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Do You Feel You Can Apply What You Leaned Today?


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Barber Motorsports Park was my first track day after 20 years off from riding a selection of motorcycles. It was with one of the "Track Day" organizations; I was novice, first time on the track, again new to being on a bike after several years. A friend of mine pointed out a parade lap at VIR months prior and set me up for what the expected "track day" pace would be for my first novice track day. I was ready. Being a bit nervous, I suited up, put on the lid, and prepared for the experience. Coming out of the hot pit on the inside into Turn 1 at Barber, the track coach was POW! moving faster than I was ready for, but I hung in there while thinking this may have been a mistake. The pace was not parade speed; it was fast and fast can be scary.

 

That was on 9/11 2005. Eight months later - 5 track days and 1 amateur CCS race weekend later, I decided to attend the California Superbike School. Ironically at Barber 6 hours from my home, where I had my first track day. After reading Twist and Twist II, along with Soft Science of Motorcycle racing, I really felt in tune with Keith, I guy I never knew anything about. I really like his method. Being 37 yrs old, and wanting to compete, I don't have the money or time to use the trial and error method picking up advice from the party pitted next to you during a Track day.

 

I had low expectations for the school which was at Barber June 4th 2006. I already had mid pack times at CMP and VIR (North) riding at 9/10ths of my ability. I was turning 51's at VIR and wondering "Man! how do you drop 10 seconds off your lap times?" Where is that 10 seconds? That's a lot of time when you're riding at your limit. I think my low expectations were mainly to keep me from disapointment. I figued if I go in low, I'll leave the school with something good. Kind of like seeing a movie and expecting mediocore, but leaving amazed. This was my experience at CSS.

 

I did go in with low expectations, but left with value and lots of it. I went slower the entire day than I did on my first track day 8 months earlier... and thank you for that. If you can slow down and not cheat getting faster, I've learned from the school that you CAN get faster by going slower. I know, that's a cliche, but forget about that and realize that a cliche is only an idea or expression used by MANY people. People think it can't be true but it is.

 

Throttle control is important to me for several reasons. One, I'm not spending the $$$ on suspension until I learn how to use it. Two, I want stability and confidence. Quick turn, WOW! I knew and understood counter steering, but I never knew you can Quick turn like CSS taught me. Drill after drill, what I read in the books was making sense now.

 

Determination: Don't give up and don't cheat yourself.

 

Three weeks after Level I class, I attended "Festival of Speed" at VIR. Three races: GTL, Supersport, and Superbike. I even attended the track day prior to race weekend to work on my drills I learned at CSS. Driving home three weeks earlier from Alabama, I knew I'd at least take 4 seconds off my lap times with what I had learned at the school. Interesting... at the end of a FULL practice track day at VIR north, I had dropped my laptimes ... Guess ... that's right, only 2 seconds. Damn! I thought I spent $420 + hotel and gas and all for 2 seconds. I have to say I was disappointed for about 3 minutes. Then I realized I can't give up on this. Keith has a method. A proven method. He, or any of the other instructors, do this for a reason. They want us to improve. Even though I paid them to learn, they left their homes and families to teach me. I owed it to them to keep trying. I told myself "that's it, I'm not cheating," I'm going to go into tomorrow race practice keeping all the simple drills I learned in mind and I'm not giving up.

 

At the School, after every session, my track coach, Kevin Quinn would say to me. "Do you feel you can apply what you learned today to your racing?" And I said "Yes, absolutely" I'm sure this is something that they are told to say, but hey... listen to them... I've paid my money, they've given me instruction and you know what? I'm not giving up on this. I'll keep applying these techniques until they work and guess what...they did.

 

My practice sessions prior to the afternoon races were slower, still 2 seconds better. I was running 49s at VIR north (during practice). I'm sure I was being sized up by the competition as someone to just get around. I kept the drills in mind all the way up and past turn one after the one board and the green flag did their job.

By my last race, the superbike race, I was turning 45s, six seconds off my best lap time at VIR North.

 

Califonia Superbike School works if you have the patience. If you don't see immediate results that you may have expected, don't give up. Stick to the program. It works. It takes determination.

 

And yes, Kevin, I can and did apply this to my racing and now I'm finishing top 5. This is 8 months after my first track day ever. Finishing top 5, and not out of 6 on the grid, but 20 riders. Top 5 is from what the Superbike school has taught me and most importantly, I didn't give up. Thank you guys. See you in Sept at VIR Level II. Kevin, I hope you are feeling better.

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Barber Motorsports Park was my first track day after 20 years off from riding a selection of motorcycles. It was with one of the "Track Day" organizations; I was novice, first time on the track, again new to being on a bike after several years. A friend of mine pointed out a parade lap at VIR months prior and set me up for what the expected "track day" pace would be for my first novice track day. I was ready. Being a bit nervous, I suited up, put on the lid, and prepared for the experience. Coming out of the hot pit on the inside into Turn 1 at Barber, the track coach was POW! moving faster than I was ready for, but I hung in there while thinking this may have been a mistake. The pace was not parade speed; it was fast and fast can be scary.

 

That was on 9/11 2005. Eight months later - 5 track days and 1 amateur CCS race weekend later, I decided to attend the California Superbike School. Ironically at Barber 6 hours from my home, where I had my first track day. After reading Twist and Twist II, along with Soft Science of Motorcycle racing, I really felt in tune with Keith, I guy I never knew anything about. I really like his method. Being 37 yrs old, and wanting to compete, I don't have the money or time to use the trial and error method picking up advice from the party pitted next to you during a Track day.

 

I had low expectations for the school which was at Barber June 4th 2006. I already had mid pack times at CMP and VIR (North) riding at 9/10ths of my ability. I was turning 51's at VIR and wondering "Man! how do you drop 10 seconds off your lap times?" Where is that 10 seconds? That's a lot of time when you're riding at your limit. I think my low expectations were mainly to keep me from disapointment. I figued if I go in low, I'll leave the school with something good. Kind of like seeing a movie and expecting mediocore, but leaving amazed. This was my experience at CSS.

 

I did go in with low expectations, but left with value and lots of it. I went slower the entire day than I did on my first track day 8 months earlier... and thank you for that. If you can slow down and not cheat getting faster, I've learned from the school that you CAN get faster by going slower. I know, that's a cliche, but forget about that and realize that a cliche is only an idea or expression used by MANY people. People think it can't be true but it is.

 

Throttle control is important to me for several reasons. One, I'm not spending the $$$ on suspension until I learn how to use it. Two, I want stability and confidence. Quick turn, WOW! I knew and understood counter steering, but I never knew you can Quick turn like CSS taught me. Drill after drill, what I read in the books was making sense now.

 

Determination: Don't give up and don't cheat yourself.

 

Three weeks after Level I class, I attended "Festival of Speed" at VIR. Three races: GTL, Supersport, and Superbike. I even attended the track day prior to race weekend to work on my drills I learned at CSS. Driving home three weeks earlier from Alabama, I knew I'd at least take 4 seconds off my lap times with what I had learned at the school. Interesting... at the end of a FULL practice track day at VIR north, I had dropped my laptimes ... Guess ... that's right, only 2 seconds. Damn! I thought I spent $420 + hotel and gas and all for 2 seconds. I have to say I was disappointed for about 3 minutes. Then I realized I can't give up on this. Keith has a method. A proven method. He, or any of the other instructors, do this for a reason. They want us to improve. Even though I paid them to learn, they left their homes and families to teach me. I owed it to them to keep trying. I told myself "that's it, I'm not cheating," I'm going to go into tomorrow race practice keeping all the simple drills I learned in mind and I'm not giving up.

 

At the School, after every session, my track coach, Kevin Quinn would say to me. "Do you feel you can apply what you learned today to your racing?" And I said "Yes, absolutely" I'm sure this is something that they are told to say, but hey... listen to them... I've paid my money, they've given me instruction and you know what? I'm not giving up on this. I'll keep applying these techniques until they work and guess what...they did.

 

My practice sessions prior to the afternoon races were slower, still 2 seconds better. I was running 49s at VIR north (during practice). I'm sure I was being sized up by the competition as someone to just get around. I kept the drills in mind all the way up and past turn one after the one board and the green flag did their job.

By my last race, the superbike race, I was turning 45s, six seconds off my best lap time at VIR North.

 

Califonia Superbike School works if you have the patience. If you don't see immediate results that you may have expected, don't give up. Stick to the program. It works. It takes determination.

 

And yes, Kevin, I can and did apply this to my racing and now I'm finishing top 5. This is 8 months after my first track day ever. Finishing top 5, and not out of 6 on the grid, but 20 riders. Top 5 is from what the Superbike school has taught me and most importantly, I didn't give up. Thank you guys. See you in Sept at VIR Level II. Kevin, I hope you are feeling better.

 

strace107

 

Great success story. To answer some of the "questions" you brought up. Yes we make a point to ask our students about application because theory is all well and good but in the end if you can't apply the theory all you did was a mental exercise.

 

Making any riding technique your own is always the battle and you had success doing that at VIR. Well done.

 

Those points we go over in Level 1 are vital. No matter what else you do or how fast you are, those are the ones that make the corner happen or not. They are foundation skill sets but they aren't meant to be applied robotically.

 

Take for example throttle control. We train it the way we train it becuase that is the way it works. Once you feel how it works, only then can you start to become creative with it and find its fine points.

 

We say and Twist II says that once you begin to roll the throttle on you continue to do that at a steady, even rate throughout the corner. OK, where does the corner end so you can get the hammer down for the drive off the turn?

 

Answer: Some riders in some turns are pinned before the bike is much more than half way to full vertical another rider may wait to 3/4 of the way to full vertical and so on.

 

Another rider may quickly pin it just before vertical, that jacks the back end up and stiffens the rear suspension, that starts the wheel spinning and then they slam it up to vertical as it spins. That produces some pretty looking short slides and gets a good drive off the corner.

 

The point with all of the drills at the school is to lay in a foundation so the rider can be the architect of his own style, with as few problems as possible. The more you stick with the basics the fewer mistakes you will make. Finding the loop holes is what we do on Level IV. On Level IV, it becomes your own individual program.

 

So what I think you are saying is that you were able to integrate what we drilled and talked about at the schools into your senses and sensibilities and that is as good as, I think, it gets.

 

Keith

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