Stan Hathaway – Chairman
Having spent a lifetime in the military being deployed away to someone else’s beach often uninvited it was time to change one dangerous pastime for another! That is what my Mum and Wife both thought when I declared I wanted to ride a motorbike. So having convinced my wife Jo (I still haven’t convinced my parents) she insisted I get the best training available…so having passed my test in Sept 2009 I then did “BikeSafe” and “Ride-2-Arrive” courses with Avon and Somerset Police – learning curve takes the next steep climb upwards. Wanting to continue my learning and training on how to ride more competently and confidently I looked through the 2 more well known Advanced Motorcycle training programmes which led me to Devon and Somerset Advanced Riders or DSAR and the RoSPA route, what appealed most with RoSPA was the requirement to be re-tested every 3 years to ensure the standards had not slipped. Being regularly re-tested was nothing new to me as this is common within the military whether it is fitness tests, weapon handling and shooting tests or professional competency checks. Training started and the realisation how much more there was still to learn and understand became apparent. Following a successful pass (at 2ndattempt) to achieve Gold I was then invited to undertake local training to become a tutor within the group – learning curve takes another steep climb up again. In 2013 I undertook and passed the RoSPA Diploma in Advanced Motorcycle Instruction which included becoming listed on the National Register of Post Test Trainers. Having taken many riders through their training and experiencing their achievement at passing the RoPSA Advanced Motorcycle Test I continue to get a buzz from motorcycling, whether that be touring, commuting or training in all weathers – as it is said “If it’s not raining it’s not training!” It doesn’t matter how good you think you are – there are always opportunities to learn so I continue thinking every day is a school day. See you when the bell rings! Stan
Dan Mawer – Secretary
I started riding motorbikes and passed my direct access test in 2008, fulfilling a dream I had since a young boy. I then set about improving my riding, having always had an interest in road safety. I’m a Civil Engineer and have been involved with highway construction and improvements for the last 12 years both in the Public and Private sectors. IN 2009 I attended the Avon and Somerset Police Ride 2 Arrive Course. A weekend of learning to improve your riding skills and knowledge to help make you a safer rider. It really opened my eyes to what I had to learn and that just passing a test, did not mean I knew the subject. It was whilst on this course I was introduced to both IAM and RoSPA groups who were looking to take riders on to the next level of training. I looked into both routes to Advanced Motorcycling and decided that the best route for me would be RoSPA, the three year re-test being the key for me.
As an engineer, I am constantly looking to maintain and improve my knowledge around a subject to ensure that I am giving the best that I can. The same goes for my safety on the road an, if I was going to be carrying a pillion, i wanted to make sure they were as safe as I could make them. So I joined DSAR, in their first year of existence in 2009. I’ve never looked back. I’ve been an associate, I’ve been in three different roles in the Committee, including Chairman, I am a tutor and helped create and give the New Associate theory sessions and the Tutor training programme with some very, very skilled and knowledgeable group members.I’d like to think that I am knowledgeable enough to know that I don’t know everything and I am always willing to learn more and different things. DSAR has been part of my life since 2009 and will continue to be for as long as I can ride a motorbike. If you ever have any questions about the Group, please do not hesitate to ask me or any member of the Committee; we are all here because of you.
David Pengelly – Treasurer and Membership Coordinator
Returning to motorcycling in 2011, with the full encouragement of my wife, I undertook a direct access course and much to my delight I passed. Following a year of riding around I realised how vulnerable I was and tried out Police BikeSafe Course being run locally which I thoroughly enjoyed. After considering all the advanced training options I decided to go the RoSPA route as I really liked the idea of the grading’s and being regularly tested. I joined DSAR in 2014 – roll forward 6 years and I am now a Tutor with 2 tests successfully passed.
I also now have a wife (having never ridden a motorcycle until 2016) who always wants to come out on the back!
Every ride is a new training opportunity and I find something to add to the knowledge bank each and every time and for me this just adds to my enjoyment of riding – there is just nothing like it.
Steve Williams – Training Coordinator
Tutor – Gold standard
Having taken a motorcycle test at the age of 17 before progressing to 4 wheels, Steve returned to motorcycling in 2006 before moving to Somerset in 2010. Having introduced his wife to the pleasures of pillion riding through a succession of ever larger and more comfortable rear seats he enjoyed touring both in the UK and abroad. Steve’s talent for speed on four wheels resulted in him being invited to explore the subject in more depth and led to him joining DSAR in 2014, achieving a Gold pass in 2015. He was very impressed with the high standard of tuition which fuelled a desire to become a tutor himself and he duly qualified as a Tutor in 2017. The 3 yearly retest in 2018 resulted in another Gold pass.
Despite working away from home during the week, Steve is passionate about safe riding and commits as much of his free time as possible to passing his knowledge and skills on and has made many friends along the way as a result. Committed to lifelong learning, every journey – on two wheels or four – is treated as an opportunity to hone advanced riding skills and his wife will tell you that Steve has recently been seen riding his pushbike along the canal towpath with meticulous attention to positioning!
Sandy Jones – Publicity & Communications Coordinator
I passed my test in 1987 so I could have a cheap and way to get about, especially on to the Moors. And like most, I had to take a break for travelling and career. I returned to biking in 2012 for a trip to Europe on my DRZ400.
I moved onto a bigger bike in 2017 and decided to improve my confidence through knowledge and skill. During my search for a training provider, I stumbled onto DSAR from a conversation with a member in a car park – he had the bike I was after! I feel safety training should be easier to access, which is why I decided to join the committee to help find ways of improving safety and saving lives.
I started riding bikes aged sixteen. Moving from a moped to a 250 at seventeen, I passed my bike test in 1981, continuing to own and ride bikes regularly for about 10 years. After selling everything (including my cherished GPz1100) and leaving for Australia for a year (returning in 1992), education, career and children took precedence until two wheels returned in about 2002.
After regularly riding for about a further five years (during which I did the ‘Biker Down’ course), the reality of children and the onset of maturity, my wife (also back on two wheels) and I started discussing advanced bike training as a life promoting strategy! She subsequently bought us a Rapid Training day (with a retired police motorcycle instructor). We only did one day a year for about three consecutive years but each outing was an invaluable and enlightening experience and, unconsciously introduced me to what I would later understand to be ‘the system’. Most importantly, it sowed the seed. I then knew a little bit about what I didn’t know but, at the time, couldn’t appreciate the scale of my lack of knowledge. After another group rideout, I failed to return home on time whereupon I was supposed to go out for a ride with my wife on her bike. She got the ‘ump’ and joined CVAM because they were more reliable than me and ultimately did the IAM course and passed their test. That prompted me to do the same, passing in 2013. Wishing to continue my training, I did their Leader / Sweeper course and then intended to progress as an Observer but, was advised by my then Observer that my application would look better if I had a second qualification.
And so to 2014 and RoSPA! I subsequently joined DSAR and took my test in 2017 achieving a Gold level pass. To further the challenge I have trained and qualified as a RoSPA Tutor (& IAM Observer!) Experience tells me skills have to be practised to be maintained and riding a bike is no exception, especially at the level required to ride well and safely. The requirement to periodically re-test to keep your qualification is, I believe, the single most significant contributory factor for the motivation to (regain) maintain or improve skills and competence, with the ultimate goal for each and every one of us to always be the very best we can which, will inevitably raise the road safety bar for everyone.
Philip Coakes – Website
I returned to motorcycling with my wife’s full encouragement in 2018. I passed my Direct Access test in March of that year, bought a BMW R1200 GS and within 6 weeks toured Ireland, and made plans to tour the Pyrenees later in the year! After a year of riding, I realised I wanted further training, as I had reached the limit of my skills. The Police run BikeSafe course opened my eyes to the possibilities, and I joined DSAR July 2019. I work in IT, so I offered my services to assist with the website at the AGM. As of June 2020, I’m still waiting to complete my training and take my RoSPA test!
Neill Sedgwick – President
I have recently worked within a corporate training environment responsible for the design and delivery of training courses to suit the needs of various departments. My particular area of expertise is within transport and scene management. I am also a qualified Motorcycle trainer/examiner to advanced level. I am responsible for the management of accredited courses/awards and either assessment or quality assurance of those programmes.
I have now taken up the position of Road Safety Coordinator for Somerset Road Safety responsible for all aspects of powered use of the roads but particularly for the 2 wheeled users within Somerset.