On May 29 and 30, I attended the California Superbike School at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL with two riding buddies. The school is geared toward improving riding skills via classroom instruction and on-track coaching and practice. Stephanie was able to watch the track sessions and join us for meals. This was my first experience on a track, but hopefully not my last! Even though Alberto sent heavy rains our way each morning, we were able to complete the course. Many have heard my story of spending 4 days in unrelenting rain with the Twisted Riders on the curvy, coal-dust laden Hwy 16 in Virginia and North Carolina in 2009. After that, riding in the rain doesn’t bother me, and that experience proved invaluable once again!
For the 2 day camp, the school provides all gear (leathers, boots, gloves, and helmets) and a BMW S1000RR. Keith Code, the founder of CSS, was on hand to help the level 4 riders, and his son Dylan presented most of the material for our level 1 & 2 classes. This included the science behind the behavior of a motorcycle in various scenarios (for example, I knew that chopping the throttle or hitting the brakes while leaned over in a turn caused the bike to stand up and run wide, now I know WHY).
While the weather precluded the use of several specialty bikes (I really wanted to try out the slide bike, which teaches you how to recover when both wheels are sliding sideways), I was able to get a couple of laps on the camera bike. After reviewing the video with my coach, I learned that I was waiting until I reached my turn-in point before looking for the curve’s apex. As my coach put it, “You do pretty good for a guy who begins his steering effort on blind faith!”. That alone was worth the price of admission – by spotting the apex before I reached the turn-in point, my turns became much smoother and quicker.
We also spent several hours at the Barber Motorsports Museum, the largest motorcycle museum in the world – wow!
I highly recommend the school for every rider who wants to improve their skill set, and I cannot wait to take the level 3 & 4 classes!