12 sheep and it’s a traffic jam

Danny taylor, March Moto Madness, Haggs Bank All Terrain Adventure
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TRF:

Hi Danny. So what is March Moto Madness?

Danny:

March Moto Madness (MMM) was set up by the Americans as an adventure event to be held on the same weekend in as many countries as possible which included over 14 countries this year. As you would expect, the Americans do everything extra large, one of their events this year had about 500 people at it with Klim acting as sponsors. MMM is growing to become the largest motorcycle adventure event in the world. Of course over here we're not quite so big, but the essence is the same. This year it was held in two locations in the UK, one in Wales with Craig Whitney at The Moto Shed, and one with me up in Cumbria at Haggs Bank Bunkhouse.

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We combine this with a bit fun and making sure that the heart of the event is about getting out on your bike, rather than just riding here and parking up in a field for the weekend. The MMM we hosted was all about riding and exploring our neck of the woods for three days.

TRF:

So how did it play out with you guys this year?

Danny:

We had people camping, we had people in motorhomes, and of course people in the bunk house. There were about 50 riders and we set up six different runs that catered for all abilities and interests. Two were road runs and four were on green roads. The TRF was a massive help, we had guys from Northumbria and Cumbria TRF leading runs which meant that we were able to cover a huge area based on local knowledge, from the Lake District, through Northumbria and down to the far reaches of Yorkshire.

After the days riding everyone toasted their adventures and shared stories around the campfire, enjoying good local food and ales with a local band providing the entertainment. Those that were up for it got out on the Sunday too. We helped a couple of guys that wanted to push themselves have a go at riding off road.

TRF:

So is there coaching? Is it a case of just taking people on some easy tracks?

Danny:

Well it's taking them on some easy tracks and given them the opportunity to ask questions. Sometimes people are shy about letting on how much experience they do or don't have. At the June event we are actually going to do some teaching because on the back side of the March event we realised that you know what, people do want to learn and have somewhere to have a go. So we're going to set courses up in the land that we own up here so you can ride up and down a little bit of humpy ground, hollows and everything just to get the feel and experience of it.

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A lot of the guys that rode the MMM now have the appetite to actually want to learn a little bit more, to test their bikes because a lot of people set these bikes up for travelling and they don't know how to handle. Hopefully we are giving them an experience ready to set off on their big travels as well as give them the opportunity to talk to people who come here with vast amounts of experience.

TRF:

So MMM isn't the only event you run then? What else is happening at Haggs Bank this summer?

Danny:

Well the next event we have is the Haggs All Terrain Adventure, in partnership with Adventure Spec. This is an event where you can learn how to ride trails, especially if you are new to it. We have set up courses, river crossings, and people can have a go at all types of different riding to gain more experience. Hopefully the more experienced people will jump in and help out.  We have a slow riding competition which is always a laugh and actually quite difficult - how slow you can ride it is a very important part of riding a bike, especially over challenging terrain. Dazzer Mitchel who has ridden two up around the world will be teaching people how to cross rivers and of course there will be people on hand to catch bike and rider if anyone decides to take a swim. A big part of the weekend will be learning how to map read with a big orienteering course that will take riders up to the edge of Scotland and back. Lastly but not least we will have four very experienced world travellers here taking part in Q and A sessions, a great way of people learning from adventurers that have been there and done it.

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TRF:

It sounds great. It's like a festival of Adventure Motorcycling in the North of England.

Danny:

Yes but don't forget we will also be including road bikes too for those that don't want to ride off-road. We are going to do an orienteering competition for the road bikes that will take people to stunning locations like Long Meg and Hartside. We are trying to promote the area for all the outstanding beauty it has to offer as well as covering a wide range of motorcycling.

TRF:

For people that haven't been up to this part of England, what is the landscape like? For people driving up from Surrey and Essex, what can they expect?

Danny:

Well, stunning views, very little traffic, fantastic roads, heaven really. The largest traffic jam is about 12 sheep on the road! It's as we call it, the last wilderness in England. There's very few places that you can go to now where you experience that.


To get involved in Haggs All Terrain Adventure check out the website and Facebook pages.

The event runs from 4th to 7th June and costs £99 for camping and £129 for the bunkhouse. All food, activities and guides are included. You just need to provide the beer (or buy some of the local brew).

Later in the year Danny will also be running the Haggs Mini Tracks, an orienteering event for bikes below 250cc (get your C90s out), and the Horizon Adventure Weekend. Get in touch with Danny for more info.