Monday, March 15, 2010

California Superbike School Level 3

Totally organised... what can I say..?!!!
Dave had the trailer organised, cool hold-down straps, ramps, pit-tent, chairs, luxury tow-wagon... I supplied the black Ducati 916 to go with the red Ducati 998s, which he so generously supplied as well.

California Superbike School Level 3

Level 3 was very physical, and very rewarding.

The drills format was different from L1 and L2 because the 'classroom' was a bike, and California Superbike School Australia Managing Director Steve Brouggy telling us the difference between the Lock-on and the Lock-up!! - and he has such smooth hands too... thank goodness for 1.4mm of prime Brazilian cowhide! aka my Teknic Chicane leathers ;-)


You can see the bike set up in the background under the curved roof.

On track, the format was the same as before with a single gear and no brakes building to full on gears and brakes by the end of the day. I am well on top of the Ducati by this time, and the clutch was solid throughout the day after some tender love and care, a small bottle of brake fluid and some 1500 grit wet-and-dry. During Level 2 of the Superbike School I had trouble keeping any clutch at all, which while circulating wasn't a real problem, more a distraction, the stopping and starting were more... difficult. As was noted by our ride coach, the point of the day wasn't to go as fast as you could on the straights, it was learning about you and the bike and the physical refinements and body work at and before you get to the corners - to increase corner speed, confidence and be consistent. He was on the Suzuki GSXR 600 which meant that he had to try quite hard to keep up with the bigger bikes on the straights. Having said that though, once you get the feel of the drive out of the corner from a well executed Hook Turn, you must be forgiven for continuing to wind it on...

Try folding your arms and then quickly changing left-to-right. Very tricky - if you can do it at all. Getting your left adductor muscles to fire with the right arm counter-steer and vice versa is one such challenge.

Once you have it, the power you have to steer with is enormous and you stay well balanced throughout, meaning that you don't suffer any of the natural body twist that comes with the forceful quick steering. By the end of the day we were physically and mentally tired and buzzing from a great day learning to ride a motorcycle.

I feel I can't say too much about the California Superbike School at Hampton Downs - Level 1 at least is mandatory for everyone on 2 wheels. Give Darren or Rachel Sweetman a call - they even have Gift Vouchers for your loved ones. Can't wait for the track photos to come out... sometime in March.

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