I really like taking motorcycle courses. Whenever I do, I find that there is always more to learn. Earlier this month, I took the Advanced Road Rider training course – Level 1 Street Skills with motoDNA.
Ready to get on the track and start the day. This would be my first course with them. The Advanced Road Riding training course is broken up into 4 levels; Level 2 – Intermediate, Level 3 – Advanced and Level 4 – Masterclass.
I didn’t really know what to expect. I had taken a number of courses with other schools. How would this be any different? Well…I was soon to find out.
Level 1 is a full day course, starting promptly at 9am and finishing just before 5pm. Riders are expected to be at Sydney Motorsport Park at 7am to set up their bikes and be ready for scrutineering by the course officials.
After I adjusted my tire pressure, taped my mirrors (and Speedo) and removed the straps of my seat bag off my bike, I turned around and soaked up the atmosphere around me.
Riders working on their motorbikes before on-track session. An assortment of track ready bikes surrounded me. ZX-10Rs, GSXR750s, Ninja 300s, CBR1000s and many more were being lifted onto their stands and tyre warmers placed on. Riders were filling their bikes with fuel and tinkling away at ….god knows what on their bikes! I turned to my friend, who had pulled off his seat and had some sort of tool (for his bike??) in his hand and said, “what are you doing?” He looked at me sheepishly and replied, “I feel like I should be fixing/tightening something on my bike too.” I laughed. We were definitely among some serious riders today.
Woman Rider Only Training Day
Registration and scrutineering commenced. I was told I would be in the green group. There were four groups occupying the motoDNA course today – green, blue, red and juniors. The day consisted of an array of riders, all of various levels. I felt the level was appropriate for me. It appeared that the company I was in had a lot more track time than I did. Although, I was not a new rider, I was not exactly a racer. I couldn’t say I had logged in hours of track time on my bike. I was more than happy to start at the beginning. As the 9am start time approached, I expected my group to be ushered into a classroom session and briefed on what technique we would focus on in our first session. I was somewhat surprised when I realised we would be heading out on the track straight away (albeit, with an instructor). I took it easy the first lap, (as with everyone else it seemed). Orange cones had been strategically placed on each corner, clearly identifying the entry, turn and exit points. These cones helped me significantly throughout the whole day.
After the first on-track session, we filed into class to meet our instructors for the day, Mark McVeigh, Yanni Shaw and Mark Willis (former 500cc MotoGP racer). They asked us how we found the session, whether we noticed the orange cones and what we thought they were for. I realised that this would be the structure of the day (and what potentially, sets motoDNA apart). Most motorcycle courses that I have attended required a fair amount of classroom and theoretical instructions, quickly followed by on-track sessions allowing riders to practice the skills discussed. Level 1 would be taught in the reverse. Vision – check, body positioning – check.. We had 7 on-track sessions followed by 7 classroom sessions. Each off-track session was an opportunity for the riders to honestly evaluate their riding skills and obtain feedback and advice from the instructors. We covered a range of key techniques including, cornering, vision, target fixation, body positioning, counter-steering and lane filtering. The intent of the course is to break down each of these techniques in individual sessions, leading to the consolidation of all these skills in our road and track riding. Consequently, most riders experienced a significant improvement in their riding towards the end of the day.
I quickly found that I had a lot of knowledge in relation to these techniques, but I had either not practiced them enough or was adopting incorrect techniques in my riding. This was my opportunity to really challenge my riding and push my skill set further.
For instance, I realised I was too rigid in my riding position and I was encouraged to lean and “get off the bike” more! I also discovered that I was not using my front brake correctly. With this newfound awareness, I was determined to make each on-track session count. I made a concerted effort to lean my body (and the bike) just that little bit further, twisted that bit more on the throttle and braked much later (but gently) before setting myself up for that corner. The result? More smoothness around the corners and more confidence in my riding ability. Above all, I was having a blast!
Women Riders Gain Confidence
Feeling more confident and relaxed – getting there :-) I had the best time with motoDNA! As the day was coming to a close, I emerged more alive and energetic. I wanted to keep riding and practising what I had learned. I felt more relaxed taking this course than I have with any other courses that I have taken. I think it’s because I began to understand my riding style better and what needed improvement. The corners no longer scared me, leaning myself (and the bike) no longer scared me. I trusted the instructors, I trusted the process and I trusted myself more.
The style of coaching/instructing motoDNA adopts is very encouraging and empowering. Their objective is to shift the responsibility of your riding onto you. You are prompted to conduct your own self-assessment, identify areas you need to improve and challenge what is holding you back from reaching your goals/potential. Of course, a lot of help and guidance is on offer. The instructors showed us videos (from their Garmin Virb helmet camera’s) of each rider and gave individual tips and advice. Not to mention, they are extremely down to earth and passionate about what they do. Which makes for a relaxed and comfortable environment to learn in.
At the end of the day, I reconnected with my friends that I had arrived with to discuss their experience of they day. They had opted to undertake the CoachLite course, which involved on-track sessions, without the classroom briefings. Both were buzzing from their experience. “We got to ride with Kevin Magee!” (another former MotoGP racer) My friends exclaimed. Again, I laughed, for that was indeed very cool. All in all, I was very impressed with the course and I had a fabulous time. I can’t wait to do level 2 now!
MY motoDNA – Woman Rider was kindly posted from Yin’s original article at www.motorbikesforher.com/more-motorcycle-training-the-motodna-experience
Check out the motoDNA calendar for our next Womens only event!