DART: Advanced Adventure Rider Training

Dec 31, 2019 View Comments by

Advanced motorcycle rider training

The mission: “To provide quality off-road training at a fair price for all who wish to learn.” Dragoo Adventure Rider Training has been committed to that mission for the past six years. Founder and RoadRUNNER contributor Bill Dragoo credits the organization’s success to his team’s humility and passion for helping others learn. “Everyone checks their egos at the door,” Dragoo says, “especially the instructors.” Many of DART’s instructors are also certified MSF RiderCoaches. With custom one-day sessions beginning at $295 and a full two-day course in Oklahoma for $395, DART brings training within the reach of anyone willing to invest their time to improve their skills.

Like many training school founders, Dragoo was simply successful at some level in a sport he enjoyed. Numerous podium finishes at motocross and trials in the early years and then his win at the Rawhyde Adventure Rider Challenge in 2008 set him on a course he had not expected. BMW Motorrad invited him to compete for the then-new International GS Trophy competition in North Africa. A second attempt in 2010 won him a place on the U.S. team. In 2017 Dragoo added to his credentials by traveling to Germany and becoming an internationally certified BMW Motorrad off-road instructor. Despite the BMW origins, DART welcomes all brands to the training.

Advanced Motorcycle rider Training: DartAlso an adventure journalist, following an assignment in Bolivia Dragoo was asked to return and help riders learn to manage their heavy machines off pavement. Multiple trips to South America spurred friends back home to ask when he was going to hold training in the U.S. He eventually held a class, and the rest is history. “We create successes,” says Dragoo about his program, which is based in Oklahoma but has become popular throughout the country. The organization has held classes in Arizona, Iowa, Ohio, Colorado, Texas, Utah, Missouri, Washington, New York, Vermont, South Dakota, and North Carolina. In addition to their standard two-day programs, the DART team has provided large-scale short courses at Overland Expo East and West, the BMW MOA International Rally, DirtDaze, and Wailin Wayne Weekend.

Using what Dragoo calls the Four Cornerstones of Adventure Riding—balance, control, judgment, and attitude—the DART team builds a broad foundation for riders to grow their skills regardless of their background.
Initial training begins with “flat work,” progressive exercises on even terrain that help riders enhance their ability to maneuver with confidence and without dragging their feet. Level 2 moves to variable terrain, adding the vertical dimension and rougher surfaces to the mix. All exercises emphasize balance and control over muscle, making this course popular among all who ride larger adventure-class machines in the rough. Advanced classes focus on rocks, deep sand, and competition-level skills for adventure riders.

Immersion tours, where training precedes an off-road excursion, have become an outreach of sorts for the DART team. Dragoo or his instructors are frequently invited to partner with tour companies offering training before and during an off-pavement ride of several days. Guests of these tours are provided the chance to practice their new skills under supervision in the real world of adventure travel.

What’s next for DART? “We follow the winds,” Dragoo says. “Like any good adventure rider, we prepare for what may come and just enjoy where the ride takes us.” See more at www.billdragoo.com.




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