Saturday, November 14, 2009

Streetmasters Motorcycle Workshop - Part 2


Streetmasters Motorcycle Workshop is owned and run by Walt Fulton (pictured above) and Nancy Foote. Walt is a former motorcycle racer, winning three times at Daytona, and Nancy, an experienced rider in her own right, is known as the Queen of the Backroads. I had the wonderful opportunity to take their workshop today. We started our day at the Hampton Inn conference room in Lancaster, CA. Early on, Walt emphasized the need for head turns and to "look where you want to go". He stated, "If your neck isn't sore by the end of today, I'm going to be disappointed!" The course also teaches a delayed apex in a corner for street riding. The delayed apex gives you a better look into the turn before committing to it. It also helps you stay clear of the center line (and potential center lane crossers) and sets you up for the next corner. It should be noted that this is very different than how you would approach a corner on the race track. The idea of the "tipping point" was also discussed. One comment I found to be very helpful is that your tipping point (the moment you "tip" or "lean" into your turn) should happen once you can see through the turn, allowing you to make a more informed decision about how to approach it.
After our short instruction in the classroom, we all rode over to the Willow Springs Raceway in nearby Rosamond. The course primarily takes place on the Horse Thief Mile track, which is set up like canyon road, but without any pesky oncoming traffic. You may recognize this course from numerous car commercials. We worked on our newly learned techniques and received constant feedback on our progress. I was lucky to have Walt as my track instructor. Actually, the entire staff is great all around. The other instructors are also extremely experienced and "the moms", Peggy and Liz, were there to make sure we ate a good lunch, drank enough water, and to answer any logistical questions. In addition to the "track time" we also worked on "precision exercises" on the practice pad, such as U-turns from a stop and emergency braking. Our graduation exercises consisted of a figure eight and offset weave course and another chance at the Horse Thief Mile, but this time in the reverse direction. I appreciated this final exercise as it allowed me to get a sense for the real progress I had achieved that day. The progress came in steps throughout the day, with a deeper understanding of the concepts as I went along.
In this course, I learned a lot and improved my skills, but I also met some great people - instructors and course participants alike. I had the opportunity to get to know some fellow BMW riders from the BMW Owners Club of San Diego and riders that follow pashnit.com. Oh yeah, and my neck was sore at the end of the day, just like Walt had promised.

I am anxious to practice my newly-learned techniques. I can only hope that the Chicago weather affords me the opportunity....

Note: Special thanks to fellow-student, Kevin Wilson, for use of his photos for this blog.

7 comments:

Kelly said...

VaVavroom!
Great pics and what a great trip!

Eddie F said...

It was great meeting you and sharing the road with you and Walt as we made ouy way home!

Eddie F (BMWOCSD)

Denise said...

You too Eddie!

Kevin W. said...

Hi Denise,
It was great meeting you. I an glad to see you using the pictures I took, and the recognition blurb at the bottom. Cool. We did have great instructors. And, my neck hurt too, at the end of the day. I saw Walt today at JBJs in Santa Ana. He mentioned that you had posted a write up on your blog. If anyone wants to see more pictures taken of our training, they can get to them at http://www.flickr.com/photos/95wingrider/sets/72157622812856062/
Keep up the good work and ride safe.

Denise said...

Thank you Kevin. It was great meeting you. Thanks again for use of the pics!

Sojourner rides said...

Sounds like an excellent, fun and learning filled workshop! Noted!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Denise for sharing your wonderful experience while in Lancaster/Rosamond, CA. Also thanks for some of the overview tips you learned during you workshop! GREAT STUFF!

Zen Pro Racing Girls Team