Charley Boorman book extract- Extreme Frontiers: Racing Across Canada from Newfoundland to the Rockies

Charley Boorman


This time it’s the wilds of Canada getting the Boorman treatment. In an exclusive extract from his new book, Extreme Frontiers: Racing Across Canada from Newfoundland to the Rockies, we join Charley as he hits some Canadian dirt…

By the time we hit New Brunswick, I was full of it. I had four hours’ off-road biking to look forward to and I could not wait. So far we’d only been on tarmac, but I grew up riding off road in the woods and hills around my father’s place at Annamoe. God, those were the days: carefree, fun-filled; if I wasn’t blatting through the green lanes I was floating down the Avonmore on an inner tube. Life goes by so fast. Now I have teenage children of my own, but it seems only yesterday that I was just a teenager myself. I know what you’re thinking: you still are, Charley, you still are. And it’s true in a way, I suppose. My dad’s always telling me that he’s spent his life swimming against the current, while I’ve spent mine bobbing downstream.

We hooked up with a few of the English-speakers, a bunch of guys who run the New Brunswick Dual Sport Club. The guide was a heavy-set guy called Mike, with cropped hair and a wide smile. He mentioned that my 250cc dirt bike was brand new and that I had to break it in for him Charley Boorman style. I hadn’t been on a dirt bike in a while, though, so I thought I ought to get my excuses in early… you know, the dodgy knee and dodgy arm, the dodgy head, that kind of thing. Mike led the way deep into the woodland to a bespoke but very narrow enduro trail. The truth is, I felt a tad rusty, but you don’t really ever lose it, and once the adrenalin started to fully kick in, I was back in the groove. There was this one corner, mind you, that caught me out every time – a sharp left-hander where the trail fell away, the front wheel dug in and I was over the handlebars with memories of my crash at the Dakar Rally in 2006 flying through my head. Every time I took that bend it was the same, and after a while it really began to piss me off. What should have been a fun morning was rapidly becoming a pain in the arse.

We were riding on land belonging to the family of one of the guys in the group, Denis Landry: the woods were his, the accursed enduro course was his and the wild blueberry fields surrounding the woods belonged to him as well. The going was easier once we left the enduro course. This was a good dirt road, leading down to another steep section of woodland bisected by a river that a hundred years earlier had been used by the logging companies to float timber down to the sawmills. Men with poles would walk the logs as they made their journey down the river, shifting from one to another, fixing jams and making sure the timber ran freely. I imagined peeling off a rolling log and falling into the water with the weight of all that wood on top of you. With nobody to help you and a swift current like that, you’d be drowned in a heartbeat…

Photo: Charley Boorman


To celebrate publication of Charley Boorman’s latest adventure, we’re offering five lucky readers the chance to get their hands on a copy of Extreme Frontiers. The book and DVD explore the undiscovered elements of one of the most beautiful countries in the world and are packed with action, excitement, and, of course, Charley’s trademark beloved bikes.

To be in with a chance of winning a copy, simply answer the following question: In his last book, Right to the Edge, what route did Charley travel?

A) Sydney to Tokyo 

B) Scotland to South Africa 

C) London to Glasgow

Email your answer to [email protected] making ABR Charley Comp the subject line. Closing date is 31 January 2012. Winners will be notified by email

Extreme Frontiers: Racing Across Canada

Canada from Newfoundland to the Rockies is published in Sphere HB and available to pre-order now at, priced £20. Extreme Frontiers: Racing Across Canada from Newfoundland to the Rockies is released by EMI and available to pre-order now at, priced £10.49.