Motorcycle riding skill development is an imperative investment for any rider, and so we go to track days hoping to gain good experience-but instead often end up with unqualified riders giving us inadequate advice. Figuring out what we are doing right or wrong, and discovering which techniques actually work, can be a real challenge.
The obvious answer is to find a trustworthy, professional source of guidance to help move our riding skills in a positive direction.
Jason Pridmore, a second-generation AMA race champion, opened his STAR school in 1998 to instruct street riders looking to gain confidence, track-day fanatics wanting to go get better, and professional racers looking to develop their racing careers.
One year of riding experience, proper riding gear and a safety-inspected motorcycle are all required. If you are missing any items, STAR can set-up you up with a shiny new 2009 Suzuki SV650 or GSX-R600 and Joe Rocket Leathers.
Both one and two day schools are offered. On the first day, each student selects one of two groups. The first is for street riders and newcomers to the track who are interested in learning new techniques and applying them at their own pace.
The second group is for advanced riders with ample track experience, who want to explore their personal limits while learning the tricks of the trade from the experts. Both groups operate all day, both days, with back-to-back sessions that rotate between classroom and track riding.
The busy schedule keeps even the most eager students satisfied. After each classroom session, you go straight back on the motorcycle, putting into practice the lessons that had just been discussed; I found that the opportunity to immediately apply the instruction, led to substantial improvement of my skills over the class duration.
Jason covers a broad range of topics, including: selecting proper lines, steering, shifting, braking, body position, reference points, rpm management, overcoming panic and breathing (which might have been the most difficult of all to learn).
The first ride starts with a single-file instructor-led session to plot the proper lines. This gives riders an opportunity to get familiar with the track and to get up to speed before the pace gets progressively faster.
Session by session, riders have the opportunity to focus on specific skills, one at a time, with ongoing feedback from the instructors as an integral part of the experience.
Jason personally leads a number of the classroom sessions, and is assisted by other instructors with expertise in a variety of subjects. Whether you have a question about riding technique or motorcycle setup, someone on the staff will most likely be able to help out.
Truly adventurous souls can take advantage of an optional track ride on the back of Jason’s bike. Apparently, there are a number of things you can learn from the backseat. How does Jason enter a corner? How does he brake and accelerate? Where does he position himself on the bike? What is he doing differently from you on the controls? All of these questions get answered as you hold on for a few laps with the champ.
Jason’s unpretentious approach and friendly way of communicating sets an enjoyable environment for effective learning. I witnessed both the street and track students lapping with such increased confidence they were approaching their personal best riding by session end. Learning the secrets of advanced riding techniques from Jason and crew is just an incredible experience.
7:00AM – 7:30AM – Arrive
7:30AM – 8:30AM – Registration and Technical Inspection
8:30AM – 9:00AM – Classroom Introductions
9:00AM – 9:40AM – Warm up Laps
9:40AM – 1:00PM – Group Riding Alternating Classroom Sessions
1:00PM – 2:00PM – Lunch Break
2:00PM – 2:30PM – Instructor Demonstration Laps
2:30PM – 4:30PM – Group Riding and Classroom Sessions