It's taken me a couple of weeks to sit down and write this, but on 17/18 Oct, I attended Reg Pridmore's CLASS session at Virginia International Raceway. For those that aren't familiar with it, it's a riding school
, not a track day or racing school. From his website, "Reg Pridmore and his team focus on teaching you how to become a smoother, safer and more confident rider" (www.classrides.com
) - and they do exactly that. Being active duty military, I've got access to tons of motorcycle training and in just the last year, have taken the MSF ARC and Total Control Level I, but the two days at VIR with Reg helped me to advance my skills much more than in any other class.
The one-on-one instruction on the track, being in the classroom with Reg, lots of time on VIR's amazing facility to work on and refine those skills, and things really started to click by the end of the first day. I kept working on everything throughout day #2 and even though I was pretty tired by mid afternoon, I was able to keep doing things right - and I had an instructor go with me for a session to make sure the techniques were solid even when exhausted.
In all, we did 8 sessions on Day 1 and 9 on Day 2 for a total of over 300 miles in those two days. At VIR, they use the "North Course" - a challenging mix of hairpins, esses, a tight chicane, a challenging downhill section, and to top it off a dogleg right in the middle of the front straight.
I mounted a camera in the oil cooler opening and have video of each of the sessions and mounted a GoPro on the rear rack to capture body position. It helped immensely in being able to critique my lines, turn-in points, and bike position on the track and also actually see how I moved my body on the bike to make sure I was making the changes suggested by Reg's team.
How did the K1600 do? It did GREAT! I started the course on a virginal set of Dunlop Q3s (trailered the bike there), had it in Dynamic/Road the whole time. I started with ESA set at rider+bags, but got the recommendation from one of the instructors to change ESA to 2-up to "raise the rear end" (Stuart Beatson, the service manager at Morton's and also a championship racer) - and it helped a TON. Granted I was REALLY working to get off the bike, but I surely wasn't going easy and only ever scraped a peg once. Oh, and for those that fear AltRider bars touching down, I never got close - and again - the big K was hustling around the track.
If anyone is either on the fence about attending one of Reg's sessions or thinks "I don't need to go to a track" - this school is about learning how to truly control YOUR bike. Reg and his team just want to see you learn and improve and kept saying "it's not about speed; it's about being a better rider." Even with access to LOTS of non-cost training, Reg's CLASS sessions are worth every penny and I'm definitely going back!
I've got video of every session and here's a link to just about two laps worth:
Here's some pictures:
The track map for VIR's North Course
Turns 5 and 6 at VIR... this facility really is amazing with an almost perfect surface and lots of run-off area should things go a bit awry
Halfway through turn 1
One-on-one instruction from Stuart - in Turn 4 (one of the hardest turns to get right)
Turn 7 - uphill blind right-hander
A really happy and well-used rear Dunlop Q3 with just over 300 miles on it. :gm