Hogan's Heroes: Motocross

It's been a while since Hogan's been subjected to some proper field discipline. Time to go motocrossing with Avago MX


Preconception: motocross is for young extreme athletes
Reality: motocross is for young extreme athletes
What I learned: I'm not young any more, or an athlete

Motocross: the motor sport of choice for legends and lunatics the world over. The basic principle (I think) is to find a bike that's so light it'll float away if you put too much air in the tyres, then fit an engine that'll kill you if you so much as look at it funny. And then ride, largely out of control, around a bomb-cratered moonscape looking for somewhere to crash.

Karl Newton runs Avago MX, a Honda sponsored motocross tryout school not far from Norwich. The idea is simple. If you don't want the hassle of buying a bike and just want to 'avago' (geddit?) Karl can
provide brand new bikes, kit and instruction. Saving you the embarrassment of buying a bike and all the kit, then selling it 'cos it's all too scary. Maybe.

Karl started me off on a Honda CRF100. He was fairly impressed as (apparently) I seemed to look like I knew what I was doing. Thing is, the CRF100 is about the same size as a pint of beer so it wasn't exactly hard to boss around. I quickly moved from the junior track to the proper track, and swapped the 100 for a CR125 two-stroke (think Honda CG125 to Honda Blackbird).

It was ridiculous. I couldn't get my head around how you just have to trust the front not to wash out when you have no real feel for what's going on. Rather than digesting constant feedback from the suspension, tyres and throttle like you can on a road bike, I just tensed up and tiptoe'd round like I was on ice. I struggled to understand how you could pile into a corner, change line a couple of times, even ride off the edge of the track if you wanted and still be upright on your way out.

After a couple of sessions Karl swapped the 125 for a CRF450 (think Honda Blackbird to Lockheed
SR-71 Blackbird) and after two or three laps I really got into it and started enjoying the sensation more and more. I really liked powering out of the corners with the back spinning away.

I don't want to keep harping on about my longtermer getting crashed (he's only just started - TD) but it hurt less to write-off a road bike than it did to stay on two dirt bikes with a combined capacity of less than my Suzook. By the end of the day I wasn't just tired, I was drained of all strength. Be warned.

With the Avago School you could do two days a month on Karl's bikes for a whole year and - by
avoiding the hassle of maintenance, tyres and a trailer on the drive - it would cost less than it would to buy a second-hand 'crosser. Bargain.


Karl Newton

With over 300 trophies from club and national races, and an Eastern Centre motocross title, Karl also rides in the Lings Motocross Display team.

Half/full day: £110/£175

07929 650736 / www.mxaddict.com