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Barber Motorsports Park May 2020


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Yes, SO looking forward to not riding a desk for a while :).

 

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Extended forecast appears to suck, rain. I hear it all the time, that is the best time to learn, but no thanks for me. I don't need to add another SR to the first time on the track with a bike. Add to that, being on a rented bike that I don't know, and if you go down is going to be expensive. 

I've been on a wet track many times before, but on my track car. Driving on a wet track is still pretty scary on 4 wheels, can't imagine on 2. Reasons I avoid riding in the rain.

Crossing fingers for a better forecast and a safe event for all.

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It is very typical at Barber to have the forecast look terrible but actually not have it rain for long at all. It's typical in the area for an afternoon shower come through, in the summer. Trevor watches the radar carefully and manages the time to get as much dry track time as possible (if rain is expected in late afternoon he will run shorter breaks between rides, etc. to get as much dry riding time as possible in case the rain arrives before 5pm). Often at Barber we can complete our whole day before the late afternoon rain arrives. I go to Barber every year, and every year I think the forecast looks terrible but then most days we either don't get rain until the very end of the day (often after we are done riding) or it rains just for one session and stops.

It IS true that riding in the rain can be a fantastic learning experience! Imagine what a win it is to turn it from a scary sounding experience into real competence  - and confidence -riding in rain! It sounds like you have not ridden with us before, please know what we will NOT push you to ride above your comfort level, and your coach will help you understand what is a reasonable pace in the rain - which really does involve slowing down a whole lot, especially at first. The real key is to not put pressure on YOURSELF to think you have to go fast (raining or not!), we are a school and we want you to start at your comfort level and build up from there. It's almost certain you won't be the only person there on a track for the first time, or on a sportbike for the first time, or - if it is raining - riding in the rain for the first time.

Which days are you signed up for?

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I am signed for the 2 day course and yes, first time ever on the track on a bike. I do understand the pressure some people put on themselves, but believe me, I have no ego to bruise. If I am not feeling right riding in the rain, I'll sit out the session. No biggie.  

I want to make it intact for my 60 B'day a few days after.  😉

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Red Baron - this is my first time with CSS, as well on a "super" bike, as well as on a track. 

Been watching the forecast too.  The little pop-ups that Hotfoot describes are so anti-climactic to what I remember from Texas.  With these Southeastern storms, you literally wait 10 minutes and the sky is clear again.   I think actually having the the partial cloud cover is going to keep us from 'cooking' on the asphalt.   

When I coach the MSF curricula, I often find myself saying "If it ain't raining, we ain't training."

That being said, you will NOT see me challenging the conditions.  I made it to 57, and I am going to behave - at least well enough - to make it 75.  Let's enjoy this together!

Cheers,
Steve

 

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On 5/12/2020 at 7:07 AM, yakaru said:

Ugh, I'm so sad I'm missing this but budget is taken up among other things this year :(

Yakaru - I'm sorry as well.  I was looking forward to meeting you, but yes, budgets do dictate operations.

Maybe I'll get the budget next year to head out to Cali.   Cheers!

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Well, I made it!

Made some "new best friends" in the paddock area.

Met Coach Johnny Haynes.

Met Keith Code.

Let the fun begin!

Cheers,

Steve

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Great you made it safe.

I will be there Tuesday afternoon around 6pm at The Hampton's hotel across the track.

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Just heard from the crew, another excellent day at Barber.  I think we ended up with 4 of the 6 days dry, very few issues, and folks glad to be out and on a racetrack!

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I have no words to describe my experience and how much fun it was this past week, at the Barber Motorsport track.

The weather cooperated, the coaching was amazing, class teaching clear and easy to follow, great organization staff, great crowd of students, everyone improved their riding skills/ability and all under a safe and none threatening environment. Listening from Hot Foot the story on how she came up with her screen name was incredible and crazy.  

Meeting and talking to Keith Code.... Priceless!!!

Kudos to everyone at CSS and the maintenance staff at Barber.

See you all again first weekend of October in Vegas. I wanted to be the Halloween weekend, but couldn't coordinate it with other business.  

 

 

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I'm with Red_Baron on this one...I haven't been able to peel the smile off my face long enough to give any sort of accurate debrief. 

I parked my RV in the Paddock area on Saturday afternoon and was immediately invited to relocate it in a tighter spot, but among veterans of CSS.  Thanks to Rhino & Elizabeth, Sam, and Merlin (El Colibri) for making me feel welcome.  We had a really cool little community thing going on there.  

I awoke Sunday early, poured some coffee, and began to watch the CSS operations.  I had never been to a track before, never seen CSS work before.  I wanted to get an idea for what I would be doing come Monday morning.  I saw "Registration", "Leather issue", "The Morning Introductions" and what amused me most was Keith Code walking around & talking to people.  As a retired Marine pilot, and a LEAN 6 Sigma Black Belt, watching how units deploy and operate always has its comedic moments.  Not CSS.  Their work employment model of who does what role, when and why, immediately surfaced as professional & efficient.  When units take their show on the road, efficiency of manpower is key: people are expensive, good people even more so.  CSS proved they got this.

After watching the riders zorch around the track for awhile (lots of Level 4s!) I admit I got a little apprehensive.  This is the major league.  
Back at the paddock that night, I listened to the guys talk about how great the track is, with its fresh pavement and just a few races to get a nice surface.  They told me that since this is my first experience, I was about to be spoiled rotten!  I went to bed a little nervous.  Four consecutive days of this? (a "One day", a "Half-Camp", then a "Two Day Camp")
I'm 57 years young! What the hell was I thinking?  Lol....

Monday morning arrived and I was awake several minutes before my alarm was to sound off.  Had a cup of coffee and some oatmeal.  I was ready...lol
Registered, met Trevor (I don't know his salary, but I believe is underpaid for all the logistical train tracks he manages in his wheelhouse), and then spoke to Coach Johnny, and then Coach Laura, and then Coach Keith.  All made me feel welcome. (Never got the Hotfoot story...hmmm) Got into the Green Group and was sent to the Classroom are where Dylan Code was setup.  Got the track brief from Trevor then Dylan told us all about how the day would go. 5 Classroom Sessions, 5 riding sessions where we would attempt the instructed technique, while not forgetting previous lessons.

After the first Lesson with Dylan, I got suited up and went out an introduced myself to my 'dance partner' for the day, #24.  She looked nice enough, but I knew she could be hell on wheels if mistreated.  As I mounted her, I was praying the astronaut Alan Shepard prayer "Dear God, please don't let me f**k this up."

As it turns out, I was able to hold my own fairly well at 65-75% effort while navigating the course in 3d & 4th with No Brakes - as per the Lesson Plan.  The bike was in Rain Mode - which kept us both calmer - and I progressed through all five of the lessons uneventfully.  Coaches Rick & Johnny were very insightful and I got a lot of great tips.  After leather turn-in, I made my way back to the paddock area and the grin on my face could be seen a mile away.

Tuesday's "Half camp" brought rain all day, but #19s electronics were nothing short of witchcraft.  Same battle concept, same execution, same ontrack coaches, but at a slightly more cautious pace.  The "Half-Camp" has 5 lessons, but seven riding sessions.   The last two plans are what you and your ontrack coach decide upon.  

Wednesday the skies cleared and the "2 Day Camp" began.  (OBTW: the morning breakfasts are better at the "camps...")  I got a new ontrack coach, Mark, and I told him that I wanted hear it all and he readily obliged.  I got another 'dance partner', #22.  5 more lessons, 7 more rides.  I was getting more & more comfortable at faster speeds, although I didn't know what those speeds were as the "mph's" were taped over on the dash board...Dylan continued to provide more insight into the mechanics & theory of riding while Coach Mark made sure I was 'getting it' while ontrack.

Day 4, Level 4.  Different format.  Keith Code briefed all the new Level 4 riders on what this personalized training would entail.  He has 199 different exercises for Level 4 riders, all custom tailored to fit/unscrew whatever the rider, the ontrack coach, and the Level 4 advisor think needs polish.  After riding the wet track, Coach Mark and I chatted about 'headwork & judgement' and I went to see my Level 4 Advisor - Keith Code.  This was amazing.  Keith Code himself was going to be advising me on my riding for the entire day!  As I progressed through the day, we found a few things that needed some tidying up and there's a lot more out there that I know I haven't uncovered - yet.  I was especially happy when Coach Rick saw one of my later runs that day, and came up to tell me how much I had improved in Turn 5 from Mon/Tues.

I finished Level 4 completely fatigued and very happy with the progress I had made.  It was really enjoyable to be a student again.  
I took the RV to Cheaha State Park - about 90 minutes from the track - and just chilled for couple days, built a fire and reflected on my notes and what I had learned.

I learned two main things:
1.  I am not interested in actual racing or 'reducing my lap times' although it IS REALLY FUN to go fast.  I went to CSS to become a better cornering rider.  Hence, I don't think I'll ever qualify to be a CSS Coach. They are literally the best of the best and I'll never have the racing experience required to do that job well.
2.  I really enjoyed learning again.  Too often, as an MSF Rider Coach, I am in a coaching role, regardless of where & whom I ride with.  It was SO GREAT to put that hat away and just be out there learning.       

Thanks to the CSS staff, Student Control - Laura & Cammie, Race Control - Trevor, the coaches - Rick, Johnny, Mark, Laura, Dylan & Keith, and the Code Family for making this experience possible.  I think an annual pilgrimage to a "Two Day Camp" will be in the budget forecasting for the next several years....
Cheers,
Steve

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On 5/24/2020 at 8:18 PM, Lenbo said:

Hey 53driver got a couple riders from Crestview  here doing  the one day class on Monday . 

I'm sorry I missed this post!  I hope y'all had a blast!

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Trevor really is the best of the best. I've actually said MANY times CSS should offer a "track control" school for orgs to learn from them how to manage a closed course. Glad you had a great time,  @53Driver hope you'll be out again next year? :)

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15 minutes ago, yakaru said:

Trevor really is the best of the best. I've actually said MANY times CSS should offer a "track control" school for orgs to learn from them how to manage a closed course. Glad you had a great time,  @53Driver hope you'll be out again next year? :)

I just watched all the train tracks he was juggling at any given time.  Hell of a logistician's mind in him.

I'm planning a budget to come out west next year.  2 Day Camp.  In the mean time, I'll work on what I learned and then be ready for more Level IV training.
Hopefully get to meet you then.

Cheers,
Steve

  

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1 hour ago, 53Driver said:

I just watched all the train tracks he was juggling at any given time.  Hell of a logistician's mind in him.

I'm planning a budget to come out west next year.  2 Day Camp.  In the mean time, I'll work on what I learned and then be ready for more Level IV training.
Hopefully get to meet you then.

Cheers,
Steve

  

If you're heading out west here's my track comments:

The Ridge: one of my favorites -- both fast and technical, which is a fascinating mix of skill needs. Big straights and semi straights along with a variety of corner types and elevation changes (including the turn 13-16 "Ridge Complex" super corkscrew)

Streets @ Willow: suuuuuuuuuuuuper technical and short. You'll get lots of laps in and learn skills, but it is in rough shape pavement wise and you won't really get to 'wring out' a superbike much. CSS's "home" track.

Laguna: Fun and historic, the corkscrew is neat but I'll admit as someone who has done the Ridge complex for years before going to Laguna got used to it pretty fast

Thunderhill: Really interesting track -- one of the most challenging tracks to pass on, which made it an area I was able to work on my passing a lot.

Vegas: flat as a pancake but 'in town' so you don't have far to go like you usually do for a track. Very frequently offered on weekends making it a great 'get away' school.

If you want to try somewhere else out east VIR is the one I'd pick.

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53driver, it was great to meet you. I’m so glad to hear you had a great time and were able to enjoy being a student again.
 

4 days in a row - wow, way to go! I was beat after just 3.

Thanks so much for helping make our “camp” a great place. I hope to see you at another school again soon. 

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17 hours ago, yakaru said:

If you're heading out west here's my track comments:

The Ridge: one of my favorites -- both fast and technical, which is a fascinating mix of skill needs. Big straights and semi straights along with a variety of corner types and elevation changes (including the turn 13-16 "Ridge Complex" super corkscrew)

Streets @ Willow: suuuuuuuuuuuuper technical and short. You'll get lots of laps in and learn skills, but it is in rough shape pavement wise and you won't really get to 'wring out' a superbike much. CSS's "home" track.

Laguna: Fun and historic, the corkscrew is neat but I'll admit as someone who has done the Ridge complex for years before going to Laguna got used to it pretty fast

Thunderhill: Really interesting track -- one of the most challenging tracks to pass on, which made it an area I was able to work on my passing a lot.

Vegas: flat as a pancake but 'in town' so you don't have far to go like you usually do for a track. Very frequently offered on weekends making it a great 'get away' school.

If you want to try somewhere else out east VIR is the one I'd pick.

THANK YOU so much for that info!
I know that will shape my plans - but which direction, I just don't know yet.  My initial thought is that I'm not going for a racing career, so perhaps S@W would be the best place to work on cornering skills.   

 

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6 hours ago, El Colibri said:

53driver, it was great to meet you. I’m so glad to hear you had a great time and were able to enjoy being a student again.
 

4 days in a row - wow, way to go! I was beat after just 3.

Thanks so much for helping make our “camp” a great place. I hope to see you at another school again soon. 

Great meeting you too! 

And again, thanks for making me feel welcome.


I'll probably head out west next season - just to get something different, but Barbers is just too local to ignore.  Maybe both?  Lol

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  • 3 weeks later...

Riding a variety of track really an excellent idea...really pushes the rider to hone the core fundamentals.

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