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Our Observers

Our Observers are all local people who are passionate about making our roads safer and driving more enjoyable by helping new Associates raise their driving ability to a level that meets IAM RoadSmart's Advanced Test standard.  All are volunteers who give up a few hours of their own time every month to coach and mentor Associates through practical driving or riding sessions on a mixed series of routes in and around Aberdeen.

Hands

Most of our team of Observers now have the Institute of Motor Industries (IMI) National Observer Qualification with others working towards that.  Thus all Aberdeen Associates can be sure that their allocated Observer will deliver a consistently high standard of training during the sessions, which are not only geared to the individual Associate's needs but hopefully are enjoyable and provide the inspiration for building confidence in their overall driving ability. 

If you would like to know what an Associate should expect from his / her Observer and what we expect from Associates when undertaking an advanced driving or riding course, please click this link:

Expectations 

Below, we'd like to present the Aberdeen team of Observers.

National Observers with Local Observer Assessor Qualification

AAM have 2 National Observers with Local Observer Assessor qualifications.

Neil Warden

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Neil Warden

Neil completed an advanced driving course in 1995 with Grampian Police and thereafter joined Aberdeen Advanced Motorists, passing the IAM test, and then getting involved as an Observer before joining the committee as Observer Trainer.

Neil is qualified as both a Local and National Observer as well as a Local Observer Assessor.  He has previously been Group Chairman, for 3 different terms and continues as a Committee Member of the Aberdeen Group taking the role of Vice Chair and Observer Liaison.

 

Gary Macalister

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Gary Macalister

Gary passed his Advanced test in 1987 and soon after started Observing. At that time, Observers were not so lucky as to have the standards clearly spelled out as in today's IAM Observers Handbook. Nevertheless, Gary has successfully found the right skills to coach Associates to meet the requirements and successfully pass the IAM  Advanced test. Gary gained his National Observer qualification in 2017 and was appointed as a Local Observer Assessor in November 2018.

Gary is also now serving his first term on the Committee even though he has been with the Group for a long time. 

 

National Observers

AAM have a further 9 National Observers.

Bob Smart

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Bob Smart

Bob passed his DVSA driving test more than 50 years ago and his Advanced Driving test in 2004.  He became a Local Observer shortly afterwards and at the end of 2017, passed his assessment as a National Observer.  Bob's Observing record is exemplary because he has never had any Associates fail their test.

 

Chris Noble

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Rockape

Chris, a veteran of the Royal Air Force regiment (Rockapes) and a driving instructor in the past, successfully took the IAM test in 2017 and went straight on to motorcyclist observing.  He gained the IMI National Observer qualification in September 2018.  Chris, not only gives his time to Associate motorcyclist observing but is also an active supporter of the Royal British Legion Riders branch, which takes him all over the UK on fundraising and commercial events.

Chris is also serving his first term on the Committee.


Jonathan 'Joff' Christie

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Joff

Joff gained his motorcycle driving license in 1989, and for a month or so, worked as a motorcycle courier between Southampton and the surrounding area, including London.  When Joff bought a powerful VFR800, he thought it wise to better his understanding of being able to ride safely and efficiently by signing up to the IAM. He has been an Observer since 2014 and would recommend other riders to do the same, helping other like minded motorcyclists become better and safer riders. 

Joff is presently Chairman of the Aberdeen Group also, having been an active member on the Committee since 2014 and previously held the post of Treasurer.

 

Karen Kirkwood

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Karen Kirkwood 

Karen has recently re-joined our car Observer team. She is based in Stonehaven which is convenient for our new Associates who come from the southern parts of Aberdeenshire.

 

Kenny Hair

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Kenny Hair

For many years, Kenny had trained, coached and assisted personnel while at work, so it seemed a natural progression to carry this through to motorcycling. Kenny is now a National Observer for the bike section and gains great satisfaction in passing on his years of riding experience, helping other bikers get more enjoyment out of their own rides as they increase their experiences, knowledge and competence. Kenny notes that it sometimes comes as quite a shock to many Associate riders that there is indeed a lot of fun to be had while learning and absorbing the IAM Advanced Rider course.

Kenny is always keen to speak to anybody about Advanced Rider (or Driver) training especially if you see him while he's "Oot an' Aboot" on his beautiful black BMW 1200GS.

 

Ken London

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Ken passed his DVSA driving test just after becoming 17 and had built up nearly 50 years of bad practice before seeing the light and becoming a much safer and more considerate driver by joining IAM. He passed his Advanced Driving test with a F1RST in January 2018 and aims to complete Local Observer and National Observer accreditation this autumn. Although relatively new to Observing, he has completed sets of Observed drives with two Associates, both of whom then successfully passed and is hoping the 2 new Associates allocated to him also gain success.

Ken is in his 1st year as an elected member of the Committee - Treasurer and also has responsibility for editing the Newsletters and administering the website.

  

Loren Kelly

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Loren Kelly

After successfully achieving the advanced grade (FiRST), Loren got involved as a trainee Observer and then took on the role of Group Secretary in December 2016.   Loren successfully passed the National Observer assessment in October 2018.

Loren is in her 3rd year as an elected officer on the Committee - Group Secretary.

 

Nick Readman

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Nick Readman 

Nick has been riding bikes off-road since the age of 6 and passed his bike license in 1991. When time permits, he still likes to compete in local trials and enduro events with the Bon Accord Motorcycle Club as well as trying his hand at the occasional track day. Nick has been an Advanced driver and rider for 19 years and an Observer since 2008.

He left the Group in 2017 to help establish the local Blood Biker group but as this is now successfully up and running, we are very happy to see that Nick has re-committed to motorcycle observing and has just passed his National Observer qualification.

Nick states that he is looking forward to making making learning fun for his allocated Associates.  

 

Tony Webb

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T Webb

Tony joined AAM in 2018, having moved to the area from West Sussex.  He has more than 50 years of driving bikes and cars under his belt and passed the original Institute of Advanced Motorists test in 1970.  Having retired from sports marketing, but still consulting to the World Air Sports Federation, he gained his IMI Local Observer qualification in 2017 before moving to Scotland.  Tony also follows the classic car movement, especially those from the earlier motoring days of 1960s and 1970s.

 

Trainee Observer

AAM currently have 3 further Trainee Observers, who have yet to complete their IMI National or Local assessments, in the biker Observer team. (Details for Phil Lamb and Ross Bradbury have yet to be published)

Wayne Clarke

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 Wayne Clark

Wayne started driving 1985 when he was with the Royal Air Force and 10 years later, obtained his motorcycle license when serving in Anglesey.  He has ridden a bike all over UK from Land’s End to Shetland and really enjoys the rural roads in Aberdeenshire. Some of his rides have been associated with charity events and is also a current participating member of the local NERVS Blood Bikes charity. In fact, it was through Blood Bikes that Wayne committed to an IAM Course for Advanced Riding and came into contact with other AAM bikers. He found that riding with AAM was most enjoyable and was more than happy when asked to join our team as an Observer. Wayne is currently under training for becoming a Local Observer.

Details last updated in October 2019