Off-road motorcycle training with Chris Birch

The KTM/Red Bull-sponsored athlete from New Zealand visits B.C. for a series of riding clinics

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Chris Birch clears a log on his bike.

The Chris Birch Riders Clinics took place September 18 and 19, 2015, in Squamish, B.C., and September 20 and 21 in Victoria, B.C. — Kitt Stringer photo

The West Coast of B.C. has been playing host to some of the world’s top off-road motorcycle riders. First, it was Graham Jarvis, and now it’s Chris Birch.

The eight-time enduro champion of New Zealand was in Squamish and Victoria last month to host a series of Level 1 enduro clinics. As a professional off-road motorcycle coach since 2007, Birch has travelled the globe, but this was his first time riding and teaching in B.C.

According to Kitt Stringer, a local Island rider who organized the event, Birch was impressed with the terrain.

“I took Chris out for a ride, which he said was the most fun he has had on his bike in a year,” said Stringer. “He really likes our Island trails, and commented on his Facebook page, ‘Best place for an enduro school ever.’ ”

The clinics were sponsored by Action Motorcycles in Victoria and a total of 50 riders got to benefit from Birch’s many years of racing the international extreme enduro circuit.

“Chris was a very good coach,” said Stringer. “His clinics all started with proper bike setup, positioning, suspension setup and riding posture. Then he taught various turning and balance skills, clutch control, race line selection, high-speed cornering and obstacle clearance. As a more experienced rider myself, I was amazed at how much Chris’s clinics taught me, particularly on the racing side of things.”

Chris Birch squats to demonstrate proper riding posture.

Chris Birch started the clinics by talking about proper riding posture. — Kitt Stringer photo

Stringer first met Birch when they were both racing the 2013 Red Bull Romaniacs in Sibiu, Romania. Prior to the B.C. clinics, Birch was in Ontario for three weeks, conducting a series of riding clinics in partnership with the Tyrone, Ontario-based Rally Connex Adventure Tours.

“For Chris, it was a bit of a gamble on the unknown as we had only met once in 2013 during Romaniacs,” said Stringer. “So when I asked him (about coming to B.C.), we did a few Skype chats and he decided to risk and come here. He will definitely be back.”

A group of dirt bike riders listening to Chris Birch.

Here, Birch is talking about line selection. — Kitt Stringer photo

After the success of the Chris Birch Riders Clinics and the Graham Jarvis Riders Clinic that was held in August, Stringer is planning to invite both professionals back next year and take the clinics elsewhere.

“Both Graham Jarvis and Chris Birch loved the riding here in the West so much that they will both be back for sure next year,” said Stringer. “We hope to do clinics on the Island and in Squamish, Kamloops and Kelowna, as well as Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta.” 

Stringer would also like to thank everyone else who was involved in making these clinics happen: Action Motorcycles, the Squamish Dirt Bike Association, Mile Zero Motorsports and Husqvarna Motorcycles Canada

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