Joe Hurst- Advanced Tutor
Joe Hurst is the group Training Manager and founder member. His passion for anything two wheeled started with riding his sister's bicycle on their family farm tracks, when just a young lad. Moved onto something with an engine (very small), passing his motorbike test in the days when all you had to do was ride around the block.
More recently, he and his wife have toured Scotland extensively, including Shetland, Orkney and the Outer Hebrides, parts of Europe, and with other riding mates Canada and America - Alaska was stunning. All completed safely due to one of his better decisions to take Advanced Rider Training.
Martyn Hanson- Group Tutor
I am Martyn Hanson and I have been a biker since I was 14.
My dad bought me a BSA C15 250 to mess around in the fields behind his work, after it nearly broke my shin kicking it over, I fell in love with two wheels.
I left school at 16 and messed about for a year on a Yamaha FS1e, after which I was given an ultimatum, get a job or get out! I joined the Army on my 17th birthday and never looked back. Over the years I’ve owned every make and most models on two wheels, from superbikes to plodders, trials to enduro.
I've travelled the world on two wheels, Africa, America, Asia, Iceland and most countries in Europe, you name it, I’ve been there, and it’s so much better on two wheels!
In addition to being a RoSPA Group Tutor I hold an IAM National Observer qualification as teaching motorcycling gives me such a buzz, watching people find that ‘lightbulb’ moment is what makes tutoring such a joy.
John Duckworth - Group Tutor/ Examiner
John Duckworth is Membership Secretary and founder member.
He is a Class 1 Police motorcyclist and driver, has been involved in various training organisations during his 50 years motorcycling, and is a great believer in training which puts safety first.
His first bike was a James 125cc 2-stroke which cost £10!, but took him over all the Lake District passes.
John prefers the older style of bike, and currently rides a Yamaha 900 Diversion and a BMW K1100LT
Debra O'Connor- Group Tutor
Debra O'Connor -
I’ve had a motorcycle licence since 1997 and my first bike was a Suzuki Bandit 600s. I never really “got on” with it and turned to the BMW F650GS. Since then I have owned the newer versions, F700GS and I currently ride the F750GS.
I’ve been an advanced rider since 2010 when I first passed my IAM Test. I very quickly became an IAM Observer, and I am now an IAM National Observer. I am also a volunteer Blood Bike rider.
I like to challenge myself, learn new things and so I decided to try for the RoSPA Test where I recently achieved Gold Standard, and subsequently qualified as a RoSPA Tutor with this group.
I’m passionate about Road Safety. Observing / tutoring gives me immense satisfaction when I see students improve week on week. I currently have a 100% pass rate with my IAM Associates – I’m hoping to continue this theme with RoSPA
Gareth Crooks- Group Tutor
Gareth Crooks- How it all started……
I started my learning with SLAM around early 2018, the 10th of November, same year I passed my first advanced test with the IAM and this is how I met Mark Furnival. He was my examiner, and that same weekend I also joined North West Blood Bikes.
In May 2019 I joined the ROSPA group and it all started all over again. There was something missing from my riding so I went on a full course and passed with a Gold on 9th of November 2019. I’m also doing a Rapid Roadmaster course with Iain Begg who is one of our Examiners.
I’ve never stopped learning and this group will help you to get the best out of you and learn about your bike.
The more you put in the more you can take out.
Jane Dowbiggin- Group Tutor
Jane Dowbiggin - I started motorcycling in 1997, on a Bandit 600, and joined the local IAM group later that year. Having passed my IAM Test and also LCC’s Advanced Test, I went on to become an IAM Observer in 2000, and then to qualify as a Senior Observer after that. In addition, I did some CBT Instructing for LCC, and helped-out with marshaling at cycle events over the summers that followed.
Between 2004 and 2010 my observing gave way to helping-out - now on a VFR - as a Guide with a Motorcycle Touring company, which took me further across the UK and in Europe. Sadly though, work commitments away from home curtailed my motorcycling opportunities for the next few years.
After replacing my VFR with a Crossrunner, it was 2015 before I returned in earnest, doing a Rapid 'Roadmaster' course in 2019 and then also joining RoSPA that same year.
Having gained a RoSPA Gold in October 2019, I now look forward to hopefully helping many others achieve the same, and further develop their enjoyment of motorcycling, as I do as well.
Mike Wilkinson - Group Tutor
Mike Wilkinson - (affectionately nicknamed Rat since 7 yrs old).
I live in Kendal, a stones throw from where I was brought up on a farm. As soon as I was able to stop riding the fields, I hit the road on a 50cc. After the first year, reaching 32mph, downhill, clutch in, with the wind behind me…well, it just wasn’t enough. I moved onto numerous motorcycles, too many to recall! I’m currently riding a Suzuki Intruder 1800cc.
In 2000, I was impressed Cumbria Police started the original ‘Bike Safe 2000’, so gathered a number of groups and took them to the sessions for support. Although my riding skills improved, my naive youthful attitude didn’t. In 2009, riding around too fast, I hit a car head-on at ‘xx’ mph, nearly losing my leg. This inspired me to join IAM, gaining a F1RST, and then a National Observers’ qualification. Like many, I joined RoSPA, where I gained a Gold and I’m now tutoring advanced here too.
I married a redheaded Geordie Biker, Michelle, who has a GSX-1000. In the early days, we both became Blood Bike riders, and I’m now the Deputy Manager for Kendal.
I love bikes, bike rallies, and biker people. If I’m not riding a bike, I’m doing one of two things…getting on, or getting off!
Simon Hanson- Advanced Tutor
Simon Hanson – Secretary and founder member
Simon retired in 2017 following a career in IT running some very large global organisations.
He holds a number of advanced qualifications including being a RoSPA Advanced Tutor.
He owns a number of Motorcycles and not only rides on the road but is a keen enduro rider.
Bob Byrne - Advanced Group Tutor
Bob Bryne- I returned to Motorcycling in 2001 at the age of 46, not having ridden anything with two wheels and an engine since I was 16, when I owned a Vespa 150 Sportique!
On passing my test in 2001 my first motorcycle was a Honda VFR800FI, which I owned for five years, replacing it with a BMW K1200S in 2006. In 2008 I bought my first GS (R1200GS), which I replaced with a R1200GS Adventure in 2010. I’m now on my third GS Adventure.
I passed my IAM Advanced Test in 2005, then became an Observer for them in 2008.
In 2010 I took my IAM Senior Observer Test and I have been a Senior Observer/National Observer with them ever since.
I passed the IAM Masters Test in 2014, and the 5 yearly retest in 2019 with a distinction. I am registered as a Masters Mentor.
As I was spending time practising my riding skills and swotting up the theory for Senior Observer Test in 2010, I decided it would be a good time to apply for the RoSPA Test, which I passed with a Gold. I have retained the Gold on my 3 yearly retests since then.
I started as an Advanced Tutor with RoSPA in 2019.
I am also a rider and a rider assessor with North West Blood Bikes Lancs and Lakes
Steve Ingle - Group Tutor
Steve Ingle - I first started riding at 16 in 1980 on a Suzuki AP50 with dropped handlebars and a maximum speed of 53 mph…downhill, it smelt beautiful. As soon as I was 17, I saved £200 and purchased a Yamaha RD250. On the day of my test the indicators stopped working so I had to completely remove them and then it began to snow. I dropped the bike in front of the examiner and he still passed me. “Well done Steven for switching the emergency stop off”
I have owned many bikes my favourite being the Kawasaki ZZR 1400, a rocket on wheels!
I passed my advanced test around 10 years ago and soon became a National Observer for the IAM. The chance of becoming a ROSPA Tutor was a no-brainer, I love to teach advanced riding and watching riders enjoying using the skills I have passed on.
John Butcher - Group Tutor
John Butcher is the group Treasurer and a founder member. He became addicted to bikes back in 1976 when he tasted the forbidden fruit of riding a Mick Andrew Replica Ossa 250 over the slag heaps of his native South Yorkshire. Since that day there has never been a time when there was not at least one bike in his garage. Today John enjoys the tarmac as much as riding off road and likes nothing better than packing the panniers of his KTM 1190R and setting off for a few thousand miles and a few weeks in the saddle or alternatively playing around for a few days on the trails of the Isle of Man on his Yamaha WR250.
Biking Highlight – Anchorage to Prudhoe bay on the Dalton Highway on somebody else’s bike (GS1200)
Biking lowlight - Writing off his beloved Aprilia Tuono on a winter ride to Sedburgh in 2008, just after passing his Advance test with the IAM.
Paul Whiteley - Group Tutor
Paul’s love of motorbikes started at the age of eleven years old, when he used to ride his Cotton trials bike around the family’s caravan park. He then became an active member of the local motorcycle club and took part in trials competitions throughout the county. Having ridden a host of different bikes over the years Paul assumed, like many other bikers on the road, that he knew it all. That was until ten years ago, when a retired police officer friend talked him into doing some advanced training. What a revelation that turned out to be. Since then, Paul has invested in his training and has achieved several advanced riding qualifications including IAM Masters and RoSPA Gold. So all in all, according to Paul, one of life’s better decisions! Paul currently rides a BMW R1200RT and a Honda CB1100 EX and enjoys being able to pass on advanced riding skills to other riders.
Derek Saunders - Group Tutor
I’m semi-retired and live in East Lancashire with my wife Shirley and Popps our excitable boxer. I’ve had a lifelong interest in motorcycles thanks to riding pillion with my Dad when I was in short trousers. I enjoy every aspect of motorcycles & motorcycling including restoring and riding vintage bikes, track days, group ride outs and touring. Over the past 49 years I’ve owned & ridden a huge range of machines but my current whim is a Tiger 1200 which ticks all the boxes. I am an IAM Masters Mentor and a ROSPA Gold rider and have been tutoring for ROSPA since 2017.
David Rees - Group Tutor
I passed my bike test in 1978 and used to ride 150 miles to and from university on a fully loaded up Honda C90 which was a bit of an ordeal in January. I rode to Italy on a Honda CB500F in 1979 but then had a break, though I did hire a Harley in San Francisco and ride across the golden gate bridge during the bike-less years. I restarted 12 years ago and have owned quite a few bikes from an Aprilia RS250, Yamaha TDR250 at the light end to Pan European, Trophy 1200 and GS Adventure among the heavy weights.
I have been through quite a few modern classics as well and currently own a Suzuki GT750 and Suzuki RG500 which I love to ride occasionally. My all time favourite routes are the passes in the Alpes and Pyrenees, though Hawes to
Ingleton is up there...
I am National observer and team leader with the MBEAM IAM group and a rider and assessor for NW Blood Bikes. Over the years I have worked with a lot of associates and have enjoyed seeing their skills develop, learning from each other and some excellent banter. In my opinion the great thing about
advanced training is that it makes riding not only safer but more stimulating and enjoyable. We never stop learning. Go for it, you won't regret it.