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What a great 1st track experience! The CLASS is very low pressure and would be a great 1st track day for anyone wanting to gain more confidence in his or her riding. I saw folks of all ages riding a variety of bikes including Ducati, BMW, even a Harley and a Gold Wing (instructor’s bike). Reg Pridmore emphasized that this was not a race school although fast folks were welcome.


That’s what attracted me first and then the fact that it was at Barber Motorsports Park, a beautiful track even by a woman’s standard (yes, the bathrooms were very clean!). I had been there to watch races several times before so, I knew I was in for a treat. The track surface is like velvet, the setting is simply spectacular and the facility is fabulous! It was cloudy, in the high 70’s and a bit humid. I rode my ’04 Yamaha FZ6 with new Metzeler Sportec M-1’s. Thanks to Frank and Pete at Atlanta Motorsports for a great tire recommendation (despite my skepticism) and a timely 4K service! The bike was a pure blast to ride!!!!


In the morning I found myself using the majority of my energy on following the rules: maintaining specific lines to allow others to pass, getting to know the track, gaining awareness of flags and their meanings, and being comfortable with instructors hand signals. We got to pick our group at the beginning of the day but were advised that instructors reserve the right to make changes. Several folks crashed in my slower “B” group (nothing major) and at least one that I know of in the faster “A” group. There were plenty of personnel available (including medical) so we were back on the track in a hurry.


The schedule was 20 minutes of instruction then 20 minutes on the track with A and B groups alternating. No cafeteria at Barber but water, Gatorade, coffee, sodas and mini-muffins were provided all day. Boxed lunches could be pre-ordered if you didn’t brown bag.


My guess on the student-instructor ratio was 15:1. One instructor approached me after the first session regarding my lines. Later I was followed for a short time and got the ‘thumbs up’. Their primary focus seemed to be policing the track so, if you wanted specific help you had to request an instructor. I felt my biggest improvement was made after my body position was critiqued on a static lean bike (an optional break out session). Braking techniques were also critiqued in a short section of pit row. The only written material provided was an overview sheet in the packet given to us at the beginning of the day.


I logged 80 miles for the day but plenty of folks rode more and needed to refuel by lunch. I did miss one session to request a pillion ride with Reg Pridmore. Apparently, he doesn’t offer them because they are so fatiguing and he’s not a ‘spring chicken’. The signature line ahead of mine on the release was almost 3 months old. After making the requested $40 donation to “Ride for Kids” I was promised the smoothest ride of my life! He took a few warm-up laps and then we were off. He’s not a small guy and I am a small person so, I was a bit worried about hanging on to him but I just squeezed my elbows in around him and put my hands on the tank (as described in his book “Smooth Riding”). I gave him the big thumbs up after lap one and he kept going…yeah baby! Smooth- not even close to a helmet clunk, so fast (the g-forces made it quite challenging to peek at the speedometer), seamless shifting and braking-I just listened to the rpm’s and watch his lines as we passed everyone. The lean angle was phenomenal although I don’t think we even got close to scraping. Afterwards, he told me that he took it easy because he really needed new tires. Later, I made a point to look at his tires I was glad I didn’t look before the ride! They were slicks with a belt line showing and lots of pits looking almost like hole punches but I never felt anything but secure during the ride.


Would I do it again? Maybe, just to go back to Barber and definitely yes, if a friend wanted some support! I had the luxury of David Baker’s presence the entire weekend (an amazingly unselfish man) which kept me calm. He not only handled my bike transportation but gave me very useful track advice, as he’s highly experienced with this sort of thing. Madavis also provided great long-distance support as he maintained the household for a couple of days (sort of grin.gif). The whole experience totally ROCKED!

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Christine, great write-up! thumbsup.gif


This sounds like the class that I need to target as my first "track experience", hopefully next year!


What, no pictures? grin.gif



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Well, I'm not sure helping you by spending a day at the track could be considered unselfish, but thanks. tongue.gif


I first met Mark and Christine at El Paseo and since then I've ridden with Mark and/or Christine at all the El Paseo events, UnRally II, both RidingSmart weekends, and a bunch of informal gatherings in the Smoky Mountains and here in Nashville. Mark's become a very good rider, but since this is about Christine, I'll just talk about her riding.


What stands out to me is her appetite for learning and strong desire to master it. It started with private lessons from a professional teacher in Atlanta and has followed a dozen other steps leading to the CLASS day. It was interrupted by a getoff after hitting an oil slick in the shadows early this year, and that made the continued effort even more daunting because now it was mixed with fear.


Christine's enthusiasm and dedication are really contagious and I've often smiled watching her master different levels, one by one. We were in different groups and only connected between sessions, but it was obvious that she was having a blast. After the ride with Reg, especially, I thought she was going to bust a blood vessel or something. Later on the phone I told Mark that he was going to have to talk her down from the ledge when she got home! smile.gif


Good work! thumbsup.gif

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Enough about Christine...let's talk about me grin.gif


Yep, she's still grinning ear to ear. I'm not sure I will want her to ride on the back of mine not that she has a "new" definition of smooth.


The first thing I did when she got home was go out and check the tire wear. She got it over all the way on the right side and most of the way on the left. She even had a little pilling up on the edge, so I know she was accelerating through the turns. There was also one strange flat spot in the middle of the rear tire...care to discuss that one, hooner? grin.gif


I'm also excited to see her confidence coming back. Some of the post crash rides even tested my patience..and I am a very patient person blush.gif.


Unfortunately, she's now ready for Keith Code, so we will be competing for funds next year...good thing I wear the pants grin.gif


Great job, hun!

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Yep, she's still grinning ear to ear. I'm not sure I will want her to ride on the back of mine not that she has a "new" definition of smooth.


No kidding. When we got to Birmingham we did a two-up jaunt on her FZ-6 (my bike already had the mirrors and rear seat off). So her comment about not bumping helmets with Reg can only be viewed as a serious dig, since we bumped helmets several times. I'm sure it was the bike, though. tongue.gif


There was also one strange flat spot in the middle of the rear tire...care to discuss that one, hooner? grin.gif


Now to get back at her, let's just say it was a "braking exercise gone awry." grin.gif


good thing I wear the pants...


Only if pink little tights qualify as pants. tongue.gif

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Flat spot on tire? UH, well, mmmmh, I did think that that would show! I admit that I had to go through the braking line several times blush.gif. That **** rear brake wasn't ABS'ing like it used to. Reg told me not to worry about it but remember that whoever layed the biggest line bought the beer that night. Darn if I didn't do it a second time but not as long. I will need extra grocery money this month grin.gif

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Thanks for the great post. After reading your post today, I signed up for Reg's CLASS @ Streets of Willow for Nov. 4 & 5. I'm really looking forward to it.

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Cool! thumbsup.gif


I am jealous! I have wanted to get to a track day for a while now, but it hasn't worked into the schedule. The Pridmore class at Willow is during the week, and unfortunately, I have to work. Keith Code's classes have either been full, or during the week as well.


Maybe next year!


Good to hear that your first experience was so enjoyable. I find the whole thing a bit daunting, but I want to learn how to ride smoother/better in a controlled environment. Glad you had such a positive experience.

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I'd love to see pictures! I'm trying to pick a spot to do an "away" track day next year, and Barber is on the short list.

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Really great write up. I love reading the track day post - especially the first time ones. I admire you for your will to keep learning, especially after the getoff. But I must say that I am jealous - I have dreams about Track Days - actually since they're dreams there more like Track Weeks or Track Months. You know, going and staying, practicing and learning for days on end.


Back to reality - Mark - I too wear the pants. But I am honest enough to admit that Sun-joo tells me when to put them on and take them off! (We both know who the Real boss is thumbsup.gif)


Thanks again for the great write up. Now, any pictures???

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Yahoo Christine! My daughter and I did 2 days with Pridmore when he was in Seattle last month. I'm still working on some of the things he talked about especially being smooth. I work on this everytime I ride now and when it works it's almost like having an automatic transmission.

On one of the days Reg took a young rider from the racer group and put him on the back for a couple of laps. When Reg let the guy off you could see this racer smiling and laughing 50 feet away. As he walked by he said "boy have I got alot to learn"

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