As UK&I Chapter Directors, we have a dedicated Facebook page for our chat and disseminationof information between us. H-D management also have access to this page, and back in February a post popped up to see if any directors would be interested in attending the inaugural Harley-Davidson Adventure Centre weekend? How could I possibly with any integrity refuse such anoffer? And no before you ask, there were no super director discounts or anything else, we paidthe same amount as you guys would pay, bearing in mind that you do receive a HOG discount that the ‘general public’ don’t receive, saving you £50.00 for the days course.

And that’s how Kath and I found ourselves driving to Wales on the first weekend in March, with theever-increasing fuel shortage and rising costs just beginning. We actually did extremely well for fuel costs on both legs of the journey.

Lake Vyrnwy was our destination for the hotel, what a stunning location it is and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Situated on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park. The actual Adventure Centre is approx. 10 miles away but easily reached in about 20min.

Mick Extance runs the centre for H-D. Mick has competed on a motorcycle in many Dakar races and also runs an Enduro and Motocross school. Funnily enough his son rides for Plymouth Speedway Team at St.Boniface Speedway Arena at Marsh-Mills Roundabout, Plymouth.

We drove the 5-hour journey on the Saturday, arriving early evening, had a drink or 2 and ate dinner looking out over the beautiful Lake Vyrnwy, before heading to bed as we had to be up early onSunday morning to head over to the Adventure Centre. We woke on Sunday morning to a cold, icy but beautiful day and headed for the Centre, being

careful of the icy patches of run-off water on the roads.

Only 4 riders are instructed at any one time, usually 2 with Mick and 2 with another of his instructors. Our group consisted of the 4 (Gareth Swanson – Rolling Hills and ROC, Daniel JamesCradock – Birmingham, along with his AD and of course me}, and Mick led us all that day by himself. The morning consisted of coffee while meeting and greeting and the necessary videoand brief before choosing our machines for the day. Funnily enough they were all full spec PAPAS. All in Deadwood green, except one in the Baja orange and white.

Everything you need is included for your day’s enjoyment, boots, full off-road adventure clothing, cloves and helmet, with a full variety of sizes to fit all. And then we were off, down through the local village and within 5 minutes we were at the start of the big climb into the mountainousAdventure Centre. Everyone was a little nervous to start as we were instructed to stand up on the pegs and no need to sit

down, all day. Talk about muscle burn.

Now, being as this was the inaugural weekend there was of course a full film crew with drones and cameras on every turn. Stop here guys, pose for the camera guys, ride back down that way so we can film you again guys, ride up that steep bank and try not to fall off guys. In fact, I was the only one that day not to fall off, and that included Mick too. It was close, but I managed to hold it half way up a bank when I knocked it into neutral and started rolling back sideways on, then I had to try and pull away again back up the slope. Hooray for the hill start function.

Up trail and down trail we went, in and out of puddles, traversing areas called ‘The dark Side’ and ‘The Rock Garden’, all in a day’s fun.

Lunch consisted of us riding back to Lake Vyrnwy Hotel for an amazing lunch where Kath joined our group and ate with us. After that we were back out to the Adventure Centre for even more testing trails, and more photos and filming.

As the day progressed everyone became very familiar with their bike and what it could actually do, and what we the riders could do on and with it. Bring on the challenges, who cares about mud and paint scratches and dents, these bikes are built for it. The Americans have a new nickname for the Pan America, the Mud Glide. In fact, after seeing many drops throughout the day I saw no damage except for Mick’s broken brake lever after he dropped his bike showing us a low speed manoeuvre.

And so, after many thrilling trails and experiences, the day ended and we rode back towards the Adventure Centre HQ, or so we thought. We once again came across the camera crew who wanted one last drone video in the changing light. Can you ride over to the other side of thatmountain please while we film it? This time only 3 of us went, the last just too tired to ride off-road any further. And not surprisingly enough this was the most wet and slippery area the whole day had consisted of. It was bad enough the first time around, I didn’t relish the second time one bit. But we made it back, not without incident I must add, and collected our fellow rider and continued to HQ. Kath was waiting there for us along with the film crew who wanted to interview us all singularly about our experiences of the day.

Kath also got in on this as a non-rider and what they can do during the day while their partner is off riding.

Back to the Hotel, washed and then dinner with that amazing lake view from the dining room, then it was time for bed as we had to travel home on the Monday morning. I had booked a day holiday from work to make life easier.

If you like the Pan America you will love this off­ road day out. I would still highly recommend it just for the fun and thrill.

I can imagine a group of eight Chapter members booking the course for a Saturday and Sunday, with 4 on the course and 4 riding the roads in the beautiful Welsh countryside (Not far from the westcoast), and then swapping over on the Sunday. Food for thought?

Paul.