Tony Rutherford

I’ve been riding motorbikes from the tender teenage annoying age of 15. It all started in the grounds of the old Souter Point lighthouse just down from South Shields on my fiends BSA bantam 175cc which he was given by a retiring lighthouse keeper. From the moment I started riding this bike…. I was addicted.

From there I progressed to buying an aging Tiger Cub 200cc, passed my test at 17 and graduated to a Triumph T100 650cc……what awesome power & acceleration that bike had compared to the Tiger Cub. A few years later I sold the T100 (which I regret to this day as it was classic, built in 1955 plus it was older than me!) and purchased a friends Bonneville T120V. By this time, I had already embarked on a career in the Merchant Navy; served a 4-year cadetship before commencing on a 38-year career sea on many varied types of ships and yes, I did see the world. What a cracking career I had, and I would recommend it to any teenager. Anyway, I served the last 20 years as Chief Engineer onboard Diving Support Vessels and Deep Water Pipelay ships but decided to take early retirement at 55.

In 2004 I decided my riding skills needed revitalising, so I contacted the IAM who put me in touch with George Cairns at CWCAM. He was my Observer throughout my training and with his guidance & coaching I passed my Advanced Riders test that same year.
Earlier this year I felt I needed to rejuvenate my riding skills and therefore applied to take the IAM RoadSmart Fellow’s riding test; George kindly mentored me on a refresher ride and this was followed a week later by the test; again, I passed.
I also decided to compliment my riding; I applied for and subsequently passed the IAM advanced driving test.

Mid-summer I made a positive decision to pass on my riding knowledge and skills to other motorcycle riders. So, I again contacted George and asked about becoming an Observer with IAM RoadSmart; he said he’d recently commenced ‘fast track’ Observer courses and I could attend when there was a vacancy on the next course. So, in early October this year I attended the fast track course and passed (thanks to the one to one coaching by George Cairns & Andy Houghton).