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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > Issue 325 April 2017 > SIX STEPS TO SIDEWAYS

SIX STEPS TO SIDEWAYS

Going sideways on a bike is über sexy. And, with the right tuition, it’s also easier than you might think.
IMAGES: GARY CHAPMAN

CHAMPIONS FLATTRACK SCHOOL

Anyone remember Melandri taking the chequered at Phillip Island in ’06? It was one of those iconic Grand Prix racing moments that made one contemplate trading one’s left testicle for an ounce of that man’s talent. To us mere mortals, the idea of a one-handed drift at 140mph is up there with walking on the moon or marrying a Playboy bunny.

But, as unlikely as any of the above is, that’s not to say it’s impossible. Well, the sideways bit, anyway. See, buried deep within the heart of Lincolnshire isavery special riding school that’s committed to making people two-wheeled drifting gods.

It’s called the Champions Flattrack School and its run by European and British flattrack champ Pete Boast. Yep, the same guy who’s also something ofaTT legend and a dab hand at short circuit racing, too. Knowing full well of my general riding inadequacies, the legend invited me along to his base for a few lessons in going sideways.

I wasn’t alone when I arrived at the school in Glentham. It might have been a nipple-stiffening –3ºC on arrival, but that did nothing to blunt the enthusiasm of the 12 students who’d rocked up from all over the country for the day’s level one course. With more free tea and cake than you can shake a stick at, the harshness of the wintery morning soon gave way to excitement as us riders scoffed grub, signed on and gathered round Pete for a welcoming briefing. “We want you to draw the best out of today, so we’re going to split you into small groups with your own instructors,” he announced. Earmarked for Pete’s group, I was paired up with newbie rider Hassan and MX pro Ross.

The day’s playground was an enormous farm shed with an oval course outlined by straw bales. We were told to get our kit on before regrouping ready for the day’s first exercise – the slalom.

Who put that bloody cone there?
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