Prologue: My trysts with bikes have been always on long winding road trips. You may call me an iron butt but riding the bike has never made me tired and satisfies my spiritual plane of existence as Maslow describes. 100000 kms on bikes show how mad a tourer am. But I have envied those motogp guys who drive their bikes like laser guided missiles and their cornering abilities always have amazed me since I was a kid. Getting a knee down was a distant dream for me and then the bullet was not designed for the same. So I bought the Ninja, a lil rocket but nothing intimidating like those motogp missiles. Getting a knee down still remained a dream inspite of the Ninja especially due to the want of the technique though I came really close on a couple of occasions. So I enrolled for the California Superbike School India in Chennai in Jan 2010 and did level 1 and level 2. That experience has been jotted down here. http://californiasuperbikeschoolindia.blogspot.com/. Got a knee down and found that getting a knee down is cool but it isn’t simply the idea of going fast. So went again to the California Superbike School again in 2012. Took level 1 , 2 and level 3. Got faster. If you are based out of Pune, you must have heard of Lavasa. It has a wonderful road which goes from Temghar Dam to the City of Lavasa. It is a riders dream as well as nightmare. I found my inner calling every time I hit Circuit de Lavasa. Hit it every Saturday early morning with a bunch of rider buddies and was good fun, be it Rain, Shine or Pain. Kept me alive, really alive for the rest of the week running through the daily chores of office and the demands of being a husband. Circuit de Lavasa But Lavasa has its limitations. It’s a public road and its like the Isle of Mann. Isle of Mann with traffic coming from the other side. It has 55 corners in 7.2 kilometres. Lavasa has all types of corners – Left, right, Sweeping, decreasing, uphill, downhill, U-turns everything (Amby Valley has even more). If Laguna Seca has a 2 storey fall, Lavasa is probably half as wide, has a 5 storey fall followed by a U-turn! Lavasa takes no prisoners. You goof up, you could be dead. It is a test of the nuts that that connect the saddle to the handlebars. Riders have died and bikes have been totalled. So in Lavasa, you cant ride at 100 percent of your abilities. You need to keep something in reserve for those unforeseen circumstances which could keep you still on the tarmac or throw you down the mountain. So the quest for being faster had to be done at a new avenue and found that the Apex racing academy were doing there Level 1 and Level 2 in Coimbatore in May 2013. They were even giving you race prepped R-15s for a fee. Hit Kari Speedway and did roughly 200 laps in 2 days. In the meanwhile I shifted to the US for work and the biking had stopped because of no bike and no license. Got to know that the CSS circus was hitting Thunderbolt Raceway in the New Jersey Motorsports park in May. This was also an avenue to move into the league of the big bike boys, the bike being a BMW S1000RR! Booked a hotel and rented a car in advance to hit NJMP in May. The track: The track was the Thunderbolt raceway at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Milville. The Corners - The track had majorly right handed corners with only three left handers. The set up: They had two trailers and a tent and a couple of classrooms. They also had the slide bike and the lean bike which every one could take an attempt on. The trailers The Bikes -All BMW S1000RRs Coach Bikes The others Private BMWs Ducatis. CSS works on the basis of 5 classroom sessions every day followed by track time of around 15 minutes. The classroom session would be different for different levels but on the drills are common irrespective of your level. So it will be Drill 1 with Class1 , Drill 2 with Class 2 and likewise.For info on Level 1 and Level 2 and the different classes, check the link above. Drill 1: Third gear, No brakes Drill 2: Third and fourth gears, No brakes Drill 3: Third and fourth gears, Light brakes Drill 4: Three gears, Medium brakes Drill 5: All gears, Med/Hard Brakes The Action: Day 1: The first day was Level 3: The Bike allotted to me was Bike number 18. Coach for the day was Josh Galster. This was my first time on a 1000 and straight up from a 250. Didnt want any nasty surprises. So was taking it real easy. My Bike for Day 1: Number 18. On the way to the track The Grid Class1: Hook Turns Objective: Tighten up a turn especially for decreasing radius turns Method: When leaning into the turn you get your upper body as far forward and as far down into the turn as you reasonably can. This shifts as much weight as possible forward onto the front of the bike thereby quickening up the steering. During the first session I was so slow that every one overtook me like I was riding a 250! View attachment uncontrollable%20laughter.gif . The bike was real heavy, the brakes had some real bite and getting it to turn required some strength. A guy even crashed on the first session and i was a couple of corners behind him and it was a whirl of dust around. The bike was damaged to the tune of $2300 and his day was done! Everytime I had the urge to push, I held back telling myself that dont screw up! They had the body position bike to practise the same. (Image from the internet) Class 2: Power Steering Objective: Quick turning and turning at high speeds Method: Lock your "outside" leg into the gas tank by pressing it up into the tank with your foot on the peg. This allows you to be able to press on the opposing bar with as much pressure as required. It had started raining cats and dogs after the second session. The track was flooded in some parts that you could actually run a small dinghy through it. The wait continued till the rain stopped and we were losing time. Rainy day Brake Bike Drill (Image from the internet) In the mean time, I was called for the Brake Bike drill by Joe. The brake bike looked like below and the drill was to get the bike upto 35mph and brake the bike hard so that the front tires lose traction and the bike slide. The idea was to release the brakes slightly and then re-brake fully and come to a complete stop. It sounded scary but the execution was easier. The first time I braked the tyres didnt lock. In the second try, forgot that had to come to a complete stop. All went well in the third try. Got upto 35mph, cut the throttle, slammed the brakes, front tyre lost traction, re-applied the brakes and the bike came to a complete stop without any fuss. Not once did the side wheels touch the ground. The rainy rides in Lavasa had paid off. Didnt expect it to be so easy! Fortunately the rain stopped in an hour and we had the right time to get through the next three sessions. Class 3: Knee to Knee Objective: For Chicanes Method: For a left to right corner. As soon as you hit the exit of turn1, quickly bring up the inside knee into the tank, lock it onto the tank and set up your outside knee for the oncoming turn. For a brief moment both the knees would be locked to the tank. This gives you a greater stability on the bike by controlling your body positioning with your lower body rather than your upper body by keeping weight off the handle bars. Everyone was advised caution due to the wet conditions and everyone was taking it easy. This was a great leveller since the speeds were down and was able to keep up with most. Class 4: Hip Flick Objective: For faster chicanes Method: This is where you flick your hips from one side to the other to get your body into position for chicanes. From lean, pull your body back to the center of the bike with the outside leg and set up for the next turn. Great leg exercises. By this session the track had dried and every one was back to normal. My pace had also increased but had a long way to go. Class 5: Attack Drill Objective: How the angle of entry at turn point affects your exit speed. Method: Try different attack angles at each turn point on the corners help. You can hit your turn point perfectly but still screw it up because of the wrong angle. Was really tired by the end of the day that went to the hotel room gulped a few beers, checked the go pro footage for the time and the best time was a 2 min 24 sec! The American Motorcycle Association lap record was 1 min 22 sec! (Ofcourse they are not stock, and they have slick tyres) Bah, that was seriously slow, a full minute slow! . But the main objective was to make the transition from a small bike to a bigger one which I had done with success considering that there was no crash! --- Double Post Merged, Jun 13, 2015 --- Some more Pictures from the first day!