Tested – Ron Haslam Race School

Discussion in 'Riding Advice' started by Simon, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. Simon

    Simon Professional storyteller
    Staff Member Premium

    Mar 25, 2015
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    Who’s it for?

    Anyone aged 12 and over. The school has a fleet of Hondas of all sizes – 125s, 250s, CB500s, CBR600RR-ABS and Fireblades. The school is the ideal environment for riders who want to savour track riding without all the pressures associated with a trackday.

    What do you get?

    All riders on all courses get to savour the flowing and technical 12-corner, 2.487-mile, Donington Park circuit on new Hondas. There’s the chance to use the school’s helmets, leathers, boots and gloves if you need to, and you’ll also receive expert tuition and feedback from the school’s experienced team of instructors. All instructors are experienced racers or former racers, and you may see the likes of MCN’s senior road tester Michael Neeves or Rocket Ron himself offering tips and advice. At the end of the course you’ll receive a certificate and a score (even if you crash out on your first lap).

    What will I learn?

    Premier level riders experience Donington behind an instructor on a 2:1 pupil to instructor ratio on a new CBR600RR-ABS. At the start of the day the instructor will ask what your objectives are, and the three sessions on track will be tailored accordingly. Don’t worry if you’re slower or quicker than your fellow student – any incompatible pairings will be reassigned new partners after the first session on track.

    During your three sessions you’ll cover body position, braking, turn-in points, picking the bike up, different lines, locking-on on the bike and any other issues your instructor identifies.

    The sessions are all conducted with you following the instructor, and if at any point you drop the bike, then your day is over – you won’t be allowed to ride on track again that day.

    The Elite course uses Fireblades and is only for riders who have already completed the Premier course. It’s much more intensive. Tuition is done on a one-on-one basis, and uses dataloggers to help riders extract as much as possible from their riding.

    The day

    My instructor for the day was Paul Berryman, a handy racer and all-round nice guy. After brief introductions he asked us why we were here and what we wanted to achieve. “Donington is a brilliant circuit. You’re on new bikes, really good bikes, so enjoy yourselves. I’m here to help you in whatever way I can. Stick behind me, do what I do and twist the throttle. Don’t be afraid of giving the bike some stick, that’s what you’re here for.”

    The first session is all about geography and learning the track. The pace is brisk, without being quick, and Paul’s constantly scanning his mirrors to see what we’re doing.

    When we pull into the garages he’s quick to share his observations. “You’re doing really well. You seem confident enough and you look pretty stylish, but you could do with tightening up your body position.”

    We then get a quick hands on guide to what we should be doing sat on a stationary CBR. “Lock on to the tank with your legs, and when you’re coming down the straight start to move your arse to the side of the straight. If you only do this when you’re about to tip in, you’ll end up unsettling the bike and having to work harder. Do as much as you can before you turn in and you’ll find it easier to turn.”

    We spend the second session practicing our body position drills and our pace increases as a consequence. My knees start to touch down more often and we’re starting to overtake some of the other groups on track.

    After 15 minutes on track we pull over for our second debrief. Paul says: “You’re doing nicely now. Your body position and style is spot on and your speed is increasing as a result. Now, if we could just get your knee off the ground you’d be even quicker. I know it’s a good feeling, but if you stand the bike up quicker, you can get on the gas quicker and you’ll cut your lap times even more.”

    We spend the third and final session practicing wider lines and turning in later, especially through Goddards, and trying to fire the bike quicker and quicker out of corners.

    All too soon the session’s over and we’re having the final debrief. Paul says: “That was really enjoyable. Your knee’s still dragging a bit too much, but you look really comfortable on the bike, and if you came back you’d easily go quicker still.”

    Is it value for money?

    The Premier course costs £289 and the Elite course costs £389. That may seem expensive, but the price includes tuition tailored to you, use of a new bike, and the chance to ride Donington Park in a safe and controlled environment. And that is worth the fee alone.


    For more details visit www.haslamraceschool.com

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