Triumph’s breathtaking new Adventure Experience is now open for bookings, so we thought we’d get to know the guys delivering the daily dose of exhilaration a little better.
Occupation Chief Instructor, Triumph Adventure Experience Centre
Background I was a bit of a rascal as a kid growing up in south-east London. I got into motorcycles early and always loved a bit of an adventure.
I started racing at 15, got jobs in various bike shops and then got involved with the Archway Project, which helped get youngsters back on the straight and narrow by attending motorcycle workshops.
I moved to South Wales 15 years ago and one of my proudest achievements is to now be chairman of the charitable trust and still helping at-risk young people in the area where I grew up.
Experience I did the Dakar Rally for four years from 2003 and it was an incredible experience. The combination of being around people who do rallies and seeing the work the Archway Project does makes you appreciated the art of making the impossible possible.
Later, I trained Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman for their Long Way Round world trip and realised that empowering people and seeing them grow was something I really enjoyed.
Best ride? Dakar without a doubt. Some of the places I got to see were unbelievable. In my first year in Libya I will never forget the biggest sand dunes I’ve ever seen… some of them were two or three hundred metres high. Riding down them you accelerate and accelerate and they just go on forever. The feeling is indescribable. You have to do it.
Diciest moment? At the time I didn’t know it but it came on the Libyan border. There was a corrugated road with dunes on each side, so naturally I went for the dunes. Everyone was waving at me to get off and when I stopped they told me they were littered with mines. The next day a truck had its axle blown off in the same spot.
Time you felt most alone on a bike? I broke down in the Sahara and I’m very scared of creepy-crawlies. It was pitch-black and every time I shut my eyes I could imagine them closing in on me. I didn’t get a wink of sleep that night.
Best place to ride? Baja in California. The rally there was the best one I’ve ever done, flying past cactuses and scenery you don’t see anywhere else, but I’d say Wales is right up there because of the diversity of terrains and weather. That’s why I moved here.
First Triumph? I have to be honest, I’m fairly new to Triumph and only made the switch four years ago to a 1200 Explorer. Absolutely loved it. I wish I’d discovered the range of adventure bikes sooner in my life. I’m also a big fan of the Street Scramblers, which we’ll be using here.
Best memory on a bike? I did an advert in Argentina and got to ride from Buenos Aires into Chile, seeing places I never thought I’d be able to see on a motorcycle when I was growing up in the rough end of Bermondsey in London.
Occupation Instructor, Triumph Adventure Experience Centre
Background I started riding at 12 in trials and then moved on to Enduros at 16, which I continued with for 10 years until I got into classic road racing. I’ve always loved the competitive element but discovered more recently that being out there and exploring what’s around the next bend is even more exhilarating.
Experience I rode in the British and World Enduros, British Rally and Cross-Country Championship. For intense physical and mental challenges, they were right up there.
Best ride? Morocco. The scenery is fantastic and the people amazing. They are so generous and warm towards you, especially when they see a group of Triumphs coming through the mountains. I’ve ridden in Spain and Italy’s Amalfi Coast but apart from Wales, the Atlas Mountains in Morocco is probably the most fascinating.
Diciest moment? When I was classic racing my dad, who raced bikes too, told me which line to take, so I came around the bend on the tail of the pack and suddenly they all went down like skittles. My life flashed before my eyes and I had what I call a ‘cold toe episode’ and then just as quickly they all parted for me.
Time you felt most alone on a bike? In the British Championship. I hadn’t seen anyone for ages and started wondering if I’d missed the signposts or checkpoints. I hadn’t, but by the time I saw a human being, I’d exhausted myself and was mentally drained.
Best place to ride? Wales, no doubt about it. I’m a home-grown boy so know the area well and we have everything here: forests, mountain tops, farmland, rutted fields, rivers. And mud, lots of mud!
First Triumph? My Tiger 800. It’s built for the diverse terrain we have here. The first time I rode one I’d been used to dirt bikes and started trying to throw it around and get it flying over jumps but soon discovered it needs some respect.
Best memory on a bike? My first bike had plastic milk cartons for hand guards and one winter’s day I rode up to the top of my local mountain, Machen Mountain, near Newport in South Wales. When I got there all the valleys for miles around were covered by a blanket of fog. It was a magical moment.