Riding Schools / Motorcycle Racing
Following is a
review of some of the riding schools that
I've attended. While each uses a somewhat
different approach and philosophy, they
are all aimed at improving your skills
and enjoyment of riding.
But why take a track riding school or
track racing school?
For one thing, taking a
riding school offered at a racing track
provides the ideal learning scenario to
safely improve your riding skills.
Track-based training will improve you
more than any amount of money that you
can spend on your bike in high
performance parts and accessories.
Contrary to popular
belief, practice does not make perfect.
Perfect practice makes perfect. If you
want to learn how to swing a golf club,
you can go out to a driving range and
practice 3 hours a day for 5 days a week.
Unsupervised, this ensures that you will
deeply ingrain bad habits and technique.
As any sport instructor will tell you, a
lot of time is initially spent trying to
rid a participant of deeply ingrained
errors in technique. And this applies to
riding a motorcycle too.
The track provides the
opportunity to ride your bike in a
predictable and controlled environment.
As opposed to the street, traffic is all
going the same direction and there are no
cars. The corners are all known. Each
corner is posted with a corner worker to
alert you to any unsafe conditions ie
debris on track etc. There is emergency
personnel on standby.
On the track, there is
also little reason to ever go into a turn
a little too hot and get all bunched up.
That can happen on the street because we
misjudge the turn radius and hence the
correct entry speed. But on a track, all
corners are known. No surprises. We dial
in the entry speed that is comfortable to
us and adjust this progressively as our
skill and confidence build. A least,
thats how it should be.
Some non-sport riders can
initially be intimidated by taking a
track riding school. I suspect that a lot
has to do with how powerful words are in
affecting how we perceive a situation.
For example, a track day takes place on a
R A C E track. That association can often
conjure up expectations of having to go
out and slay the dragon, of having to
prove ourselves. After all, that's what a
race track is about. Competitive endeavor
and proving yourself, pushing your
And for some, this can be a little
intimidating. I've seen many track days
where first timers are a little nervous.
And yet, the reality is that there is
little to be nervous about. Again, the
environment is controlled and there is
support staff on hand. Would you be
nervous before heading out on beautiful
roads in West Virginia, Tennessee, North
Carolina, or Northern Georgia? And yet,
the environment there is much less
So if the idea of riding
on a race track makes you uncomfortable,
you might change the wording and think of
track school as a Rider Development
Course. The expectation then changes from
one of going out to slay the dragon, to
one of going out to practice and improve
Your understanding of how
your bike behaves will improve as will
your braking ability.
Not only will this make
you a better rider and safer, but your
enjoyment of riding will increase too.