‘OK’, I thought, ‘who is this Ron Haslam bloke?’ Well, turns out he’s not only disgustingly handsome, he’s also won three world titles and four British championships on two wheels. So how could I refuse? After all, the blurb on the website tells me it’ll ‘introduce me to high performance bikes’ and will make me ‘understand the finer points of riding’. And as someone who’s experience of two wheels is getting wet on a 125cc Monkey, I couldn’t say no.
And so, I turned up to Donington race track in my, ahem, perfect condition Mercedes S500, expecting to spend the first hour riding around some cones in a car park to ensure the instructors that I could handle a bike.
But no, not a chance. After a briefing, we were allocated our instructors (one-on-one in my case), told to suit up, and then lead to the pit lane where our Honda CBR650R motorbikes were waiting.
Nervously, I switched the bike on…except I didn’t; because my brain had turned to mush, I’d forgotten to twist the bloody key in the ignition.
A few fumbles later, and the 650R jumped into life. This was by far the heaviest, most powerful and most expensive bike I’d ever been on, so I gingerly popped it into gear and released the clutch. Creeping towards the end of the pit straight and behind my instructor, that’s when we were given the green light to hit the track.
And that’s when the real lessons began, starting with…
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