British Army drives on with quad bike training

The Defence School of Transport (DST) in Leconfield, East Yorkshire, continues to train quad bike operators and instructors, with special measures used to minimise the impact of Covid-19.

The DST is responsible for training soldiers to drive a wide array of platforms, from cars to heavy goods vehicles.

Arguably most fun of all though is the quad bike, officially known as the All Terrain Vehicle (ATV), which is designed to deliver vital combat supplies to troops and rapidly evacuate casualties.

Stephen Coales, a civilian ATV instructor at the DST, said: “Cross-country, the capabilities are brilliant. When you’re riding, it feels quite comfortable. They are easy to handle, but dangerous as well if people aren’t trained properly.”

The ATV can reach speeds of up to 75kmph, but this is reduced to a recommended maximum of 50kmph when operating with a trailer attached.

They are easy to handle, but dangerous as well if people aren’t trained Stephen Coales

The platform is capable of both two and four-wheel drive, with a differential lock also a welcome addition for rough terrain.

Mr Coles said: “They were used in Iraq and Afghanistan, and were really versatile out there. You do get the odd one that gets stuck, but there’s quite a lot of techniques you can use to get it unstuck and we’ve got the winch on the front.”

The DST trains approximately 200 service personnel a year on a total of 25 ATV courses, with measures taken to reduce the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As examples, larger classrooms are used for theory lessons to maintain social distancing, each student is allocated their own ATV and this will not be shared, and all vehicles go through a stringent decontamination process at the end of each course.

Mr Coles said: “The students want to learn from you. They love the course, they really do. Most people say, in their words, it is the best course they have ever done.”