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I just finished level 1 and 2 at Barber and I couldn't be more pleased. The other schools I have attended (Big Name / Big Money) just don't come close to the level of coaching Keith's staff provides. This year is my fourth year of doing track days and I have worked hard to get bumped up to the Advanced group with NESBA (something I am very proud of). But just a little time (9 months) away from the track set me back to a point where I just fought the bike in every turn. Pure frustration was the only thing I took away from my last couple of track weekends. A good friend (thanks Robert) told me about CSS and how much he learned, but I was hesitant to go to a school that made me start at level 1 and beside I had already been to several schools. I am so glad that I got over my high opinion of my riding and signed up for the level 1 and level 2 class. Honestly I didn't know what to expect so I just showed up with an open mind and armed with the material covered in Twist of the Wrist I and II.

 

Tropical storm Fay (the storm that just wouldn't die or go away) decided to pay a visit to the western side of Florida and send rain all the way up to Barber Motorsports Park and alleviate the area of its current drought status. Wow just in time to ruin the one thing I have been looking forward to for months. Nothing like getting to the track and seeing nothing but clouds, gray skies, and rain. Yeah this was the worst weekend of my life and the weather forecast was pretty much abysmal . I couldn't have been further away from the reality that was about to set in.

 

I am not going to go on and on about all of the things that I learned and each drill the coaches put us through on and off of the track because it would take a whole book, well actually 2 books and Keith has already taken care of that huge task. But I will say that the step by step instruction broken down in each classroom session was tightly coupled to every session on the track. Every riding coach, track marshal, corner worker, and student knew the drill and format for every track session. CSS is a well ran machine designed to produce better riders. The school is a true example of professionalism.

 

Now what about all of the rain which I was so sure would ruin my weekend. Well it was by far the best scenario to improve my riding. I even told Keith he should use sprinklers to wet the track at all of his schools. The slippery conditions forced me to slow down and allowed me to spend more attention on each and every drill and technique. If it was a dry track I am pretty sure I would have twisted the throttle to the point where my attention would have been split between the drills and my speed. By the end of the first day, I had a very strong understanding of what Keith and Dylan covered in the classroom sessions and was able to see exactly why my last few track days were so aggravating.

 

Day 2 was more of the same, rain, rain, and more rain. Even though the first day worked out perfectly and I couldn't have been happier with the results, I was hoping for a dry track. I dug deep and brought out the positive attitude and set forth to get the most out of level 2 in the rain. The first three session went great and I focused fully on the drills and learned more and more with each and every lap. But something very strange appeared in the sky, it was big, bright, and projected heat towards the track. The sun was peeking through the clouds and I could see beautiful blue skies. The track dried quickly and we got 3 great sessions on a dry track. Honestly it couldn't have happened at a better time in order to match up with the level 2 curriculum. My weekend was perfect.

 

Now what exactly did Keith, Dylan, Paul, Hieu, and Josh do to make me a better rider? I learned what it takes to keep a bike stable and happy, how to relax and not fight the bike, when, where and how to use the throttle, the best way to quickly get a bike to turn and not continue to provide input into the bars after the initial turn, how to properly lean off the bike and have complete control (I have been doing this the wrong way for so long, big thanks to Josh for something so simple, but it really improved my riding and ability to ride longer and relax the entire time), how to see the track the right way, and so much more.

 

Paul was my riding coach for both level 1 and 2. He knew what I was doing every moment on the track and knew exactly what question to ask so that I would think about my riding and match up the drills and techniques with situations on the track. Paul is an excellent coach and I am looking forward to working with him again when I do level 3 and 4. Hieu was my off-track coach for level 1 and showed me how a clutchless downshift works and how it could smooth out my riding. I was pretty impressed with the technique and will be adding it to my riding more often. Josh was my off-track coach for level 2 and showed me why the way I was used to hanging off the bike was all wrong and how when done the right way I could relax and no longer felt all the tension on my inside leg and knee. This information was worth the price of admission alone. Keith and Dylan were the classroom instructors for both days and both were able to provide information about how as humans we tend to do the wrong things instinctively that make us bad riders. It was uncanny how both could break down something that seemed so complex to something that know seems obvious and simple.

 

Thank you to everyone at CSS. I can't wait to see all of you again next year.

 

Shane Tow

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  • 2 weeks later...

SHANE! I'm really glad to hear you had a good experience with us despite the rain. Although I was off-track the whole day I'm sure that the things we covered worked well for you. Hope we see you again soon...on a dry track! =D

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Stow,

I remember your post before the school and relayed what I thought were my mistakes as I took level I and II. I am very glad to see that you came away with a great experience. I just got back a couple of weeks ago from doing two level IV's at VIR. It just gets better! I worked on some technics to help with the quick turn but felt I was going to wide out of the turns. James and Pete were my coaches and pointed out that I was working so hard on the turn in and body position that I was not doing the three step. Wow! Tie them all together and there it is! I also have to thank input from Will. He helped me with my suspension set up. Thanks Will. All in all a great weekend.

I will be at Barber on Saturday 9/27. Any chance you will be around?

Darryl

A 55

NESBA

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hey Stow,

I remember your post before the school and relayed what I thought were my mistakes as I took level I and II. I am very glad to see that you came away with a great experience. I just got back a couple of weeks ago from doing two level IV's at VIR. It just gets better! I worked on some technics to help with the quick turn but felt I was going to wide out of the turns. James and Pete were my coaches and pointed out that I was working so hard on the turn in and body position that I was not doing the three step. Wow! Tie them all together and there it is! I also have to thank input from Will. He helped me with my suspension set up. Thanks Will. All in all a great weekend.

I will be at Barber on Saturday 9/27. Any chance you will be around?

Darryl

A 55

NESBA

 

Hello Darryl,

 

Glad to hear that Level 3 and 4 worked well for you. I will definitely take them next year. Yeah it is amazing how some simple ideas make a huge difference. I won't be back on the track until October at Barber with NESBA. Good luck next weekend and hopefully we can hook up in October or November.

 

Shane

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