Rockin’ with the Rocket!

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CLASSIC RACING -

Three days later I was back at Don­ing­ton Park to par­tic­i­pate at the Honda Ron Haslam Race School. It would have been handy to do this be­fore the race, but as it was, I learnt af­ter the event how much I had been get­ting wrong via Ron’s in­struc­tors who are trained to help you go faster. The school takes place over a morn­ing or af­ter­noon and is truly ‘fam­ily-run’ as Ron’s wife Ann is ever-pre­sent in the run­ning of the op­er­a­tion and son Leon is gen­er­ally on hand coach­ing. I was lucky to have se­nior coach Adrian Clarke all to my­self and he posed the ques­tion: “What do you want to gain out of to­day?” I sim­ply said: “Ev­ery­thing!” Af­ter the safety brief­ing we headed out for the first ses­sion, Adrian on a VFR and me on a CBR600. I thought it had been a good ses­sion but Adrian looked at me and said: “Well, where do I start?” Ap­par­ently I was miss­ing the apexes, mov­ing too fre­quently around the bike, not us­ing the rev-range, my feet were not po­si­tioned prop­erly and with all of these things com­bined get­ting into a tuck po­si­tion to make up those mil­lisec­onds on the straights was ap­par­ently a waste of time. All the things I had been do­ing the week­end be­fore were picked up by Adrian in his mir­rors! Hav­ing been in­structed to sit up and look around, use sec­ond gear for the Mel­bourne Loop up­ping to third when you rev out on the start-fin­ish straight we went out again. The pace was much quicker and I could con­cen­trate on hit­ting the apexes. We were over­taken just twice in ses­sion two. A few more mi­nor ad­just­ments and ad­vice came be­fore we had a fi­nal brief­ing

and Adrian and I headed out for the fi­nal ses­sion. I was de­ter­mined to nail this cir­cuit and hav­ing found the rhythm no­ticed Adrian search­ing for gears as I fol­lowed closely behind. I was fi­nally rid­ing to my po­ten­tial. Adrian could not get away on his VFR and when we fi­nally came in he de­manded to know if Ann had set him up as my im­prove­ment had es­ca­lated so quickly over the three ses­sions! I had been de­lighted with my nine-sec­ond YPM im­prove­ment over 24 hours, whereas Adrian told me I had gone a good 20 sec­onds quicker be­tween the first and fi­nal ses­sion at the school. This was all down to tak­ing ad­vice, set­tling my style, learn­ing the track and in­ject­ing some be­lief into my­self. I was to go faster around Don­ing­ton later that day, this time with dis­ap­prov­ing looks from the coaches who were ques­tion­ing my men­tal­ity as I climbed on the back of a Blade with Ron Haslam him­self. Five laps of adrenalin-fu­elled mad­ness with as much time on the front or back wheel as with both. If you can take away a mere per­cent­age of Ron Haslam’s abil­ity af­ter be­ing on his school, you will be a much bet­ter rider what­ever you ride, clas­sic or modern. I know I am.

Char­lie fol­lows Adrian.

About to be scared by Ron!

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