Back to school

This weekend I attended superbike school. Not quite what was expected. Got there and there were a couple of hundred other people with very pretty bikes, most of them wanting to attack the track much faster than I.

So how it works is that superbike school is held on a track day. All of the riders present are assigned to groups, with the slow kids – that’s the ones attending school – in the slowest, further split into groups of four with an instructor. While the other groups are whizzing around the track, we sit in a hot classroom and learn theory. Then when our slot comes up, we go out onto the track and apply it.

I did terribly on my first track session – they’d told us to fold up our mirrors, and it turns out that I have an automatic reflex of glancing in my mirrors before a turn. The second and subsequent were better, probably because we didn’t follow the instructor – he followed each of us for a bit to give us feedback. Apparently I “got some really fucked up lines, boetie, but you’re very flowy”.

Overall I’d say it was worth it, and not only because I got to corner my tyres to the (literally) ragged edge. The experience gave me a good deal of knowledge about and confidence in what is still a relatively new machine for me, and the lessons they taught are more than applicable to road riding.

I got a solid vocabulary for things that had only informally been developed in my few years of riding. Eye control, proper use of peripheral vision, good body posture, braking, accelerating, turning and swerving, and how to choose and hold a line – especially on the road – are good things to know, and I’m really happy that Honda gives a booking for this course with every decent sized bike they sell.

That’s without mentioning the people… the father who’d got a fireblade from his wife for father’s day, and was pushing it to the point where his touring tyres were slipping out at the back. His brother who offered endless enthusiasm and encouragement to all. The dirt rider on his first time handling a sportsbike – aka the fastest man on the track. And everyone else who hopped in to compare tyres, discuss bikes, share theories etc.

A fine day.

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