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Archive for December, 2008

December 26, 2008

Back to School…..

Armed with my new track bike and a year of experiences, it was decided to further my skills on bike so I signed up for Fast Level 1 & Level 2.

 I had some great teachers the year before but I wanted to take the courses as a confirmation of my abilities and get third party advice from someone I don’t know. As seems to be typical with me in the morning a few butterflies were fluttering around in my stomach as I prepared for the days events at Shannonville.

dsc_1185.JPGWe were broken up into various groups which were constantly changed based on your speed. I was fortunate enough to get with the fast group and stay there. We worked on everything from braking techniques, turning, lines, accelerating, etc. And we were critiqued by the instructors on our ability to apply the techniques taught. I had the honor of John Bickle as my instructor that day. For those who don’t know John, please read the “about” section on his website as he’s been a long supporter of racing in Canada with direct ties to CAN-AM 125 GP series as well as the Air Fence deployed for the national series among others. (click on the Air Fence link and check out the pics where it’s used in MotoGP at Catalungya, Spain, Laguna Seca, USA among other locations. And don’t forget to check them out in action with Factory HRC rider Dani Pedrosa’s crash)

It was a fun day overall on the Nelson Circuit and it allowed me confirm my abilities and gave me some more confidence which is everything when you’re on the track. I even got the fastest rider of the day award which is on my wall.

dsc_1233.JPGLevel 2 was a continuation from Level 1 and built on the skills that were learned. We were able to get more track time because everyone had the basics mastered. So we were able to work more on cornering and getting a better drive. It also allowed me to work on a couple of corners on the Fabi Circuit track I was having trouble with and our instructor for the day ex. Pro J.F. Cyr was able to help me nail down the lines.

picture.jpgAll in all I enjoyed levels 1 & 2 with the fast school. It wasn’t until 2005 when I did level 3 on the Pro Track and boy was that entertaining. I had brought my bike like I had done on the previous dates. However, it was pouring rain and I had race compound tires on vs. the street compounds (see under motorcycle) the fast school bikes were running. I might have well put slicks on because it was like riding on ice. Good thing I had some practice sliding  before today.

I still managed to be the fastest one there despite the weather. But what was really cool was that I got completely separated from the rest of the groups and was running solo with current Pro Andrew Nelson my personal instructor for a couple of sessions. Man was he fast in the wet and kept pushing & pulling me faster and faster, oh the slides I was getting faster and more leery of a crash all at the same time. But I can’t complain when it was all said and done I had some fun on the track with Andrew that day.

So what’s next? I guess it was time to get my competition license and go racing.

 

*Photos provided by Flair Photo

 

Bryan Fil

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December 16, 2008

Showtime in TO

It’s Showtime!show.jpg

The 2009 motorcycle show circuit kicked off this past weekend at the Toronto Convention Center.

I haven’t seen any numbers yet, but there was a fantastic turn out by enthusiasts who poured into the building located in the shadow of the CN tower, eager to check out the many 2009 models on display.

Fridashow1.jpgys crowd came in waves. Some people took time out their from normal business hours, and the big swell hit around 4pm after many finished work for the day. Saturday was the day. The weather outside (in southern Ontario) was damp and overcast – perfect for spending a few hours in the comfort of the center looking at motorcycles. – From a Yamaha perspective, lots of interest in the new VMax, the new R1 (see back to the future) and especially scooters, not unexpected in light of our frugal economic outlook.

Thanks to everyone that came by the booth and took interest in our bikes and gear. I wasshow2.jpg pleased to see many Ontarians signing the petition to oppose the provincial bill 117 to ban motorcycle passengers of 14 years and younger – I look back with great memories of having my kids ride with me and “learn by example”. I know I’m not alone!

I spent all 3 days talking to people and found the mood to be upbeat and not all that  much concerned with our current economic climate.
When I tshow3.jpghink back to the problems which were occurring in 1981, with mortgage rates soaring past 20% and many people walking away from homes that they could no longer afford, the motorcycle industry recorded record sales and continued that way for 3 or 4 years after.

It could be that- when people are feeling hard pressed- they buy something that makes them feel good. And (to mis-quote the famous Canadian, Winnie-the Pooh) “who could be un-cheered” when buying a cool toy like a motorcycle?show4.jpg

The show goes on the road, next heading west from here. I hope the positive mood continues and I hope you can spend a little time checking out all the industry has to offer – ‘cause now is a great time to be a motorcyclist!

Cheers and all the best for 2009.
DS

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