Learning your trade is paramount, even if you love it. So, I went to the California Superbike School being held in India for the second time to learn ride craft.
Yes, it might seem awfully odd that after having ridden motorcycles for almost 15 years and majority of them involving riding motorcycles for a living, I decided to head to a riding school. But, that’s what is special about riding motorcycles in the fi rst place; no matter how long, hard or diverse one’s riding experience might be, there’s always some thing extra that remains to be learnt.
I was excited to attend the California Superbike School for another reason too. You see, I might be a self-taught rider like almost everybody out there, but I did hone (or I thought I did) my riding skills by reading a few books on riding. The most impressive and thorough of the lot was ‘Twist Of The Wrist’ by Keith Code.
It’s a book that tells you to notice and use bits about your riding technique which you already use, but unconsciously. The idea being that knowing what you are doing more clearly will put you in a better position to exploit these bits to become a better rider. It’s all scientifi c and Mr Code has spent years perfecting these riding techniques. So, when I learnt the man himself was going to be here to school us, I simply had to be there!
So, I headed off to the Chennai race track for a two-day session. Since I had never done the school before I’d only be allowed to attend levels 1 and 2 while levels 3 and 4 would be for already schooled riders. But before I tell you what happened, I would like to make one thing extremely clear – no matter how hard I try to explain the techniques and how best to use them, you’d never be able to make complete use of it without attending the school. Like they say, “there’s no substitute for track time.”
The idea here is to be as smooth with the throttle as possible when getting out of a corner. The best way to apply it is to get on the throttle only when you are sure you would not need to back off till the time you brake for the next corner. It has to be seamless and progressive.
Good throttle control lends the bike better stability around bends. It also gives the rider more confidence around a corner and allows the bike to have higher exit speeds, which ensures quicker lap times.