We’ve all heard the line “If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise” and last Sunday, July 19, I got a big surprise when I went to the Desert Rose motorcycle rallying practice day at Cottage Lane in Westfield.
The venue was a huge marked track meandering through fields and dense woodland with a variety of strategically placed obstacles along the way catering for novice, experienced and professional riders who had all arrived for a fun day out riding their dirt bikes from 11am – 4pm.
Desert Rose Racing holds practice days on various dates throughout the year, aimed at riders of all abilities who want to hone their skills, try out new obstacles, and get in some much needed practice without being in a race environment. And it doesn’t matter how experienced the riders are, having pre-booked on line you can turn up when you like and stay for as long as you want. Taking things nice and easy is one option but, if you really want to push yourself, there is an ‘extreme’ section of the track for those who want to live life in the fast lane and like a challenge.
The cost for a practice day is £45 and the events are run very professionally with strict noise regulations in place. Social distancing measures are also taken seriously and a team of marshals help the organisers to keep the riders safe and in check.
When I arrived, the field was filling up fast with riders. Their bikes came on trailers and vans, many superbly equipped with everything needed for the day ahead, but engines were not able to be started until shortly before the start time and every effort was being made to keep the noise level to a minimum.
I don’t know how many riders took part, but I must have witnessed at least 100 machines of all makes and description, with riders of all ages, male and female, and of all sizes, large and small.
The feeling of camaraderie was everywhere, and these bikes are tough, as they have to withstand relentless pressure on their frames, wheels, handlebars and engines. They can get damaged, bent and broken, but there’s always someone at these meetings who knows how to fix things, and there are various spare parts available on the day and plenty of experts available to help get riders back on track.
It’s a tough sport, that’s for sure, but fantastic fun, dusty, muddy, noisy and with an element of danger. But when you see these riders pumped up and ready to test themselves to their limits, the adrenaline takes over and it’s time to find a safe place to spectate and let them ‘do their stuff’
One thing is for certain, it’s a very popular sport. Not for the faint-hearted, and not the cheapest form of self entertainment, but the buzz these riders get is obvious and, when managed properly and safely as I witnessed, it can be a really exhilarating day out.
If you fancy a go, or want to train and learn more about how to ride safely in track conditions, contact Desert Rose Racing on www.desertroseracing.com where you will find all the information you need. Due to the coronavirus pandemic there have had to be some changes made to training and practice day schedules, details of which are also available on the website above.
It was a great day out for all concerned, as whatever the weather ‘the show goes on’ (as long as safety isn’t compromised), and it’s dusty, muddy and noisy at times but, for the riders, it’s challenging, exhausting, hard work and involves a lot of preparation and forethought but, above all, it’s great fun, something which is in short supply for many at the moment.
Image Credits: Desert Rose Racing , Nick Forman .