Back to School Rider Magazine had a terrific article on CLASS by Arden Kysely. In case you missed it, here are some highlights:
“Let’s back up a moment and look at why I enrolled. After 35 years of street and dual sport riding without serious incident, I must be reasonably skilled or darned lucky – maybe both. What’s left to learn if I’ve made it this far? Plenty as it turns out, but the main reason I came was to gain confidence in my street riding. If you haven’t noticed, the mean streets are just getting meaner. My plan was to freshen my skills, learn new ones, and sharpen my senses for surviving on the modern roadway. Track time lured me in, too – who wouldn’t want to rev it up on the racetrack? …”
“If the bike rider interplay is a dance, mine was more of a body slam in the mosh pit than a waltz”.
“Pridmore teaches that smooth riding is better riding, as it upsets the bike less than a gorilla style approach and gives you better control of the machine. And the better your control, the better prepared you are for any situation on the street or track. the discussion reminded me of horse racing, where a jockey’s job is to let the horse run its fastest by not interfering with its movements. Like jockeys, we motorcyclists can hobble our mounts by being too tense or wrestling them around.”
“Pridmore is a natural in front of the class. Glib and affable, he draws his material from a lifetime of experience, including three AMA Superbike championships and 30 years of rider education. Each classroom session netted me another technique or two.”
“On my third track session I had a few moments of brilliance – a fluid corner entrance with an exit that set me up for the next bend – then lost concentration and crumbled into a chaos of bad downshifts and erratic braking. If the bike/rider interplay is a dance, mine was more of a body slam in the mosh pit than a waltz. (Reg’s wife and CLASS) Instructor Gigi Pridmore passed me as I was slam-dancing my VFR, tapped her CBR600RR’s tail for “follow me” and showed me how to put it all together. Three laps later, after watching her lines and analyzing each control input, I was riding much better. There’s no substitute for concentration on the track, or the street, and following Gigi made me focus every synapse on riding. That whole “control” thing was starting to make a dent.”
“I was much more confident in the saddle and my boots frequently grazed the tarmac as long as I kept my attention on riding. But lose focus, and those old habits come back faster than a bad check”.
“Back on the track, I was getting in the groove. My downshifts from second to first for turn 2 were much quieter, my weight shift was improving, and my Diablos were sticking tight to the sun warmed track…. I never did get off the perfect lap, though I was much more confident in the saddle and my boots frequently grazed the tarmac as long as I kept my attention on riding. But lose focus, and those old habits come back faster than a bad check.”
“At days end, with my clutch hand cramping and my head chock full of riding wisdom, my goals had all been met, yet I’d only scratched the surface of what there is to learn about riding, and certainly needed more practice. It’s no wonder so many people repeat this school.”
“Does 52 students sound like a lot? It did to me, but it’s a credit to Pridmore’s organization that you never feel crowded on the track and there’s always someone to help you. Bikes may bunch up occasionally, but the straightaways untangle any knots and the instructors are always monitoring the track. The session ran extremely well (smoothly, you might say), with men and women aged 21 to 72 on everything from a Harley to a Super Motard KTM sharpening their skills in a safe environment.”
© Rider Magazine. Quotes used with permission.