Graham Hay

As a youngster I had no aspirations or desires to ride a motorbike, so at the age of 33 when I passed my Bike test I could hardly be described as a born again biker.
At the time I lived in Worthing and travelled regularly around the M25. I would sit and watch bikes zip through the traffic and thought….I could do that.
Unfortunately I had no idea how. I rode a bike once when I was 15 years old when my mate bought a bright yellow Garelli, which we took up the “Back field”.
My mate was dead keen to let me have a go. I was less so. Unfortunately despite his enthusiasm, he failed to offer any advice on how to bring his shiny new bike to a halt, so I used the unorthodox methodology of a hedge and a fence post, which worked, in a round about way.
Back in Worthing I was working alongside a keen biker called Martin and as he rode into work everyday, he offered to take me out the following lunch-time as a pillion. He was sensible not to try and scare me to death but neither of us were sensible enough for me to wear anything more protective than a crash helmet.
It was a lovely summers day, so I was wearing a suit with my tie flapping in a 70 mph breeze as we went off down the A27 towards Brighton. I feckin loved it. I found a training school run by the closest thing I will ever get to a Hells Angel. Huge character, massive beard before they were hip, who wore trackie bottoms on his Triumph Trophy long before the youth of today. I read somewhere that you always remember a good teacher. He had the patience of a saint and within 7 days got me through my test. No one was more surprised than me.
I could walk to the nearest Ducati dealership and of course something akin to a 916 was what I wanted to buy, but my work mate suggested that I might die if I were to do that, So he came over all sensible and persuaded me to buy what I considered to be the ugliest, uncool bike in the shop. A very dull green Yamaha Diversion 600.
There then followed a P Reg Silver Kawasaki ZX 6R Ninja. The guy I bought it from was in tears when I rode off. I know why …I loved it, the growl through the airbox was utterly addictive. I think I nearly killed myself every time I went out on it.
I returned to Birmingham and in 2002 traded the Silver ZX6 for my first brand new bike. A silver ZXR 636. Those extra 36cc’s made all the difference for the 8 weeks that I had it before I threw it up the road on a cold winters day on the B4098 between Kingsbury and Nether Whitacre. One minute I was tipping into a left -hander and the next dirt is coming through my visor, but not enough to prevent me from watching my new bike slide up the road, hit the kerb, flip over and inflict the same damage on the other side. I was gutted. It
was a right off. Did I cry? Of Course I did No idea how it happened but as I sat on a fence at the side of the road contemplating what went wrong I decided that I needed more training. That’s how I ended up a few weeks later at Park Lane Police station on a Wednesday night learning loads of stuff from Marcus and being introduced to my Observer Darryl,
(another great teacher)
After a view months I was on Charlie’s test route hurtling down the B4098 towards Nether Whitacre for the 1st time since my off. Clearly the training worked because I made it around the corner this time and passed my Advance test. Now I hope to pass on the knowledge to others. I’ve been an Observer for more years than I care to remember. The best bit is seeing people improve and there’s nothing better than getting a text on a Saturday morning from someone saying “Passed”

Kevin Songhurst

kevin songhurst

The website design team working with BAM, from UK Design Group. Also do work with TUI formerly Thomson Holidays and First Choice holidays.

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