SMS Academy 2018/19 squad assembles

Successful applicants to the 2018/19 SMS Academy announced along with sponsorship from Ride Scotland.

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The successful applicants to the 2018/19 SMS Academy have been announced and have already attended Knockhill Racing Circuit today, for the first session of the Academy programme.

The SMS Academy was set up in 2017 to support young riders and drivers (aged 14-20) who are showing potential to excel in the sport. Having successfully supported 23 young drivers and riders in the 2017/18 programme, applications launched in August for a new fresh squad to come in and benefit from the Academy’s support. Since launching the application, we have received a huge amount of interest in the programme. This has made the job of the selection panel – which included representatives from Scottish Motor Sports, the Scottish Auto Cycle Union (SACU) and the Motor Sports Association (MSA) – extremely difficult but after some deliberation, the following competitors have been selected:

The SMS Academy members will each be allocated a coach to offer remote support and advice when needed across the year. Between now and August 2019, the members will take part in four development workshops, which will support them in all aspects of their development, equipping them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to maximise their performance.

The first SMS Academy workshop took place today – Wednesday 17th October – at Knockhill, where the Academy members are getting an introduction to the programme, creating their own development plan for the upcoming year and learning about sponsorship, amongst other subjects.  The programme will again be delivered by fully qualified MSA Level 2 coaches; Blair Brown and Malcolm McNab will be continuing as Academy coaches but they will also be joined by SACU Enduro competitor, Kevin Murray, who – having went through his level 2 coaching qualification last year, will be tasked with leading some of the more technical discussions with the riders on the programme.

New for the 2018/19 programme will be a specific session for the parents in January; parents of the Academy athletes will be invited to attend a special Introduction to Coaching session that will be aimed at developing their own understanding of talent development and coaching to help them best support their son/daughters development. This is being introduced following feedback from last year’s programme, where parents expressed that they would like to have more involvement in their son/daughters development on the SMS Academy. 

There will also be additional support for the SACU riders on the programme this year with sponsorship from Ride Scotland. This new sponsorship will support the riders through additional coaching at events / training days, to help facilitate the riders to put what they have learned in the SMS Academy sessions, into practice.

Amongst the bike racers selected for the Academy this year are Adon Davie (Prestonpans, SACU, Road Race), Angus Bruce (Kelso, SACU, Enduros), Calum Pert (Edzell, SACU, Road Race), Declan Connell (Dunfermline, SACU, Road Race), Jack Hart (Renfrew, SACU, Road Race), Lewis Nicol (Cupar, SACU, Road Race), Robbie Wood (Melrose, SACU, Quad), Ross Maguire (Wishaw, SACU, Road Race), and Sophie Simpson (Stewarton, SACU, Trials).

Follow the SMS Social media channels to hear about the upcoming SMS Academy sessions and to keep up to date with the new squad’s progress. 


Cuts to electric vehicle subsidies announced

From 9 November, grants for new plug-in hybrids will be scrapped, while discounts on all-electric cars will be cut from £4,500 to £3,500. Will the same happen to the subsidies for electric motorcycles, the truth is we don’t know yet.

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The announcement from the Department of Transport is very much against the current green energy trends and the policy of the Scottish government. In addition to paying up to the first £1500 of the cost of an electric motorcycle the Scottish government had extended the financial support to include o% finance on most models.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said:

“It’s disappointing that the Department of Transport has decided to cut the level of support available to prospective electric and hybrid electric owners, 

“The Scottish Government is committed to phasing out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032 and growth in the registration of new EV and PHEV vehicles is higher in Scotland than in the rest of the UK.  This year we are making available almost £50m to continue to support the take up of low emission vehicles. 

“We will consider the implications of the DfT announcement for growth in greener transport in Scotland and provide further information in due course.”

The latest news is certainly going to be a blow to the electric car market and we’ll be watching this closely in the months ahead to see any moves made against motorcycles.

Arc electric-powered neo-cafe racer to be unveiled

UK-based Arc Vehicle will unveil the world’s first fully-electric café racer with Human Machine Interface (HMI) on November 6th at the EICMA show in Milan.

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UK-based Arc Vehicle will unveil the world’s first fully-electric café racer with Human Machine Interface (HMI) on November 6that the EICMA show in Milan. 

The machine – designated Vector – promises to be the next evolution of electric motorcycling by being more than just a high-performance e-powered bike. Vector is set to become the most fulfilling, safest and cleanest bike on the road.

“Technology, performance, safety and experience come together like never before on two wheels,” commented Mark Truman, CEO, Arc Vehicle Ltd. “The Vector is more than just the world’s most premium electric motorcycle; it’s the world’s first motorcycle with integrated multi-sensory HMI (Human Machine Interface), it’s an innovative heads-up display helmet and it’s a tactile riding suit – all making up the most involving motorcycle experience on the market today.”

The teaser image from Arc Vehicle shows just a silhouette, showing just a glimpse of the level of style on offer. The company has promised incredible performance characteristics, combined with sustainability, sensory stimuli and style.

The company’s stand at EICMA will include a virtual reality experience area, allowing attendees to immerse themselves into riding the Arc Vector.

#RideScotland October issue out now

Get the latest issue of Ride Scotland magazine now!

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Motorcycle Live joins forces with the Bennetts British Superbike Championship

The UK’s biggest bike show, Motorcycle Live, has joined forces with the UK’s premier motorcycle racing series, the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, to host the first ever official ‘BSB Day’ at this year’s event.

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Motorcycle Live will take place at The NEC, Birmingham from 17-25 November, with Saturday 24 November dedicated to all things Bennetts BSB.

BSB Day will include a takeover of the Blackhorse Stage in the Eurosport Entertainment Zone, with special guest appearances from a whole host of Bennetts British Superbike stars. James Whitham will host on-stage Q&As with the riders, getting all the lowdown from another thrilling season of edge-of-your-seat racing.

Audience members will be able to submit their own questions for the riders on the day via the #AskWhitham hashtag and could also be in with a chance of winning one of four pairs of season tickets for the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship. The ever-popular Question of Bikes quiz, hosted by Steve Parrish, will be all about seasons, teams and riders past and present.

The Bennetts British Superbike Championship will also host its own stand within the Motorcycle Live halls throughout the nine-day event, giving show visitors the chance to get even closer to the stars of the series with rider signings and appearances. 

“We’re really pleased to join forces with the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, to host what looks set to be a fantastic addition to the Motorcycle Live line-up”, said the show’s managing director Finlay McAllan. “We always celebrate the championship at the show, welcoming the riders with open arms and including BSB content in our stage schedule, but this is the first time we’ll be hosting an official BSB Day. It’s exciting for everyone involved, not least the show visitors.” 

Motorcycle Live 2018 takes place at The NEC, Birmingham from 17-25 November. Advance tickets are on sale now priced at just £19.50 per adult, £12 for Seniors, £1 for 11-16 year olds* and FREE for children aged ten and under**. There is also a £25 advance ticket, which includes entry to the show and an Oxford HD MAX disc lock worth £25.00.

To book, call 0844 581 2345 or

DGR 2018

One week until The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is rolls into town.

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September 30th is the date so get your best brogues on, clean up that tweed, trim those beards and hit the road with DGR 2018.

120,000 distinguished gentlefolk in over 650 cities worldwide will don their cravats, tustle their ties, press their tweed, and sit astride their classic and vintage styled motorcycles to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and men’s mental health.

Supported by Shirlaws, the Aberdeen ride is being organised by Lenny Webster riding out from Abredeen with a route around the town and ending on the pier in Stonehaven for a bit of a party.

Read more below…

Share your photos to WIN £1000

Bikers get ‘wheelie’ good chance to have favourite photos judged by Superbike stars.

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  • A photography competition is giving bikers the chance to win £1,000
  • Superbike Stars Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam will judge the photos
  • Members of the public are also being asked to cast their votes
  • The winning 12 photos will be selected to appear in Carole Nash’s annual calendar

Bike enthusiasts are being given the chance to showcase their love for motorcycles by sharing their favourite images as part of a photography competition. 

Leading motorcycle insurance broker Carole Nash is calling on bikers to share their best photos of them enjoying their bikes for its MotoFoto competition to be in with a chance of winning £1,000 as well as having their photography featured in Carole Nash’s 2019 calendar.

Judges and Superbike stars Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam will select a shortlist of 50 images before a nationwide online vote takes place asking the public to choose their favourite bike shot.

The top 12 most popular biking images will feature in Carole Nash’s calendar, which is now in its eighteenth year, with a Shoei NXR Recounter helmet, and a Premier experience day at Ron Haslam’s Race School also up for grabs.

Rebecca Donohue, Head of Marketing at Carole Nash, said: “Our first calendar was printed in 2002 and has become a bit of a collector’s item for the biking community, so we wanted to give something back to them by asking them to show us how much they love their motorcycles to be in with a chance of having their images featured.

“In previous years more than 2,000 entries were submitted to the MotoFoto competition and the judges had a tough job selecting the winners. This year we want to see bikers sharing their favourite shots of them out enjoying their bikes and ask people across the country to select their winning images with the help of Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam.

“We can’t wait to see the photos are thoroughly looking forward to the voting process and crowning our winners.”

Entries to the MotoFoto competition can be submitted via the website from 9-30th September after which the 50 shortlisted images will be selected. The public vote is open from 3rd October with voters asked to select their favourite image by visiting Carole Nash social pages. Voting closes at midnight on 14th October and the Top 12 to be unveiled shortly after this date.

For more details on the prize draw along with the Terms and Conditions click here.

WIN tickets to Motorcycle Live

Tickets to Motorcycle Live, bike gear and much more to WIN in #RideScotlandChallenge

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Motorcycle Live, the UK’s biggest motorcycle show, returns to The NEC, Birmingham from 17-25 November 2018, offering two-wheeled entertainment for bike fans of all ages and levels of experience and we have tickets to give away!

Compete to WIN

It’s a test of your biking and general knowledge. It’s an excuse to get out on your bike and a bit creative with selfies and videos (with your bike of course).

#RideScotlandChallenge (in conjunction with
Login as player: PIN C87588
(and remember your user name)

Niall, Neil and the lass downstairs

An evening with Niall Mackenzie and Neil Hodgson.

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An evening with Niall Mackenzie and Neil Hodgson was guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser and could have easily been mistaken for a comedy act.

The ex-team mates and now partners in Mackenzie Hodgson Insurance were at Ducati Glasgow last night presenting their insurance venture and entraining the crowd with tales of racing glory, the hardships involved, and a hilarious discussion of one Hodgson’s adventures with a local lass when he was in-training at the Mackenzie home many, many years ago.

There’s no mistaking the Niall Mackenzie, one of Scotland’s most successful motorcycle racers and still very active around the sport. Neil Hodgson is also known for his racing exploits and the two can also be seen (or heard) commentating at events including British Superbikes, World Superbikes and MotoGP.

Related story: Niall Mackenzie and a bike from Bolton 

Team mates of old they may be but there’s a chemistry between the two that seems to work as they talk about their past exploits in racing paddocks, their experience working together and Niall taking Neil under his wing as a young and upcoming rider.

Mackenzie Hodgson Insurance is their latest venture together. The idea was generated when dealign with insurance companies for motorcycle and hearing the horror stories that other riders had dealign with their’s. 

Niall made clear that they are in a learning process as far as the insurance market is concerned but the company has solid backing from insurance industry professionals and aim to make the experience of dealign with insurance a better one for all rider, not only at the point of application but also in the case of any claims.

Whilst the commercial focus of the event was the insurance it was a very entertaining night. Kudos to Ducati Glasgow for setting it up and pulling it and a mighty thanks to Niall Mackenzie and Neil Hodgson for the entertainment. 

Road 2 Recovery

Former soldier David Gillies has started his journey on “The Road 2 Recovery“ with Who Dares Cares.

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Motorcycles have proven to be a form of therapy for many, and as bikers we all know very well that even a short blast on two wheels has a way of clearing the mind.

Who Dares Cares, the charity working with PTSD sufferers are taking that one step further offering the ‘Road 2 Recovery.’

David served with 2 Scots Whilst on tour in Afghanistan David was Vehicle Commander when his vehicle hit an IED, an attack in which he sustained multiple injuries. Three of his comrades were killed and three others were injured.

David was discharged from the Army in May 2015 with PTSD . He has struggled since coming out and although he managed to find employment he is currently off work due to the PTSD.

On hearing of the Who Dares Cares programme ‘Road 2 Recovery’ David applied and this week has successfully fimnished his first step on the programme completing his CBT.

It was great to see David smile and feel he achieved something for himself None of this would be possible without the team at Who Dares Cares, all the fundraisers and sponsors including Alba Motorcycle Training Glasgow, Honda Victor Devine Motorcycles Glasgow, and Ride Scotland.

Watch this space and read not only David’s journey but that of others joining the programme in the future.