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Discussion Starter #1
I WILL BE GRINNING LIKE A MADMAN FOR THE NEXT SIX MONTHS!

Today I had one of the most amazing, intense, fun, exciting experiences of my life – my CLASS session at Portland International Raceway with Reg Pridmore and his staff.

What a blast!

The weather was perfect – not a cloud in the sky and it warmed up to about 85 degrees or so late in the afternoon. About 50 students total, which split into two groups really never created any real traffic problems on the track. Bikes and riders of every shape and size – quite a few Beemers and Ducatis, several VFR’s and RC’s, a few Fireblades (mine was the only ’03), and even a couple of cruisers!

The track is great. Two miles, 12 turns of every shape and size, with a nasty chicane. The speed really climbs in two spots – a nice “drag strip” straightaway of about ½ mile just before the chicane, and later a long, sweeping turn (#8) that is almost a straightaway along a wall in front of a big row of trees. I maxed out at 134 on the drag strip, and 123 on turn 8. Could have been faster, but for my first time I thought it was pretty good. Especially since I passed dozens of bikes along the way, and only two passed me (other than instructors) in the morning session. In the afternoon session, nobody passed bwhip (why must I be so competitive?)

Reg and the instructors were very helpful. First they split everyone into two groups – “A” and “B” (B for the first-timers like me, and slower riders). Then one group would be on the track for 20 minutes while the other was in the “classroom”, and then we’d switch. It went on like that all day, which I found to be a perfect mix of intense track time with more relaxed classroom time. There were always five or six instructors out on the track on bikes, and periodically they would motion for individuals to follow them around for a while and copy their line, technique, etc. Once in a while they would pull you off the track to give you specific instruction which was great. “Ted” pulled me aside at one point to tell me that I needed to get more weight on my feet, and use weight transfer through my feet to help in the turns (turning right, put more weight on the right foot, etc.). I did it and it worked great!

The Diablo Corsas are absolutely incredible. I have never pushed a bike so hard around the corners, or leaned so far (if my knees weren’t touching, they were darn close), and the Corsas just begged for more. They’ve now got those nice little rubber blobs and scraping that come from being so hot around the corners.

And I can’t say enough about how incredible the 954 is. The bike simply did whatever I needed it to do whenever I needed it. Power to pass – oh yeah. A little hot into the corners? Aggressive downshifting and being a little too assertive with the front brake, even while leaning pretty hard? No problem for the Blade. I am amazed at how forgiving this bike is.

Do I seem excited? Like I said, I’ll be grinning for months about this day. There was a professional photographer there and his photos should be available over the internet in a couple of days. I can’t wait to see them – I hope he got some good ones of me. I’ll post them when they’re available.

Anyway, if you couldn’t tell, I HIGHLY recommend this experience to anyone who loves motorcycling. There is simply no way to duplicate this level of excitement and enjoyment on the street. I can’t wait for my next track day!

Thanks so much to all for your guidance going in, and especially to Trouble, for all of his help and loaner gear!
 

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Thanks for sharing bwhip - uhhh, I'm pretty sure you had
fun . I hope to have the same experience one day soon.
 

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B,
you have PM...great write up!

J
 

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Yeah, CLASS is a blast. I did it last year with a few other .orgers and had a ball, even though I wrecked and flipped my bike.
Chris

ps - Red Rider gets a Christmas card from Reg every year for making it to so many CLASSes.
 

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Congrats bwhip! Glad you had a great time. After finally getting a knee down, that's all I need to recall for a good grinning memory (the sound and feel of the puck sliding on the pavement! ). Be careful of that competiveness(sp) !!!
 

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I call that track day 'perma-grin'......it lasts for quite awhile....
 

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Congrats bwhip, sounds like you had a great time. It is an addiction, the jones will start soon.
 

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NinerPilot : ps - Red Rider gets a Christmas card from Reg every year for making it to so many CLASSes.
True dat! I have a vested interest now in that bigass transporter of his!

bwhip...glad to hear you had a great time. Welcome to the CLASS club!
 

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Bwhip - 'every ride a gift'... I like that.
Instruction on the track is SO valuable to a street rider.
I wasn't comfortable at first with Reg's 'street lines' philosophy, but I've fully taken it to heart now and it has saved my ass from trucks crossing the yellow line.
 

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B, thanks for the write-up! Glad you had such a great time!
 

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abtech : Have you booked all next season yet?
He better book fast 'cuz ole' Reg is looking to get out of the business.

FYI, he now has videos posted of some his classes (good one of Grattan)...



CLASS video links
 

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HondaGalToo : Quote (Red Rider @ Aug. 26 2003, 4:29pm)He better book fast 'cuz ole' Reg is looking to get out of the business.
Where'd you hear this?  How soon?  Bummer.
He posted on his website earlier in the year that the CLASS business was up for sale for $900K and for serious inquiries to contact him.  Don't know if any potential buyers have stepped up, but my guess is he's looking to retire.  I talked to him at Mid-Ohio and he said he couldn't wait to get back home after being on the road for 2 months.  I can't imgaine anyone who could run the CLASS program the way he does...he is CLASS.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Just got back to Boise after a 6 1/2 hour drive back from Portland - but it was SO worth it! Yes, I'm still smiling big time! It was really tough to go to sleep last night - I was still passing people around turn 5 in my mind, shifting my weight back and forth and so on.

Other observations from CLASS:
* Those modded RC51's sound nasty (in a good way)
* The new CBR600RR's are really sweet bikes
* Ducati 999's definitely look better in real life than in magazine photos
* Some Ducatis make really strange noises
* It's kind of startling when, toward the end of the day, and you're (seemingly) all by yourself on the back straightaway doing about 110, when all of a sudden four instructor bikes ROAR by you at about 140-150 (they must have been racing or something). Scared the crap out of me! I wanted to catch 'em and pass 'em, but that wasn't happening. Next time!

Me and my perma-grin still can't wait to go back.
 
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