Building on STAR Motorcycle Training
To be the best rider you have to constantly evolve with the times. Things can change so much year to year that you have to be able to take advantage of what technology gives you. The world of electronics has changed a lot of what racing has become. Two riders on the same bike with two different electronics packages will often garner two very different results. As it usually is, the better electronics package will usually win. Kids in another 2-3 years won’t have any idea what it is like to ride a bike without electronics.
During my career I have had the opportunity to ride the fastest and trickest stuff available. I know this is ancient but I was around when bikes went to fuel injection and that was a big deal back then. Now as a coach to so many I have to keep up with the advancements being made. The one thing I understand as a coach that has made STAR and our motorcycle training so effective is my approach to the very thing that hasn’t changed; the person twisting the throttle. The rider needs to be connected and understand things more than ever these days so they can learn to take advantage of what is available to them.
When I get with any rider my goal is to always make them the absolute best they can be on the track or street. Once I learn what kind of rider they want to be it makes my job easier. In 2015 I have been so incredibly lucky to work with hard working riders that want to go as far as they can in the sport. Their ability to learn and see their success along the way has been incredibly satisfying. When the time comes and they move through different teams and sizes of bikes, I know that the base that we have built through hours of training has better prepared them to be ready for whatever is ahead.
Nothing showed me this more than this past weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park. I am invested in everyone who hears me teach, whether you are a new STAR school student or a returning one. When I am standing on the grid for a race now with whomever I am coaching I feel the nerves as bad as they do. But I also know that they are prepared and have worked hard. It’s a work ethic that I want all our students to adopt.
Michael Gilbert, Caroline Olsen and Evan Cordonier are a great example of what I am talking about. To say that I am proud of them and what they each have accomplished is a giant understatement. All three have different stories, but all come from the same love of the sport and tremendous desire to get better.
I got with Michael 13 months ago for our first 1on1. I could tell right away that he was frustrated with his current progress and was ready to possibly go do something else. We changed a few things, set realistic goals and he was in the points every race he entered with 3 podium finishes while finishing the season at New Jersey adding his name to a long list of AMA winners. What he did in the rain on Saturday at a track he had never seen was nothing short of amazing. He analyzed the conditions ran down the leaders, then checked out!!! Seeing his dad Gregg so happy makes my job the best it could be. Michael finished every race he started, zero DNF’s on a bike that was never once taken apart for a rebuild. He ended up 6th in points at the end of the year. The future couldn’t be more bright, amazing job Michael.
Caroline’s story is a bit different. She comes from Norway and is a 2 time Norwegian Supersport Champion. She first came over to compete in 2013 in what was supposed to be her first full year in AMA. 2 races in she had a horrendous start line accident that would have sent most people away forever, not Caroline. She sat out all of 2013 and came back to a partial 2014 season. Going home for more surgeries to repair her shoulder her plan was to sit out all of 2015 and recoup. After surgery she did some races in Norway and asked me my thoughts on doing the final MotoAmerica round at Jersey. We were fortunate enough to put together a one race program with John Ulrich’s M4 race team. I have been saying that she is the “real deal” ever since I’ve known her; she went out in Jersey and proved it. Saturday in very difficult wet/dry conditions she came home 10th and on Sunday she improved even more. With the 3rd best race lap she ended up 6th beating many series regulars. I am looking forward to working with her during the off-season. 2016 is going to be a great one.
Someone that will be getting talked about soon is Evan Cordonier. Not many know who he is at the moment unless you are racing in Colorado’s MRA series. Everything that we teach about riding a motorcycle at STAR is exemplified in this young man’s arsenal. I met Evan and his father Jon through a mutual friend in the industry. Evan was so green to our sport that he didn’t even know any of the sports major players. Didn’t matter, he just wanted to ride and get better. Evan was a blank canvas with zero bad habits to fix and he was able to adapt to all the things I wanted him to do. Evan is so understated and quiet but he just gets on with business. In his first full year in 2014 he won multiple class championships and set multiple class lap records. For 2015 he turned expert. In round 5 of this year Evan had a huge start line accident that totaled the bike; luckily he was fine. With the next round just 2 weeks away they had to scramble to find a bike to ride. I made a few phone calls and we got him on a 2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R. Because of the work we have done and the training that he has embodied Evan was able to go out on a brand new stock bike and not miss a beat. He has 21 podium finishes this year and with one round remaining he sits 2nd in 5 classes and leads in one other. Evan is a true example of all things STAR and I am happy that he is an instructor of mine as well.
I mentioned earlier the importance of the base that we build in our training to prepare you for whatever comes. These are just 3 of our students that exemplify how true this is.
- Michael’s ability to analyze the conditions, run down the leaders and check out.
- Caroline’s results in very difficult wet/dry conditions after a horrendous accident that would take most out of the sport.
- Evan’s ability to hop on a new bike and run with the leaders as he has all season.
These are just 3 examples of the many that have attended STAR Motorcycle School. I am lucky to say that there are so many who have carried the lessons they have learned and are continuing to evolve and improve. I am one lucky guy who gets to watch from the sidelines now and share in the good days and not so good days. At STAR we want to build and cater to whatever your riding goals are. Keep an eye out for these 3 young talents.
Check out the STAR schedule and register for one of our upcoming schools and take a spin around the track with these guys and see what I am talking about.
Cheers and ride safe,
PS I would encourage you to follow these guys, here are their Facebook pages: