The NZ Steel riders testing their low speed 'bike handling skills.

A Passmasters instuctor watches on as a couple NZ Steel riders test their low speed 'bike handling skills.

Chris Smith runs Passmasters, one of the two Ride Forever training providers in the top half of the North Island. Recently, he organised a track-based training day for a group of riders from NZ Steel. The company’s massive Glenbrook plant is not far from Passmasters’ base in Pokeno and there are a large number of motorcyclists on staff. In a far-sighted initiative, the company supported riders to take Ride Forever coaching in an effort to improve their safety. Many ride back and forwards to work on the high speed and relatively unforgiving roads of rural west Franklin. Chris put together the track day, which is both inventive and an opportunity to work on additional skills in the controlled environment of a race circuit. 
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Chris from Passmasters talking with some of the NZ Steel riders.

Chris from Passmasters talking with some of the NZ Steel riders.

Adrian Gadsden coordinated the event for NZ Steel, bringing 22 riders who'd completed Ride Forever Silver or Gold courses to the day. “It’s great to be able to do this sort of thing with the guys,” said Adrian. “Everyone is having a great time but everyone's learning something new as well.”  

While there was plenty of time for lapping the circuit over the day, Chris and his team also built in a series of exercises for riders to practise their fine control. These took the form of some of the Rider Forever Be a Better Rider competition challenges. These lower-speed skills were ably explained and demonstrated by NZ Police motorcycle expert Matt Ford, before the riders attempted a 90º pull-out, a simple U-turn and a figure of eight.  
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Matt Ford, NZ Police motorcycle expert with some of the NZ Steel riders.

Matt Ford, NZ Police motorcycle expert talks through techniques the NZ Steel riders'll need to complete the low speed Be a Better Rider challenges.

NZ Steel riders testing their low speed motorcycle handling.

NZ Steel riders getting tips from a Passmasters instructor on completing one of the low speed motorcycle handling drills.

It was the open spaces of Pukekohe circuit, however, that most riders were looking forward to, and the smiles when the helmets came off said it all. Several riders had never been on track before, but they adapted quickly after a comprehensive briefing and a series of sighting laps in the morning. Every session had instructors and observers (including our good friend Brittany Morrow) circulating with the other riders, which proved useful in spotting opportunities for improvement. Chris was supported by seven of his top instructors on the day, plus Matt from NZ Police.  

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Chris from Passmasters giving the Pukekohe circuit briefing.

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NZ Steel riders going round the Pukekohe ciricuit for their sighting session, prior to going out on the circuit.

Brittany Morrow, safety advocate, who as also at the track day.

Brittany Morrow, who worked alongside instructors and observers on the track day.

Here are pictures of some of the riders tearing up the Pukekohe circuit

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The 22 riders who attended are far from the total number of motorcyclists at NZ Steel, but with the plant running 24/7 it’s not possible to get everyone together at one time. So with both road and track coaching proving such a success, Adrian and Chris are planning more. And the next track day could be at Hampton Downs. 

Chris is also looking to involve more firms who want to support rider safety among their employees with Ride Forever coaching. If you’re interested, then complete and send the:
Passmasters online enquiry form.