2022 a motorcycle riding year in review - Toad Hancocks

Toad looks back at 2022, remembering some of the memorable events, launches and motorcycle sporting events of the last 12-months


2022 was a bit of a weird year by all accounts. We moved out of Covid (sort of), went back to normal on many fronts, and the motorcycle industry felt like a familiar place once more.

But as 2022 draws to a close and 2023 is just around the corner, we look back, at the bikes, events and sporting moments that were memorable in the last 12 months.

Most memorable launch | Triumph Tiger 1200 – Portugal

The press-riding launch for the new 2022 Triumph Tiger 1200 is up here for a couple of reasons. First of all, it represented the most comprehensive update of Triumph’s flagship adventure touring machine. With a total redesign and all-new T-plane engine, it marked a comprehensive effort from the Hinckley brand to take the fight to the seemingly all-conquering BMW R 1250 GS. The second reason was the vent itself; two days riding both on and off-road on some of the best routes in Southern Spain, there really isn’t much to dislike about that!

And it was really no surprise to find that the bike was a peach, on-road, and off-road, it handles phenomenally, has an engine with a unique delivery, and comfort in abundance. It even had the most die-hard GS fans on launch genuinely surprised by how well it performed.

Favourite track visited | Mugello

April 2022 represented the chance to tick off a childhood dream of mine and take to the hallowed Mugello circuit for the launch of the new Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV Corsa road and track tyres. It was a stunning day, first of all being let out on the frankly jaw-dropping Mugello circuit, then an afternoon riding the local roads around the mountains.

As a circuit, Mugello has everything, from the long, super-fast start and finish straight, to the stunning, very fast Casanova to Sevelli complex. If you’re an avid trackday rider and haven’t made the pilgrimage to the circuit yet, it needs to be on your bucket list for 2023. You simply will not regret it!

Best event attended | Goodwood Festival of Speed

Riding at the Goodwood Festival of Speed is also a special occasion. Getting asked if you could ride three bikes up the famous hill on two separate days was something very special. You go from dining with Formula 1 stars in the VIP area, to (literally) rubbing shoulders with the greats as you get changed before your run. You are then transported to the start line of the event, which despite being surrounded by tens of thousands of fans is an eerily lonely place.

All you have in front of you is a ribbon of Tarmac, a handful of corners, and 75,000 pairs of eyes all watching the track. Then there is the YouTube Live Stream, beaming the event live into the homes of millions of homes across the world. Mess this seemingly easy ride up, and you’ll become an instant meme. There really isn’t anything else like it!

Most memorable sporting moment | Alex Rins’ Valencia MotoGP win

Yes, we saw Ducati crown its first MotoGP champion in Pecco Bagnaia, but I’m a Brit’ and we love an underdog story – especially when one of the championship's most likeable riders is at the centre of it all. Alex Rins' lights to flag victory at Valencia proved a couple of things. First of all, Rins is the real deal, given the right bike, who knows what he could achieve... Secondly, in my opinion, it also goes someway to proving that Suzuki’s decision to withdraw from the world of motorsport (in particular MotoGP), might not be the best decision the Japanese brand has ever made.

Most memorable road trip | Touring Wales on the Energica Experia

If you are looking to tour without leaving the UK, Wales is probably the top destination for many Brits’. It’s not stunning mountains, hundreds of miles of coastline and some of the best riding roads the UK has to offer. Earlier this year, myself and Alex set off for a bit of an on-road adventure, and the Energica Experia we were riding turned out to be as impressive as the locations we visited.

The first all-new bike for a number of years from Energica turns out to be a real-life game-changer for the electric motorcycle sector. It has a real-world 140-mile range, fast recharge times, excellent comfort, and road manners that are genuinely eye-opening.

The bike I’m most looking forward to riding in 2023 – Triumph Street Triple RS

Featuring a heavily update engine, more power than any previous Street Triple and tweaked styling for 2023, the Triumph Street Triple is looking to reassert its dominance in the naked class. For the incoming model year, Triumph has boosted the appeal and ability of its legendary middleweight naked, with the new bike also boasting improved technology than ever before. It benefits from engine updates that are a trickle-down from the Moto2 World Championship, both the R and RS feature improved rideability, more power, torque, and tweaked ergonomics. Not only that, but Triumph has also announced a new Moto2 edition of the machine, featuring special graphics and revised ergonomics and unique clip-on handlebars.

Adding to the excitement is the chance to visit one of the greatest European tracks in the form of Jerez. It’s wide and extremely fast. The surface is perfect, and (fingers crossed) so is the weather.

Whatever the next 12-months brings, the last 12 have truly been a blast, and I want to thank each and ever reader for joining us for the ride.

In the meantime, have a great Christmas and a happy new year,