Date: 5 & 6 of March 2016
The winter can be long and frustrating one, we need still practice so the opportunity to go to Spain and ride was too tempting to miss. Our friends in Motogymkhana NL, specifically Stapel Boxer had been liaising with Honda’s 4.5-million-euro state of the art training center in Barcelona in order to secure our visit. The center has a large area to play on, as well as a dirt track, a skid pan, trials area, conference rooms, simulators and good facilities are also available.
Honda provided hire bikes for us to use, Nc700 and cbf500 with crash bar fitted, which made it possible to fly to Spain and ride, rather than overlanding through France with our bikes. Thia also made the trip possible for many of us who were tight on time and wanted to spend as much time in Spain rather than on the road. Some of the Netherlanders on the other hand hired a 6 bike trailer and brought their bikes from Holland. We had one French lad and also a Spaniard riding while others watched. Unfortunately Honda operate a strict Honda only policy some of the guys where on very unfamiliar machinery, but all 14 rider had an excellent time. One interesting side effect of the hired bikes was the crash bars the were functional rather than stylish and were frequently involved in cone collecting and limiting our lean angles which was very frustrating but in turn entertaining for everyone else.
The format of the days was pretty simple arrive at 9am and ride till they threw us out just the way we like it! The area provided to us had a lot of scope but had a semi street lay out painted on it which forced us to ride in lanes as the painted surface was challenging however a course had been designed by peter Wilhelm the Dutch course designer responsible for the European championship courses and it was an excellent course which we ran forwards and backwards as well as adding some extra gates and rotation’s to provide a competition course. There was plenty to go at all the time and some of the riders managed to get on the the off road course with some Honda dirt bikes for some extra dust and giggles.
It was great to spend time with our Moto Gymkhana friend’s and riding with the top European riders was an opportunity not to miss as the competition was light hearted and fun there was plenty of time to learn and try new ways of riding. Over the weekend we had two big endless loop practice tracks, one competition course on Sunday won by Richard van Schoenberg as well as the current world course for the American based competition and various other small courses such as the Japanese A and the ubiquitous GP8.
If you get the opportunity, then please go and ride in Europe there is so much that is familiar and so much to learn. The technical development of the bikes is more prevalent with much more stunt orientated bikes being used by extremely skilled and dedicated riders.
Those of us who competed in the 2015 championships know how stiff the challenge is and how much a lot of practice will help.
We look forward to seeing you at the 2016 European championships at Blom Slipcontrol Etten-Leur Netherlands on the 28th of May.
Author: Iain Sugget