Ken Travels to Salt Lake City World Superbike Meet

((May 29-31 Red River BMW member Ken Paulovich got to do something many will just talk about. He traveled to a world superbike meet at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was everything you would expect world superbike to be, with a little extra included. Here is Ken's account of his weekend with some of the fastest riders on the planet.))

by Ken Paulovich
Sue and I had a wonderful opportunity to join Dr. and Mrs. Bill Steen and Rich Horstman, our co-pilot, over Memorial Day weekend and travel to Salt Lake City to attend the World SBK race weekend package sponsored by BMW Motorrad. We arrived in Salt Lake around lunch and after a hair-raising moment trying to land with major cross winds and literally last second runway changes, we all needed a drink.

Diane (Steen) had done some homework on “local favorite” eating establishments and numero ono was the RED IGUANA , an authentic Mexican dining extravaganza that lived up to its reputation. In fact, we read in an SLC Dining Review that the owners decided to open a 2nd location due to popularity and did so only about 100 yards away from the original!

We then left for the hotel and I must say BMW really knows how to pick and negotiate pricing on pretty fine “DIGS. It was  a 5-star downtown establishment called “Little America Hotel” and each room came complete with living room area with workstation/Ithernet/etc., queen bedroom w/48” wall mounted plasma tv; closet/transitional dressing area; full bath/shower/jaccuzi tub that could seat 4-5. BMW negotiated a weekend rate of $105/night...I was impressed!

Next morning we awoke to hunger pangs again and all met in one of the hotel’s restaurants to have breakfast and then head to Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT about 30 mi away.

It was cloudy and about 45 degrees when we arrived there with gusty breezes, probably left over from the day before! This was my first visit to Miller Motorsports Park and my first “live” superbike race as well so I had a lot to learn. We went straight to the BMW Motorrad tent and exhibit to get our “gift packages” which consisted of BMW logoed water bottle, S1000RR hat and jacket. What a nice surprise and all became immediately useful. We wandered around visiting the many vendors and a variety of manufacturers in attendance. (APRILIA, BMW, DUCATI, HONDA, KAWASAKI, SUZUKI, AND YAMAHA) BMW had the largest venue complete with MOA and RA well represented. We got to meet Ray Zimmerman and Becky Weber from MOA headquarters.

Stunt rider Chris Pfeiffer was on hand with his BMW F800R demonstrating the skills and techniques that earned him four World Stunt Riding Championships as well as a 2006 victory in the prestigious “Stuntwars” in Florida. His ability really expanded the boundaries of what you would think possible on a motorcycle! As a World Superbike Rookie FAN, this entire experience was a learning adventure for me so I will share my mental notes with those that are interested:

Classes: The weekend exhibited 4 different classes of bikes battling it out on the track. World Superbike is a world championship class comprised of highly modified production MCs from 1000cc to 1200cc, with riders from all over the world. These are the very fastest production MCs, though each one started life as a bike that can be purchased from a dealership. The World Supersport class is similar in structure, though restricted to middleweight MCs. The Lucas Oil Superbike Challenge featured 2 support classes, GTO and GTU in the 1000cc and up, and campaigned mainly by Americans. World Superbikes are mostly piloted by Europeans, Australians, and Asians.

Practice:  This allows the racers to find and memorize landmarks around the track to aid in braking and turning. Additionally, practice laps are used to set the bike up for a particular track’s characteristics, as the teams make small changes to the motorcycle’s geometry, suspension, and engine management systems. These minor tweaks have a huge effect on how quickly a rider can complete a lap. The practice laps are as exciting as the race because the fastest time is used to determine the starting-grid position for the actual races so as you can imagine, the competition is on.

Superpole system:: This is the system World Superbike uses to decide where on the grid riders start the race and is similar to Formula One. Superpole is divided into 3 sessions. The top twenty riders from qualifying take to the track for the 14 minute Superpole 1, at the end of which the four slowest riders are eliminated. In Superpole 2, only 12 minutes long, an additional 8 riders are cut. Superpole3, which is only 10 minutes long, decides the starting positions of the top 8 riders. The Superpole 3, was the event in which Troy Corser highsided off the track then got up and “highjacked” a photographer’s Yamaha 250 and screamed back to his pit to get his other S1000. He made it back on the track in time to qualify with the 2nd bike but was fined by FIM for his “commando methods”.

Race length: The World Superbike races consist of 21 laps around the outer track at Miller (3.048miles) with no pit stops . A new track record was set by Carlos Checa on a Ducati 1198R screaming around in just 1 min:47.387sec. during practice breaking Ben Spies '09 record of 1:48.768.

Each day, as part of our ticket package, BMW provided lunch, cold beverages, snacks, etc. in a large tent. The package also allowed us access into the pits for observing the teams in between the practice laps as they tweaked each bike to enhance performance. The MC s were completely dismantled in between events. Cowlings were racked out front and the tires were refreshed, transmissions adjusted or changed, engines adjusted or totally changed out, all based on data that was downloaded and reviewed by engineers hovering around computers. Technicians then reassembled and torque everything to specs. Riders came out for a few minutes to sign autographs and meet their fans. At the Ducati pit, while Michel Fabrizio signed a poster, I told him I had a friend named Beau Andrews in our Louisiana BMW club that was sort of a “motorcycle cross-dresser” and had a Ducati also. He smiled (in Italian of course!) and gave Beau his autograph. I was really amazed at the number of fans from all over the world that were there. Motorcycle racing and Superbike specifically is as popular if not more than Football/Baseball combined here in the States.

The only atrocity we witnessed the entire weekend was while leaving the track on Sunday afternoon, we came up on the sight of emergency vehicles off in the distance and slowing traffic to a bumper to bumper crawl on the 2-lane state highway we were on. We all assumed the worst, a probable MC accident due to the thousands present for the weekend. As we got closer to the entanglement, we realized that MCs were involved but as victims of the UTAH STATE POLICE! Seems as though the USP decided to perform “safety checks” just on MOTORCYCLES that afternoon as about 2000 people were leaving the Superbike weekend. Every bike on that stretch was pulled over, and riders were having to show all registrations, licenses, and demo the bike’s brake lights, turn signals, etc. Not only was this a harassment to the motorcyclists but a very stupid and unsafe location for anyone traveling along this stretch of narrow road packed with fans leaving the track. We later spoke to reps Miller Motorsports and they too were appalled by the tactics chosen by their local law enforcement and planned on contacting the governor.
Race Day was perfect. The weather could not have been better. The weekend practice sessions had seen some slide offs but due to gear and track design, no serious injuries occurred. Miller Motorsport Park was designed with safety in mind with plenty of “sandy real estate” in place to abate rider velocities when they disconnect from their mounts in tricky maneuvers gone bad. All major turns were staffed by highly trained and equipped medical personnel, rider evacuation carts and track maintenance crews equipped with brooms to sweep all the tire rubber off the turns between each practice session or race. Additionally, the main complex facility houses an injury diagnostic and stabilization center complete with a medical evacuation helicopter and crew to “whisk” any serious injuries to nearby Salt Lake City. After lunch in BMW’s hospitality tent, I went straight to the pit area to get Troy Corser’s autograph, then hurried back to grandstand to prepare for Race 1 of Superbikes. Our plan was to just view Race 1, then head out for the airport ahead of traffic and to get back to Shreveport in the late afternoon as we all had to return to work on Tuesday. We had a nice flight home and I actually watched the SBK Race 2 at home. A memorable experience was had by all and I am assuming RRBMW Riders will sponsor your “trackside reporter” for Round 8 in Misano Adriatico, Italy on the 27th of June??

((Ed-Negative on the Italy trip, Ken, as I held your post long enough to lobby to be sent to Italy myself. Sadly, I was told "lei è una donna pazza" which translates roughly into, "you are one crazy lady.")

Toasting Through Texas to Taos

by Drew T. Newcomer

According to the paperwork, I have been a member of the Motorcycle Sport Touring Association (formally known as the Honda Sport Touring Association) for almost 12 years. While I have attended a good number of local rallies during that time I have never made it to the national event known as STAR (Sport Touring Annual Rendezvous.) This year the planets must have aligned correctly as I pulled out of the driveway on June 18 headed to this year’s meeting point, Taos, New Mexico.

Being June in Louisiana it was somewhat warm that Friday morning as I headed west on I-20 where I picked up US 69 just north of Tyler, Texas. I rode 69 to US 82 and turned west until I turned northwest on US 287 to Wichita Falls. I didn’t plan on going the 450 miles to Wichita Falls, but seems there was a lack of anyplace to stay till I got there. I had planned to meet some fellow MSTA members from Louisiana at the Big Texan in Amarillo on the 19th which left me a short ride on Saturday morning.

The dawn came early and I headed to Amarillo. Not wanting to take the easy way by just riding up 287, I quickly got lost (well, you are never really lost till you run out of gasoline!) and found myself in Oklahoma. After consulting a map I found US 70 near Randlett, Oklahoma and turned west taking 70 to Matador, Texas where I turned north on TX 70 to Turkey, Texas – home of Bob Wills (you do know who Bob Wills is, don’t you?)

I headed north until rejoining 287 in Clarendon and then on into Amarillo. Problem was, I got to the Big Texan too early and my room was not ready. Fortunately, there is a bar there and I consumed a pitcher of raspberry ice tea while my bike and luggage cooked in the hot Texas sun. Let me tell you – it was HOT in Amarillo and the tea was a welcome relief. Finally the room was ready and I unpacked my gear (my granola bars had melted.) The MSTA members arrived and we met for a great steak dinner later that afternoon.

The Big Texan is known for giving away a 72 ounce steak if you can eat it, and the trimmings, within one hour. There was one big ole Texas farm boy (stated weight 320#) who gave it a try, but I don’t know if he made it or not as we left before his hour was up. He was giving it his best shot, however.

In an effort to beat the heat, I was on I-40 west the next morning at 6:15. Heat was not a factor and I was actually cool in my Olympia perforated riding suit. Very soon into New Mexico I turned on NM 392 till NM 489 took me northwest to Logan and breakfast. In Logan, I continued northwest to Roy, where I turned more westerly on NM 120. I should say these are lonely roads and a breakdown out here would be somewhat troublesome as I am sure there is no cell phone coverage for miles and miles. Still, there is solace being on roads like this and the R1150R was running like a champ. 120 was a good road till the pavement ran out. (If I would have squinted a bit more, I would have noticed that the pavement ran out, but I didn’t pay any attention till I rode up to the end of the pavement!) So, I turned around and found NM 442 in Ocate which took me south La Cueva, New Mexico. NM 518 took me west and then north to my destination of Taos. I had ridden 328 miles and some of that was out-of-the-way, but my room was ready when I arrived at the Sagebrush Inn.

My friend Nancy arrived later Sunday evening and we were up early Monday morning as our bodies were still on central time. The 46 degree temperatures, with a humidity of 15%, were a welcome relief to what we’d been experiencing back at home. After things warmed up a bit, we headed up NM 522 to Questa and the ski town of Red River. We continued making a loop on NM 38 to Elizabethtown and Eagle Nest stopping at the Viet Nam Memorial near Angel Fire. The only Viet Nam Memorial that is also a state shrine evokes quite a bit of emotion as you walk through the grounds and view the photos and stories inside. From Angel Fire to US 64 we headed back to Taos with a stiff breeze coming from the west. The ride had only been a little over 100 miles, but the scenery did not disappoint and this was to be an indication of things to come.

Tuesday came as early as Monday and Nancy and I headed west on US 64 to Tierra Amarilla. We had come prepared and brought long sleeve shirts and pants but I didn’t think we’d need them as we didn’t need them on Monday. Was I wrong! Heading up over 10,000 feet in the Tusas Mountains things were a bit chilly. I had not seen sky this blue in a long time. We had passed from desert to forest and warmed up as we descended into Chama. After lunch it was time to head to Colorado on Highway 17. 17 took us upwards of 11,000 feet and we met hundreds and hundreds of bicyclists coming into Chama from somewhere. Chama was expecting in the neighborhood of 2000 folks for lunch, but I can tell you at the rate some were making progress, they would have been lucky to get there for breakfast the next morning. Had to take my hat off to them, as some of the inclines they were peddling were quite steep and you could see exhaustion in many faces. 17 flattened a bit as we approached Antonito, Colorado and turned south for Taos on US 285. Not much to 285 except a stiff crosswind but we managed to get back to Taos without any problems.

With only one day left I decided to head south on Wednesday. Taking the once-traveled 518 south we turned southwest on NM 68 on to Dixon and Velarde where we continued south on NM 68 to Espanola. In Espanola, an easterly turn on NM 98 took us to Chimayo, the home of a very old mission whose soil is purportedly known to have “healing” properties. This was an interesting stop and we found a good number of our motorcycle friends there when we arrived. Taking the “high road to Taos” we headed north on NM 76 until 518 took us the final 16 miles back to Taos.

Wednesday night was the MSTA banquet and the 386 attendees enjoyed enchiladas, beans, rice, and salad as we discussed the previous three days. As usual, I did not win any of the door prizes (including a Triumph motorcycle) but I couldn’t complain. This rally was full of great roads, great people, and great food.

Nancy and I left Thursday morning for Santa Fe where we explored the downtown area on foot. There is much history here dating back to the 1600s. We enjoyed time off of the bike and topped it off with a great Italian meal (we had had enough enchiladas by that time!)

I headed east on Friday morning taking I-25 to US 84 which took me to Santa Rosa and on to Fort Sumner. (Nancy returned to Albuquerque for her flight home.) I had lunch in Muleshoe, Texas where I found my old friend highway 70 to Plainview and on to Floydada. I turned south for 22 miles on US 62 and then back east on US 82. Texas had not cooled off in the four days I was gone and I was soaking my t-shirt in water about once an hour. I was “complaining” about the heat when I noticed a lightning bolt to my left.

Guess I should have kept my mouth shut. I was ready to stop in Guthrie, Texas, only there was no place to stop there. With lightning bolts on my left and right and I was getting a little more antsy. Know what? There was no place to stay in Benjamin, Texas, either, and I had begun to feel a few raindrops by this time. Finally, in Seymour, Texas, I find a hotel and gladly stopped. The rain was no longer a problem but after 522 miles, I was ready for a shower and good meal.

Saturday morning I was on the road at 5:00 and headed east on TX 114 till I intersected TX 380. 380 is a good road but it does pass right through downtown Denton and there are a good number of red lights to contend with. But, they all turned green, and when I found US 69 I turned southeast and I-20.

I had been to New Mexico a couple of years ago on my way to Utah. But, I missed so much then of what I saw this time. And you know what? If I could do it next week, I would, and would put up with the Texas heat one more time!!

Blanco, Texas ReDux: RRBMWR Head For the Hills

In what may be the last of our annual treks to the tiny hamlet of Blanco, Texas, Red River BMW riders braved rain, ice that cost money!, and television stations that seemed to offer only documentaries on Ghenghis Khan... but managed to have big fun anyway.

18 brave souls from Shreveport, Henderson, Monroe and environs made the trek to the Hill Country the weekend of May 13-16, despite ominous-sounding television weathercasters promising DANGER (or at the very least a bad case of dampness) from rain, hail, wind and other meteorological nasties. Interestingly enough, no two media weather outlets could agree on the percentage of possible nastiness, leading the Red River BMW riders to do what we do best, which was to ignore them almost completely.

No, I joke. In truth we all did the very UNUSUAL thing of actually listening to the forecasts, which led several members including Steve and me and Dan and Patsy to drive down in our cages. That turned out to be a stroke of very good thinking on the Friday of the Blanco expedition, which turned out to be on and off rainy, mostly on. In fact, the area got so much rain that the tiny Blanco rivulet that runs behind the settlement turned river-ish.

The dreary skies did not dampen the enthusiasm of the gathered crowd, which included newbie-Blanco-ites Nancy (girlfriend of Drew) and Tanya (girlfriend of David).


Both ladies get thumbs-up and two double snaps for being fun to be around no matter what the conditions, and willing to sit and listen politely to big whopping motorcycle tales without making faces OR laughing out loud.

Sadly, there was a fatality on one of the nights of deluge. The club-purchased traveling circus tent was smote by a Wrath of God (or a highish wind... whichever) and was rendered severely broken. The combined skills of Captain Bob, Bruccini and Pipefitter David could not bring the tent frame back to life, so after several beers, they just quit trying.

That tent has traveled to at least one corner of the globe with the club, so parting was sweet sorrow. Capt. Bob and Lt. Bruce gave the tent a proud send-off to the Dumpster in the Sky.            

The rainy Friday gave club members the chance to go off on their own. Dan and Patsy took the car to Fredericksburg to check out possible accommodations for next year, Reggie and Rodney braved the threatening skies and went riding, still others hung out at the settlement and relaxed, and Steve and I went exploring, heading just north of Blanco to a little fork in the road called Johnson City.

Johnson City, much like Rock Ridge in the movie "Blazing Saddles", was initially inhabited by only people with the surname "Johnson."  Andrew Jackson Johnson located in the region as early as 1858, giving rise to a veritable smorgasbord of Johnsons, which eventually included our 36th President, Lyndon Baines Johnson. Both the Johnson ranch and the Johnson National Historical Park are located in Johnson City, but that was not what piqued our interest. What did was a town landmark passed by anyone traveling from Johnson City to Fredericksburg on highway 290.

The giant E  D Mill  started off as a steam-powered cotton gin and gristmill, handling the corn and cotton grown in the area. In the early 1940’s the gin was sold and converted to a milling and grain operation, which did well until the late 1970’s. Several years ago it was sold again, to a consortium that took it in a completely different direction, subdividing it into restaurants, bars and art shacks. The Feed Mill was briefly listed on a website about the oddest American roadside locations because of "horrific" artwork that included giant clowns and paintings made of actual sets of dentures. It was into this danse of the macabre that Steve and I found ourselves on a gloomy and dark afternoon.

The feed mill is posted, though not well. If you enter from the side street, there are no signs at all...only  spooky paths into long-abandoned buildings that beckon you to enter, and perhaps, to stay.

After a few minutes of exploring, the area took on the feel of something out of "Silence of the Lambs". The shoes hanging from the tin shanties on the side screamed Buffalo Bill, moths and all. By then, the creeping chill that had started at our necks had spread and we spotted the warning.

It was time to leave---quickly--- and return to the peaceful normalcy of Blanco and its reallyreally big Live Oak, which holds the honor of being the co-owner of the title in Blanco County. Not just every tree can be almost larger than every other tree within several square miles! Blanco has REASON to brag.

After our disturbingly weird Friday, Saturday was a bright and welcome change. The morning broke with blazingly blue skies and temperate conditions, just perfect for drying off the bikes and riding! The Abrams bros. joined Bob and Bruce and headed to Austin for some java and BMW trinkets. Drew and Nancy took off for some serious miles and everyone else scattered to the compass.

Steve and I headed to Bandera for some pancakes as big as Steve's head and to marvel at the well-behaved dog who sat and stayed, quiet and proper, while her mistress ate breakfast inside. Had that dog owner gone to the bathroom, Poochie would be in Shreveport now, spirited away in an R1200GS BMW bike bag.

Sadly, the dognapping was not to be, so we took off sans dog, and hit the beautiful roads of southcentral Texas. The weekend in Blanco ended all too soon and Sunday morning, the travelers made their way back to hither and yon, pausing only for breakfast at the highly-rated but surprisingly average Bluebonnet Cafe in Marble Falls. All in all, another wonderful outing filled with great roads, great stories and great friends.

Next year, Fredericksburg?

Some things learned on this years' outing:

  • A weather report of 30% chance of rain means that 30% of all rain on the planet will fall on you.

  • Whether you drink one Diet Coke or 500 beers, you still owe the same ante to the snack fund.

  • The satellite dish at Blanco Settlement is powered by a small monkey riding a bicycle...and he gets to choose the channels.

  • Steve won the award for strangest purchase, a 19-somethingsomething Mobylette motor-bicle, found at an antique shop near Fredericksburg.

  • What happens in Luckenbach stays in Luckenbach.

  • Get out your wallet, because Ice is not free!

1,000 Miles and Counting Them All: IronButt Bound!

(I always get a kick out of RRBMWR members who talk about riding 1,000 miles in one day ‘for fun.’ That would be like going to the dentist ‘for fun’ or to the proctologist for….well, you get my drift. Thank heavens our little club is make up with all kinds of interesting people, even some whose definition of ‘fun’ seems a little odd.~Ed.)

By Dan Weber
Early on May 8th four members of the RRBMWR embarked on a one day/1000 mile trip completely within the borders of Louisiana. Dan put the trip together and Kim, Jim, and Don made up the rest of the foursome. The goal was to earn an IronButt Association SaddleSore 1000 award. AT 3:30am we started down I-49. As we got near the Mansfield exit we began seeing cloud to cloud lightning. This persisted until a couple miles from the Natchitoches exit when we ran into some rain. We pulled off for the shelter of a Texaco overhang and sought guidance from the all-knowing smartphone. Luck was with us, no more rain then or for the remainder of the day.

We gassed up in Opelousas and headed west on two- lane roads bound for the western-most exit on I-10. That leg went well until we faced a HOUSE coming the other way. We gassed up after letting the house pass and headed into blustery winds until well south of Baton Rouge on I-10. At the next gas stop Kim discovered that his rear tire had lost half its air. He found three different pieces of steel (one nail and one or two staples) in the tire but we convinced him that it was probably a very slow leak and if he added air to the tire he might be OK for the remainder of the trip. We did feel like Boy Scouts, we had two emergency air pumps along plus a questionable sticky rope plugger. Lucky for Kim, he didn't need any additional air for the remaining 500 miles of the trip. Lesson learned; it's easy to pull a nail out of your tire but having done so it's probably harder to put it back in.

We took I-10 through New Orleans and past Slidell. After a few miles on I-59 we 2-laned it to Bogalusa. From there we were on back roads to St. Francisville. The Florida parishes are quite scenic. This leg was really pleasant even though we were just a few minutes late for the Mississippi River ferry. Oh well, it came back and we soon were on the west side of the river. After more gas, this time in Morganza, we took LA15 along the river up to Ferriday and then on to Tallulah for yet more gas.

A note on all these gas stops. The IronButt organization verifies rides by comparing your claimed route and mileage against the location and date stamps on gas receipts. In our case of travelling completely within the state we have to "mark" the physical borders of our travel by gas tickets. In all, we each had 8 gas receipts. On leaving Tallulah it became dark and really busy on I-20. We stayed together until stopping in Arcadia, Don got his final gas receipt and we all congratulated each other on a task well done. The remaining three of us finished the trip in Shreveport. I got my last gas receipt at 10:30pm, 17 hours after starting out with the guys.

I have some ideas for future trips, wanna hear them?

Getting the Hang of Hanging On!

(Ed. Note: Several Red River BMW members have recently taken 'track day' courses to learn more about the fine art of riding fast. Along the way, there is also good instruction on cornering, a key component of injury-free riding.  Drew recently completed a track day of a slightly different sort, one that focused on advanced riding skills with a special emphasis on the keys to successful cornering. The information he learned can be of benefit to us all.)

By Drew Newcomer
Even though I have well over 100,000 “motorcycle” miles, I realize I am still a beginning rider in so many ways. When given the opportunity to experience a riding class or track day, I try to do so. So it was on April 17, when I attended Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic in Elgin, Texas.

Riding into Texas on Friday I was quite concerned as the predicted weather  was not optimal. A call to Moto Fun informed me the class was still on and would be conducted in a light rainfall and that the weather, to that point, had not been as bad as initially thought. So, riding on familiar Highway 79 to the southwest, I enjoyed a nice ride until a little rain when I was 15 miles outside of my destination of Elgin. Checking into the Holiday Inn Express (I felt smarter already!) I hoped the weather would cooperate having covered 418 miles to simply arrive.

Saturday morning was cloudy as predicted and eight riders on various bikes (six were BMWs) arrived to improve our riding --- specifically cornering ---technique(s). The Total Control clinic is conducted in the classroom and on a range. The morning started, naturally enough, in the classroom where the first topic of conversation was traction followed by throttle control. Now it was time to practice what we discussed. The first exercise dealt with rolling off the throttle followed by trail braking.

The idea was to roll off, then back on the throttle without noticeably affecting the suspension. Guess what – this is not as easy as one may suspect. I did pretty well on this exercise and my trail braking technique was not bad with both the front and front/rear brake combined.

Back in the classroom  the topics of fear, concentration, attitude, and vision were discussed. This was a very interesting session as in all of the riding clinics I have participated in I don’t recall fear being covered. Our motorcycles are generally more capable than we are in ability and the instructors informed us that “if you think you can - or can’t - you are right.” How many times have you entered a corner too hot, or found yourself in a decreasing radius and came close to “losing it” even though the motorcycle was quite capable of the speed or angle? It was you as a rider that had the problem. With this in mind it was time to return to the range.   A 40 foot circle awaited us. The idea was to ride your motorcycle in a circle while looking through the entire circle. Guess what again? This sounds much easier than putting it into practice, especially if one has developed “bad” cornering habits over the years.
This exercise pretty much humbled the class but as we begin to use the techniques demonstrated for us by Lonnie Milligan and Jude Schexnayder, our instructors, we all made improvements. After lunch we covered the topics of line selection, body position, and the “10 steps to Proper Cornering.” Most motorcyclists are familiar with line selection and understand the importance of choosing a path that will allow us to make our turn while leaving room for “unexpected” occurrences including pot holes, gravel, scurrying animals, etc. However, how many of us break cornering down into a series of steps to be done simultaneously? Before returning to the range, Lonnie and Jude took each rider and placed them on their bike.

With help from the other students we practiced cornering in a static position. (The rider was coached through the 10 steps while the instructors and students leaned the bike over with the rider on board – fortunately for us, we had no Goldwing riders!)

It was time to attempt the 10 steps on the range. Once again, another humbling experience as we “leaned” off our motorcycles. As we slowly got more comfortable with actually moving our center of gravity to the inside of our motorcycles, our technique, naturally, improved. Having “mastered” each direction it was time to transition from left to right, then right to left. This exercise certainly increased our appreciation for those folks that accomplish this at 160 mph, as we struggled to find the “zone” in second gear!

The final topic discussed was suspension. How many of us just jump on our motorcycles and simply ride away without paying any thought to the bike’s suspension? Lonnie and Jude informed us that proper suspension set-up is very vital for optimum performance for the bike itself, and us as riders. The simple steps for measuring sag were discussed and several of the group had their motorcycles “set-up.”

After an informative 10-hour day, the class concluded. I did benefit from this class and would recommend it to anyone interested in improving their cornering ability. I felt the tuition of $295 was reasonable and the class was conducted in a relaxed environment. Practice of the provided exercises was emphasized and encouraged.

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