A BIKER has become the first to cross the finishing line as he graduates from a club’s courses.
Sunderland University IT student Dale Clement was one of the original members of the Mini Bike Club, launched in 2007 by Durham Constabulary’s motorcycle section.
With the backing of other organisations, including Durham County Council and the Durham Agency Against Crime, the club has taught hundreds of young riders the basics of motorcycling techniques and safety, and provided a safe and secure way of pursuing their interest in mini-moto’s.
At the end of October Dale, of Sherburn village, passed his Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) motorcycle test – the highest standard a civilian motorcyclist can attain.
Last week he went to police headquarters in Durham to be presented formally with his award.
The 18-year-old joined the club when he was just 12 and took to the roads with his first bike, a moped, in June 2010.
He used the bike to travel to and from college for a year before progressing to his current Honda CBR 400, on which he passed his motorcycle test earlier this year.
He now regularly uses his Honda bike to travel to and from his lectures.
Dale undertook a day’s BikeWise training before joining the Durham Advanced Motorcyclists group, and completed his training with a test conducted by retired motorcycle sergeant and IAM examiner, Bob Brown.
His achievement with the IAM follows an honour in May this year, when Dale was asked to accept the council’s Chairman’s Medal on behalf of the club.
The chairman’s medal is the council’s highest honour and is presented to individuals, groups and organisations throughout the county to recognise significant achievement and outstanding effort in all walks of life.
Bob said: “I am really proud of what Dale has achieved in such a short time. “When we first started the Mini Bike Club in 2007, he was just a young boy who came along to our first meeting with his grandparents.
“Dale and his grandad, Dave have attended virtually every meeting of the club to date, and it has been a pleasure to watch him grow into a fine motorcyclist.
“The dream when we started the club was to give young local riders the opportunity to ride bikes lawfully and watch them progress on to the roads of County Durham.
“Dale has now attained the highest standards a civilian motorcyclist can achieve and he is only 18.
“Hopefully he will be the first of many from the club to progress to this level.”