MotoGymKhana debuts in Canada

On July 15, 2012 Honda Canada kicked off an exciting new motorcycle venue jumping on board what the Europeans and Japanese have already figured out – that MotoGymKhana is both a fun and competitive skill based event. Welcome MGK to Canada.

For the uninitiated MGK is described by Wikipedia as an event consisting of speed pattern racing where the rider follows a new course ‘layout’, reacting by driving the bike into turns, braking, and accelerating in a closed loop. The goal is simply to complete the course in the fastest time with the fewest errors.

Driving the bike hard into the next turn and looking well ahead to the next pylon.

Honda Canada recognised the skill needed to pilot a motorcycle through an MGK layout. Together with Honda’s spiffy new CBR 250R’s and 125R’s, head Instructor Yoshi Nakatani and partner Vicki Gray began teaching eager students how to successfully compete in today’s event by giving them the necessary skills and practice time before the competition.

Our instructors are passionate about motorcycling and between them have quite an impressive CV. Yoshi is recognised by JAGE (Japan Moto-Gymkhana Association) and has the distinct honour to introduce this sport to Canada and the USA while Vicki has ripped it up on the road racing scene having competed at the World Cup level. She is also the person behind one of the most complete international motorycle online magazines for the ladies ‘Motoress‘. Pretty cool, huh?

Keep your ears and eyes open as MGK is just debuting and I am certain more training and competitive events will follow. For more information regarding MGK please visit my previous blog titled MGK on a CBF1000:

Learning to manoeuver the bike using short radius turns at slow speeds. Balance, skill and a good dose of confidence is key in staying upright – all made easy through the expert advice of former World Cup road racer Vicki Gray.
Head instructor Yoshi Nakatani following a student rider while working on short bursts of speed followed by tight turns.
Spills happen occasionally but at least they’re at slow speeds.
Waiting for Godot and taking a break from the weekends relentless 30C heat and humid weather.
Yoshi…hamming it up with the Honda Ladies.
After 3 weeks without rain Mother Nature decided it was time to let loose. The trainees walk the course with Yoshi and Vicki. Riders only get to see the layout once before the competition begins. The hard part is not the bike but remembering where to go.
Hard rain couldn’t keep spectators and competitors away from the main event.
The start gate. The electronic time keeping system had to be shut down due to thunder and lightening. No worries though as umbrella girls became flag droppers and Honda personel became timekeepers with their BlackBerry’s. Let the games begin.
Matt McBride entertaining the crowds and showing them how it’s done.


Allison Grummet showing the guys throwing down the hammer (on wet roads none the less) and ripping up the track!
This photo was taken from Honda Canada’s associate event in May. I like the colours and the strong leading lines in the picture. The flag is raised because the rider is receiving a time penalty for dabbing his foot while negiotiating ‘The Keyhole’ section of the course.





Moto Gymkhana on a Honda CBF1000

This past weekend I had the opportunity to see and understand what Moto Gymkhana is all about. I had been viewing YouTube videos of competitions and reading up on this exciting and skill based sport that’s huge in Japan and gaining popularity in North America.

Gymkhana is not about speed. In fact, most competitors rarely leave second gear. It’s all about technique and maneuvering your motorcycle through and around pylons. Think riding in a crowded city and having to dodge cars, pedestrians, dogs – quick, tight turns and the ultimate control is needed to not drop your bike or hit someone. Gymkhana is described by Wikipedia as an event consisting of speed pattern racing and timed games for riders on horses. In this case…motorcycles.

In a competition, this is done in a closed circuit. The object is to complete the loop in the shortest time without touching cones and dabbing of the feet (unless specified). Very similiar to that of a motorcycle trials competition except that the event is usually held on pavement, with a road bike, and on flat land. In essence it is a ‘Time Trial’ event.

Usually a course will consist of tight turns and a few straight-aways thus making the proper choice of bike necessary. A smaller, light weight bike will have the advantage over a bigger, and heavier one especially if there are many tight turns. When you think of the weight of a road motorycle (minimum 400+ lbs) making tight turns is no easy feat. Speeds can reach up to 80kph. The most difficult part of a competition is when you have to give full throttle on first (or second) gear immediately followed by full braking to make either a 360 or 180 degree turn. Finally, what may look like a maze of cones you must remember the route and follow it accordingly.

Thanks to ‘Master Yoshi’ for showing his skill on the CBF. Which by the way is a killer looking bike. I love the pearl white paint job. That and his black and white outfit made for some really snazzy pictures. Master Yoshi made Gymkhana look super simple, easily turning his CBF1000 and flicking it from side to side. And you know if something looks easy than it’s because the person is smooth and skilled.

The photo shoot with Yoshi was a great opportunity. I am certain we will be seeing more of Moto Gymkhana. Yoshi is recognised by JAGE (Japan Moto-Gymkhana Association) and has the distinct honour to introduce this sport to Canada and the USA. I am certain Moto Gymkhana will gain momentum throughout North America.

As for me, I must admit…I am intrigued and would love to try this but would prefer borrowing a bike as I would really not prefer dropping my Suzuki GS500. So all my friends with road bikes any takers? If not I can always take my husbands Berg – it won’t mind being dropped on pavement 🙂