Silverstone Circuit has teamed up with Mission Motorsport, The Forces’ Motorsport Charity, and Fast Bikes magazine, to host the inaugural ‘Forces Bike Track Day’. Held on Monday 10 June, members of the Armed Forces, past and present, were invited to experience the thrill of riding a motorcycle on Silverstone’s International Circuit, including sections of the world-famous Grand Prix Circuit.
Running alongside the bike track day, and in conjunction with Mission Motorsport, was The Bike Experience, a charity founded by Talan Skeels-Piggins, a former Royal Navy fighter controller, paralysed from the chest down following a motorcycle accident. Now a keen alpine skier, Skeels-Piggins established the charity to provide adaptive machinery to disabled motorcycle riders, enabling them to get back on two wheels.
The participants at Silverstone were able to learn or re-learn riding skills, away from public roads and under the safe and expert guidance of qualified professionals. The aim of the day was to introduce those injured in action back into riding, using specially adapted bikes and the help of trained technicians to gradually build confidence and skills on two wheels. The riders also benefitted from the guidance of 1996 and 2005 Superbike World Champion Troy Corser, as well as 2007 British Supersport Champion and MotoGP™ rider Michael Laverty, who attended in support of the event and charities.
James Cameron, Director of Mission Motorsport, said: “The Fast Bikes Forces Track Day hosted by the Silverstone team provided a first-class opportunity for The Mission Motorsport Bike Team, in conjunction with their partner charity 'The Bike Experience', to offer a group of injured service personnel the chance to use motorbikes as a mechanism in their individual recovery and rehabilitation programme. We have already received great feedback from participants who thought they would never get back on a bike following their injuries.
“Mission Motorsport is delighted with the support they have received from Silverstone and the response from all involved, which resulted in eight very happy riders and proved the relationships and working practice that will hopefully lead to many more events in the future.”
Talan Skeels-Piggins, founder of The Bike Experience, said: "Many of those injured believe that the choice to ride a motorcycle has been taken away from them. Today has proved that the choice lies with the individual, that they can achieve anything and enjoy the fantastic feeling of riding a motorcycle. It was magical to see each rider grow in confidence, develop self-belief and wear the biggest smiles ever!"
Richard Phillips, Managing Director, Silverstone Circuits Ltd, commented: “We are very pleased to have hosted the first-ever Forces Bike Track Day at Silverstone, in collaboration with Mission Motorsport and Fast Bikes magazine. The programme today was about learning and developing new skills in a safe environment, with all the thrills of Silverstone’s International Circuit. While safety and confidence building was a priority, the day is also about having fun! It’s been a great day here with a fantastic turnout. Silverstone is hosting all ten of The Bike Experience’s ride days - it is an honour to be assisting with changing people’s lives.”
The Forces Track Day is one of several Bike Track Days on offer at Silverstone. The circuit has a variety of Bike Track Day packages that are open to motorcycle licence holders of all levels, presenting riders with the opportunity to experience the excitement of riding on either the International or Grand Prix circuit. Silverstone’s Bike Track Days provide the time and space for riders to reach the full potential of their bikes and skills in a safe environment with professional instructors and technical advice, and can be tailored to suit all requirements.
Feedback from the track day:
“Your facilities are fantastic and the whole day was professionally run and friendly. I have done a handful of trackdays before and I believe this was the best yet.”
"I would like to thank all the staff for making it such an amazing wonderful day and for the very helpful atmosphere provided particularly by the instructors on track"
“I had a fantastic day, one of the best track days I’ve been on.”
Right: Richie talks to Troy Corser following his ride: "It was a great experience and one I can't get out of my head. The feeling of being back on a bike was absolutely brilliant and it made me feel like...me. Something I haven't felt for a long time."
Troy Corser offers Pam some riding advice on a specially adapted bike with left hand controls:
“Please pass on my heartfelt thanks to all those who participated and made the day possible. I not only had a fantastic day but got back on a bike after my accident 11 years ago and went from zero confidence to not wanting to get off!! That in itself is priceless."