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Thefts from Performance Cycle of Colorado–help us catch


Hey guys we need your help! Unfortunately on Wednesday, 4/18/12, at Performance Cycle an Icon Accelerant Black XL jacket, an Icon Motorhead Black XL jacket, an Shoei RF-1100 TC-5 Large Helmet and an Icon Shakki White XL Helmet were stolen. We are a family owned business and it’s a shame that people like this are a part of our sport. If you recognize the men in the pictures below, please help us find them. A reward will be given for information that leads to finding them and getting the products back. Any information can be anonymously given to Lance at 720-289-4984. Thank you!

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Advanced Training Report: Yamaha Champions Riding School

This article courtesy of the Naval Safety Center Smart Ride 2011 Magazine. Please also check out their website, the Naval Safety Center.

BY UT1 (SCW) CLINTON WALDORF,
SmartRide Fleet Editor

In March I attended the two-day Yamaha Champions Riding School (YCRS) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This course is led by Nick Ienatch, who formerly instructed at Freddie Spencer’s riding school and assisted the Navy, Marine Corps and Motorcycle Safety Foundation in creating the Military Sportbike Rider Course. Nick is a highly renowned sport riding expert and is the author of Sport Riding Techniques. I knew this was going to be some good training.

My purpose for attending was to improve my skills and become a better, safer, and faster rider. Whether you’re an avid rider, occasional track day guy, or just a weekend warrior, I believe every rider will get something valuable from this type of training. More than that, I think everyone should attend a course like this. If you were a golfer and wanted to improve your swing, wouldn’t you seek out a local professional for help? This is exactly what I did for my motorcycle riding skills and I am glad I did. Money well spent.

YCRS is kept to small numbers of 10 to 12 students. This keeps instructor-to-student ratios very low, allowing for plenty of one-on-one time and feedback from instructors. There was a mixed level of experience, including a first time track rider, repeat students, amateur racers, the owner of Silver Star Clothing Company, and even ESPN X-games BMX Gold Medalist Chad Kagy.

At the course, students ride the latest Yamaha R6 and R6Rs and groups are separated based on experience level. Since I had a handful of track days under my belt, I fell into the medium-to-faster paced group. I was comfortable with this pace and on occasion, I had to push to keep up with the faster riders of the group and the instructor’s pace.

DAY 1

We started in the classroom with introductions and then got right to business. We covered braking, reading the circuit and types of corners, levels of risk, non-negotiables (more on that in a sec) and more braking. By the way, if you don’t get a bite to eat at the hotel, YCRS will have a spread laid out for you, with food and drinks and a hot lunch. If you don’t have your own leathers and gear you can rent the latest Alpinestars gear from the school. This is especially helpful if you are flying into Las Vegas and want to save some space and weight in the luggage.

After the classroom brief, students and Nick packed into the passenger van for a few laps on the Las Vegas Infield Circuit. Nick spent plenty time explaining each corner in detail: early apex, late apex, entry, exit and getting the motorcycle pointed for what is next.

“Non-negotiables” were discussed as well. What are they, you ask? These are the basics that form your riding foundation: items that do not change and things you must or must not do. One example is being smooth on the controls. You cannot be jerky in your use of controls; this is non-negotiable. With each lap in the van, the driver increased the speed of the over-loaded passenger van and demonstrated the braking and line that is required. It’s important to know the circuit.

We exited the van at one of the last corners of the circuit, while one of Nick’s instructors rode a few easy laps on his Yamaha to warm his tires. Nick took the opportunity to give us a lesson on braking. Were you taught never to use the brakes while cornering? I was, and this was all about to change. He also taught us about trail braking. YCRS motorcycles’ brake lights are kept functional to show you how far it is possible to brake in corners (trail braking). Students were standing just off the track while instructors were cornering a few feet in front of us—giving the lesson of a lifetime in trail braking. Many drills were conducted based on trail braking and other braking techniques and we learned a ton about improving one of the motorcycle’s most critical—if not the most critical—controls.

I will not tell all the secrets of Nick’s school, because it really has to be experienced. However, I will say this: “Braking, braking and more braking.”

Brakes are a multi-positional control, and not just an on or off switch. When used correctly, you are not only able to adjust your speed, but you also have the ability to change the motorcycle’s geometry and create a better-steering bike. For example, does your front end dip when you apply front brakes? This changes the geometry of your motorcycle to a more easily turning machine. When coming to a stop, does your front end dip dramatically and then rebound back? If so, you aren’t controlling your brakes well. You should have some front end dipping of course, but it should return smoothly. This is practiced each time you bring your motorcycle to a stop.

We put all this and more to the test with day-one drills. A fantastic drill that we worked on was called the “pointy end of the cone.” In several corners of the circuit, instructors placed a traffic cone on its side. We had to adjust our motorcycle in mid-corner, including steering, braking, and lean angle, to negotiate to the pointy side of the cone and then exit the corner to the next challenge. The key to this drill is looking well ahead in the corner. What makes this drill so effective is that the instructors were standing off-track observing our skills, and moving the cone each lap. We never got the same scenario twice, which forced us to constantly adjust to each corner.

To brake and clutch with four fingers or two? That is the question. Many of us are taught to brake and clutch with four, but all you really need is two. You have far better control and feeling when using two fingers on the brakes, with the other two still in control of the throttle. When clutching, you really only need a small amount of lever pull to unload the engine to up-shift. On the down-shift the two fingers provide added control on the left bar and again more precise control than four fingers. This is something that definitely takes some getting used to and a lot of practice.

Body positioning, and hanging off the bike is also covered. This is where the mantra “Look GP to Ride GP” comes in. Hanging off the bike decreases the motorcycle’s lean angle in a corner. This is necessary to increase your lap times on a track and proven by the pros to work. However, motorcycle lean angle also decreases grip and increases your risk. You want to decrease your risk, yet remain fast. Many riders may get their lower body off the bike or their knee down, and increased lean angle and may not even be necessary. This is increasing the risk! Learning and practicing correct body position will definitely decrease your risk and increase your fun.

Ever two-up ride with an instructor? This is an amazing learning tool. During most of the day, I struggled with heavy braking, as do many riders, learning how hard I can actually brake. Riding with instructor Ken Hill for a lap as a passenger made me realize the bike can brake much harder than I had ever realized. It felt like I was on the edge of going over the front, yet in full control of the motorcycle.

“What’s next?” is another constant mantra. Successful riders need to be looking and thinking in this manner constantly – in each corner entry, apex and exit. Everything you do on the bike requires thinking several steps ahead. What next? Where do I need to put the bike for the entry, then to the apex and then pointed out of the corner to the next corner. This is repeated to you constantly and asked of you routinely from Nick and staff. “What’s next Clinton?”


DAY 2

We moved from the infield course to the Las Vegas Classic Course that is outside the oval. Again we spent a few laps in the van with Nick to learn the new course. Using what Nick taught us in day one, this was easily accomplished. Then we were on the bikes to take a few sighting laps and warm our tires.

We spent the first day concentrating on the use of our front brakes. Day two we practiced a drill of using only the rear brakes for a few laps and it can be done—not as fast but it can be done—again concentrating on controlling the brakes.

Ever take your left hand off the steering wheel while cornering? Not on the streets I hope. I have only seen this done by the pros and now the instructors showed us how it’s done and told us we were going to do it ourselves. My first thought was “no way.” However, it wasn’t done to look cool, but to teach us control. Once the motorcycle is pointed and turned in the corner, and as long as you maintain a consistent throttle, you can do this. At first I barely let go of the left grip. After a few laps practicing this skill, I was pointing to the apex cones like the instructors and smiling from ear to ear in my helmet.

Next we got to follow the instructors around the course, but they were not taking the racing lines. They would ride erratically, braking and turning in early, running wide in corners, and many other scenarios to see if we would follow them or keep the correct lines. This was a highly effective drill for concentrating on the correct lines. It’s excellent for street riders, teaching them not to get sucked into mistakes that other riders make in front of them.

After that, we got off the bike for a lesson in one of the corners. We watched Ken Hill demonstrate incorrect braking and cornering and were asked to identify the problem. Late braking, early braking, running wide, abrupt throttle control—many different scenarios were demonstrated. Now, what to do to correct them? As a group we discussed what we learned and how to apply the skills to correct these problems. These up close and personal demonstrations made the learning far more effective.

My favorite drill of Day two was a braking competition. Students lined their motorcycles at the top of a small hill. While in neutral, we coasted the bike until we reached a braking marker and there we applied the brakes. Whoever can keep the brake light on and coast the furthest wins! This teaches you the fine art of braking, how little you can apply your brakes and what a useful tool your brakes can be.

Right now, you may be thinking to yourself, “I am not a track day rider and this training pertains to the track.” I disagree. Where are the majority of crashes on the street? In corners right? What if you could train yourself to adjust mid-corner effectively and safely? This is a huge benefit to any motorcycle rider. To accurately control braking and use this as tool to adjust speed and bike geometry, makes the motorcycle turn more effectively and gives any rider an advantage on the track or the street. If you think the latest exhaust or a new ECU is going to make you a faster or better rider, try spending the money on the best training instead. For the cost of the latest upgrades that will only last a few a years, you can invest in training and knowledge from the Yamaha School or other reputable course. For any rider, this knowledge is an investment in skills for a lifetime of riding safely and improvement.

Semper Ride

Semper Ride is a partnership of the United States Marine Corps, Strategic Action Solutions and One Eyed Bird Entertainment. The project was created in response to the increasing number of motorcycle fatalities and accidents by Marines. Drawing from experiences from their popular motorcycle-based television show, The Great Ride Open, producer/director Dirk Collins, along with producers Jim Conway and Jeff Tilton, created Semper Ride as a state of the art, high definition, big screen action that promotes a responsible riding theme. The ongoing campaign combines the film with events, a website, public service announcements and local and regional programs. Since first premiering in 2009 at MCAS Miramar, Semper Ride has been seen by thousands of Marines is proud of its role in decreasing Marine motorcycle fatalities by 44%.

This site is an excellent resource that shows Marine PPE and training requirements. It’s well thought out, and I wish every military branch had a site like this.

Here’s a Youtube link to the full Semper Ride movie, all in low-def glory. If I find it in hi-def, I’ll let you know.

Crash Testing – Dress for the Crash

This article courtesy of the Naval Safety Center Smart Ride 2011 Magazine. Please also check out their website, the Naval Safety Center.

By MSgt William Potts

We’ve all had to sit through Safety Stand Downs and many of us have been the subject of ridicule because we choose to ride motorcycles. And we’ve all heard the clichés: Dress for the crash not for the ride. There are only two kinds of motorcyclists: those that have crashed and those who are going to crash. Well there’s a certain amount of truth to the clichés and those of us that choose to ride have a responsibility to do our part to break the mold and not become statistics.

Tuesday January 5, 2010 began just like any other workday for me. I woke up and went about my morning routine to meet my number one priority, which was to be on the I-5 heading south to MCAS Miramar from MCB Camp Pendleton prior to 0545. The reason for this is simple; if you miss the “window” for being on the I-5, traffic builds exponentially and your commute time is significantly increased. However, this was to be no ordinary Tuesday morning. I was about to become the first Marine Corps motorcycle safety statistic of 2010.

My jaunt down the I-5 to the 805 East was uneventful with light to moderate traffic. I exited onto Miramar Road and the traffic was unusually light. It wasn’t until I was less than a mile from MCAS Miramar’s East gate that things got interesting.

I was the third vehicle in line in the center lane stopped at the intersection of Miramar Road and Camino Sante Fe Road waiting for the light to turn green. Once the light changed, traffic proceeded through the intersection and I decided to shift from the center lane to the left hand lane. I checked my mirrors, turned on my turn signals, and performed a head check to ensure there wasn’t a vehicle in my blind spot. The coast was clear so I proceeded to make my lane change. Shortly after I changed lanes I felt a slight pressure on the back of my left arm as if someone were grabbing me. I started to turn my head to the left when all of the sudden my handle bars jerked violently to the full locked right position. A split second later, I was flying through the air trying to figure out what went wrong.

The next thing I knew I was sliding down the road on my back, watching sparks flicker off my “baby,” (that’s what I call my bike), trying to figure out how to get out of the way of the vehicle that was bearing down on me, and thinking that when I got run over it was really going to hurt!

I got lucky. The vehicle bearing down on me, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, evaded me by driving over the left side quarter panel of the car in the center lane to his immediate right.

Once I stopped sliding, I jumped up and got off the road to assess myself. Shocked onlookers tried to get me to sit down, but my only concern was getting my baby off the road out of further harm’s way. Thankfully, the Marine that I collided with helped me get my bike to the side of the road where we waited for the police.

So what went wrong? In short, two vehicles tried to occupy the same piece of pavement at the same time, which didn’t work out so well and we collided. The driver of the Jeep’s story was similar to mine except that he was far enough behind the group of traffic I was in that he never had to stop for the red light. He saw the same open lane I did and proceeded into it just like I did. From my perspective, I think he simply didn’t see me. That is often the case in crashes that are the fault of the four-wheel operator. Of course, there is the other possibility that I failed to see him and that I rode into him causing the crash. The accident investigation ruled us both equally liable. Admittedly, I was riding with my guard down because of the light traffic and my complacency was most likely a contributing factor in this crash.

After the police released us from the scene of the accident, I rode my battered motorcycle into work, garnering strange looks from the gate guard as I entered the base. Then I informed my chain of command and went to medical to get checked out. Once I returned to work with a relatively clean bill of health, the phone calls and emails started. You see, I wasn’t supposed to have a motorcycle crash. At the time I was 39 years old with 30 years of riding under my belt. I’ve attended the MSF’s Basic Rider Course (BRC), the Experienced Rider Course (ERC), the Military Sportbike Rider Course (MSRC), The Dirt Bike Rider Course as well as the ATV Safety Course. Oh yeah, I’m a certified MSF Rider coach for the BRC, ERC and the MSRC courses. It was incomprehensible to others that someone as “qualified” as I was to ride a motorcycle could be involved in any type of motorcycle altercation. The reality of my mishap is that training and experience will not prevent all crashes but it can stack the odds in your favor.

All in all my injuries were relatively minor compared to what could have happened; I most likely would have died if I had been run over! I was fortunate. I received a small abrasion on my left forearm caused by friction between my long sleeved shirt and the liner of my leather jacket. I had a bruised left heel caused by the right rear wheel of the Jeep driving up onto my left floor board which pressed my heel into my shifter and left engine case. Lastly, I had a massive bruise on my left hip/ thigh, measuring roughly 9 inches by 5 inches, sustained when I impacted the road. My baby, a 2005 Harley Fatboy, needed all of its sheet metal minus the tank replaced, plus other odds and ins totaling a little over $5,000. My new helmet, which only had 90 miles worth of ride time, was destroyed. My leather jacket, leather boots, leather gloves and chaps took the brunt of the fall and sustained only minor abrasions. Thank goodness for great gear!

THE BOTTOM LINE is that there is a steep learning curve involved with motorcycle riding and those of us who choose to ride must take responsibility for ourselves. We can do this by getting educated through rider’s courses and taking refresher courses from time to time; you might learn something new or break a bad habit that you have developed. Ride a motorcycle the fits you as well as your skill level. Don’t let others persuade you to ride beyond your comfort zone. If you feel the desire to push the limits, take it to the track. There you’ll be able to legally push the boundaries in a closed course environment with medical personnel on sight should they be needed. Always wear your PPE: (1) DOT/ SNELL rated helmet, (2) eye encapsulating shatter resistant glasses or face shield, (3) riding jacket, (4) full-fingered riding gloves and (5) over-the-ankle riding boots. Perform a pre ride check of yourself, making sure you’re mentally prepared to ride, of your PPE, ensuring that it is serviceable, and of your motorcycle, (remember T-CLOCS). Don’t ride distracted. Never ride complacent as I did. And never ride impaired by alcohol or other mind altering drugs.

My intentions here were not to get philosophical; they were to try to convey the lessons relearned from my accident and 30+ years of experience. There are inherent risks involved in riding a motorcycle and we’re all vulnerable, although we can mitigate the risks through education and training. Wear your PPE, but don’t just wear it because you have to. Wear it because it has a purpose; it helps to lessen the severity of injuries and it has the ability to save your life. No it won’t prevent all injuries or death but it will drastically reduce the severity of most injuries. Helmets in particular are the most important piece of PPE we can wear. Treat it as if your life depends upon it because it does!

Master Sergeant Potts is currently serving as the Avionics Chief at HMLA 469, MAG 3, MCAS Camp Pendleton.