[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wetiXfijJSU[/youtube]Optimum Performance Rider Training had it’s last track day of the year on August 16, 2015 at The Ridge Motorsports Park, it was expected to be full and it did not disappoint. The pits were full of eager individuals to get their last taste of riding before the season was officially over for OPRT. Unfortunately that also meant a lot of people hoping to run their fastest lap times of the year and it led to many get offs on the track. Sunday was not unlike any other day at the track, but the feeling was thick with a level of anxious tension and we all know what to expect when that happens so we try to keep our students safe and everyone having fun as the day progresses. The classes were full in both the beginner and intermediate classes and we had every instructor out to help make the day run smoothly. One of our riders crashed out in the first session and he was absolutely adamant on getting his bike from home to finish off his day. After asking him did he know why he crashed he said he tucked the front through the turn and completely totaled his bike. When asked the question about his tire pressures…he said he was running Pirellis and they should stick. HUH! Well when asked what kind of tires and pressures we concluded that 32 lbs. of pressure in the front and rear of Pirelli track tires was ridiculously high and they are supposed to be 29 cold in the front and 20 cold in the rear. There could’ve been a completely different outcome but not making a simple inquiry about his tire pressures and having a pressure gauge caused him to total his bike. Quite literally a question and a $20 gauge would’ve completely changed his day. While this is only one example of things we see during the day we can’t help but shake our heads at individuals who get passed, get that red mist and next thing you know we see them off the edge of the track hopefully upright, but majority of the time, not. This set the tone for the day and it got worse as the day went on with the bike toll.
I was asked to ride with Jonathan the next session, when I met him he seemed nice, but he is asian and not to be stereotypical (I’m asian too) I didn’t want to ride with him if he was going to be some arrogant rich asian kid who was willing to take unnecessary chances and not listen. It turns out I was wrong and was so happy about it, it turns out this kid can ride, but he has a few things that need to be worked out, so I asked if he minded if we did some film? I used the Sena Prism anchored to the rear cowling of my GSXR and asked Troy to take him around since we were going to be going out again in the next session with another student to record his riding. Jonathan is great getting on the gas, however he man handles his bike with his upper body and his body positioning changes drastically after a few laps letting me know he doesn’t use his lower body properly and engage his core. Anyone that says this sport isn’t physical is wrong, I haven’t met a single rider who doesn’t take their helmet off who isn’t sweating like crazy. He gets so tired he starts yanking his bike instead of allowing his lower body to stay anchored and control the bike with the change in which peg he weights. He’s great going left, more tentative going right. His lines are ok, but they can be better, he needs to use the track more and not be following the turn so long at a lean to get a quicker and better drive. He needs to look further. I know you have all heard this and what this means is seeing as far down the track as possible, but still seeing and using rapid eye movements to focus in and out to the reference points. For example, when entering the turn you should see the apex, but be looking for that exit and all the while focusing in and out from apex (without concentrating on it) to the exit ready to get on the gas. It takes practice and sometimes when you are tired your eyes just get lazy and you find yourself looking only to the next reference point. Jonathan was a great student, he listened, he asked questions, he understood and when he got on the track he went to work. It is students like this that make being an instructor fun, being able to touch people and change their lives in some small way and to give them direction to work on things that may be holding them back. Unlocking their potential and giving them the confidence to get out there and do it better each time. Thank you Jonathan for letting me use your video and just talk briefly about the footage as a learning tool and letting me discuss your riding. My Sena Prism has been an invaluable tool in my teaching at the track and I look forward to recording, posting and critiquing many more students in the upcoming year. I want to thank Robert Knoll for sponsoring me, my company and what we are doing for women riders, it is individuals like this who believe in our causes that help us to succeed.