Originally Posted by J Lewis
In fact one of the ideas we are kicking around it to have a parallel course with riders who want to do a “fun level” rally training at the same time where they get to “observe and help” the serious guys...
FWIW Jimmy... here in Sweden we (myself, Olle Ohlsson and Annie Seel) set up a similar sort of riding school/course/evaluation with just such a goal back in 2007...
Destination Down Under CHALLENGE
Within the scope of this "school" there were two different categories; one "fun level" training group (which we called BOOT CAMP
) aimed at those enthusiasts who just wanted to be involved and experience something like this; ie to "observe and help".
Run in parallel with the boot camp were those who had entered the CHALLENGE
division... which was an evaluation/selection type competition... the winner of which, recieved a fully prepped bike, paid entry and supported ride in a rally event (TUAREG Rally 2008).
The idea was that the "Challengers" competed against one another in various navigation, riding excercises, physical/mental challenges and even various trailside mechanical aptitude tests, to determine the ultimate victor. The "boot campers" were present during the entire event, and rode most of the transport/trail stages to get a "feel" for what it was like to be on a multi-day event (not just a trail ride... there were time schedules to adhere to etc.) and they used the same route/sheets as the challenge participants... albeit - occassionally - a shorter route itinerary to the "Challenge" riders.
Another positive in having the "boot campers" along on this type of "school", was that they performed the role of travelling marshalls or "helpers" to the organisation, when it came time to "assist" with conducting the different competition phases of the various "challenges". In this way they very much fullfilled an active role in the "selection process" and gained a much better understanding for what was need, if - in future - they ever chose to "step it up" and take up the task of competing in a rally themselves.
We found (and i think the same might be true here on ADVRider) that interest in the "fun level" rally training (as you put it) is significantly greater than the demand perhaps for a "hard core" Dakar/rally preparation course. In many way's those individuals who have made the commitment and strive to get to a big time rally event - like Dakar or similar - and are genuine in their commitment to reach that goal, will have often - themselves - already found ways to meet the training needs and adequately prepare and organise/avail themselves with the means to do so. There are a number of examples of these individuals that can be found actively on this website presently.
However, the "gee... maybe I'd like to do that someday"
crowd, are possibly more interested in being provided with a model where they can come to a "set table" where the format is laid out and conducted by an experienced leader such as yourself, and that is NOT to say, if such a program existed; that the "hard core" guys would not avail themselves of it... it's just that (I think) your BIGGER market is in the "GI wannabe" sector... the guy's who really WANT to do it... are finding the means in any case.
Which is one of the reason's I came up with my "Dirty Long Weekend"
Which has proven very popular with the "mere mortal" crowd, many of who - subsequently - have gone on to compete in a real desert rally event, having had a chance to get their "toes wet" and pump some other experienced riders/instructors for information/advice.
Good luck with it Jimmy... you've got an ideal
base both logistically AND terrain wise, as a training ground for a true "desert rally" school.