sand, hehehe!!!!
My wife thought that she was a expert after a day on a WRF 250, pencil thin and so light, a loaded bike is a different ball game.
That said we had great day out with them and its a very profesionally run outfit
Shame they have no room til later in the year
Pete n Brucella

dash 4 Jan 2013 21:17


Originally Posted by Big Yellow Tractor (Post 406332)
Patsy Quick (the only British Female to finish a "proper" Dakar I think)

If you mean to complete a Dakar in Africa, then yes.

Of course the only other Brit lady to finish a Dakar Rally is Tamsin.

haggis 15 Feb 2013 11:49

ORS in Wales
Hi there.

I've been lucky enough to have been in Wales for level 1 & 2 and get across to Portugal with Simon Paveys Off Road Skills. All excellent. I can thoroughly recommend you go. Tamsin used to work with Simon and I reckon she's a bit of a legend as well, she handles a GS Adventure like a ballet dancer.

Off Road Skills have a few tutors and they are all excellent, each with individual skills but more important they are great at passing this on to the students.

OK tell Simon, he owes me a beer for that advert:)


Wildman 4 Mar 2013 11:04


Originally Posted by Big Yellow Tractor (Post 406332)
Staying on the Dakar theme, Patsy Quick (the only British Female to finish a "proper" Dakar I think) runs School of off road riding skills - - HOME alongside her rally support business.

She's based in West Sussex...

Excellent! Thanks for the info.

Fantastic Mister Fox 4 Mar 2013 11:53

Just throwing my support out for Black Desert in wales, I recently spent a day with Craig and learn so much more about my riding in that day than in a years worth of uncoached trail riding.


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