Some Say “Instructors”…Some Say “Man, these guys helped me so much!!”
Nick Ienatsch is the YCRS chief instructor and leader of this standout team of coaches. The Nevada resident has over 18 years of world-leading motorcycle instruction, heading the Freddie Spencer school and the FastTrack school before that. His teaching techniques are rooted in a successful professional racing career which includes two AMA SuperTeams national championships, four top-three annual finishes in AMA 250 GP competition, two #1 plates from Willow Springs, three WERA Grand National Championships, and top-three finishes in AMA 600 SuperSport. Nick has been a motojournalist since 1984 and currently writes for Cycle World magazine. You may have his book Sport Riding Techniques or have read The Pace and The Pace 2.0, two seminal articles in motojournalism. Nick realizes how much he learned from the champions he knew through the magazines and wants to pass those Champions’ Habits on to you.
Keith Culver is the Chief Operating Officer for the Yamaha Champions Riding School. In the 90s, as a rookie, Keith won multiple races his first weekend, turned expert in under four months, and qualified to be pro in six. In 2008 when New Jersey Motorsports Park opened in his backyard, Keith began instructing for a local track day club, was brought on to be their Director of Operations, and started a youth race team; Evolution Racing. Evolution Racing developed four Red Bull Rookies Cup invitees and four AMA Pro racers in as many years. Not to be left out of the fun, without racing competitively for many years, Keith took a completely stock YCRS school bike and qualified for an AMA Pro National in 2014, proving that he can still get around on two wheels. Since moving to southern California in late 2014, Keith’s latest mission outside of working with youth racers is street riding, and more specifically, spreading the message on what techniques learned in racing can help make street riders safer.
Chris began racing YSR80s in his home town of Calgary, Alberta, and it wasn’t long before he was wining on 125 roadracers, riding quickly enough to be selected as the 125 GP wildcard at Valencia in 2002. He finished third overall in the Canadian 600 Supersport series and fifth overall in the AMA series, eventually riding and winning on an Erion Racing CBR600RR. His national success promoted him to World Supersport where he put Canada on the map with points-scoring finishes. This quick kid spent time in the saddle of Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 for ESP racing, putting that machine on the AMA podium. When he entered AMA Superbike he came home in the top ten. Chris and the Army of Darkness team won the 2014 WERA Heavyweight Endurance Championship. Chris now lives in Arizona and introduced YCRS to its new winter home: Inde Motorsports Ranch.
Kyle Wyman is a Lead Instructor with YCRS and a current professional racer in the AMA/FIM MotoAmerica series. Kyle runs and manages his own race team (Kyle Wyman Racing – KWR) and is the 2012 AMA Pro Harley-Davidson series championship-winning team owner. He has 7 professional wins to his credit and brings a wealth of knowledge out of his short racing career. Kyle also writes a monthly column in Roadracing World titled “Where’s Wyman?”
CJ LaRoche attended YCRS in 2013 and began his first road-racing season that year, at the age of 27. The Ohio native accumulated a Novice and Novice/Expert overall championship in his first season, while only falling once…in the rain. CJ moved up to full Expert status for 2014 and attained an AMA Pro license in time to compete in AMA Supersport at Mid- Ohio. He stood on several Expert podiums in 2014 and grabbed 4th in the AMA Grand National Championships on a stock Suzuki GSX-R 600. CJ will compete in MotoAmerica Superstock 600 for 2015 aboard a Yamaha R6.
Away from YCRS, CJ is married to a martial-arts instructor and owns a tree care company based out of Ohio that employs 12.
Ken Hill is a lead instructor at YCRS and held that position at the Freddie Spencer School too. The northern Californian has been a force at tracks like Thunderhill, Infineon and Buttonwillow, recording lap records and class wins at each. Ken has been instructing at a national level for over eight years and has personally coached many leading racers such as Martin Cardenas, Elena Meyers and Benny Solis, just to name a few. His professional racing career started fairly late at the age of 30, but he took home the AFM #2 plate (um…his Suzuki broke in the final round, taking him out of the championship) and finished in the top ten in AMA SuperBike. Ken also currently tests and writes for Roadracing World and Cycle World magazines, as well as fastersafer.com. Ken has instructed at the Harley-Davidson University and led press introductions for Triumph and Pirelli.
Mark Schellinger is a senior instructor at YCRS and has a pair of #1 plates from Colorado’s MRA on the wall. Not only did he capture the championships and set a few lap records in the process, but he’s got more than a few AMA/CCS trophies on the shelf from the season-ending championship races at Daytona. Mark is highly invested in rider training and served as the MRA’s new-rider coach for almost a decade while becoming the largest Michelin race-tire vendor in the country. The Denver native has worked with Nick Ienatsch and this group of instructors for eight years doing a variety of rider training, from Harley-Davidson dealer training to Pirelli race-tire introductions. When Mark isn’t riding, he’s employed as a tactical-driving trainer for the US military.
Scott Russell is a frequent guest instructor at YCRS and needs no introduction, but we’ll give you one anyway. Scott is a former World SuperBike and AMA SuperBike Champion, has won the Daytona 200 a record five times, won the Suzuka 8 Hours in 1993 and is the first rider to go undefeated in AMA roadracing competition when he captured the SuperStock title, and he’s the all-time leader in 750cc AMA SuperStock wins. In 2005 Mr. Five-Time was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame and the FIM World SuperBike Hall of Fame in 2012. That, my friends, is speed and consistency, and you will learn how and why.
Larry Pegram is a minority owner of YCRS and guest instructor. As the owner and rider of the Pegram Racing team, Larry has over 20 years of experience in professional road racing and has finished in the top 10 of the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike point standings for five consecutive seasons, including four race wins. In the 2013 AMA SuperBike Championship series, the Ohio rider captured three top three finishes at Daytona International Speedway and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
As team owner, Larry’s business and marketing efforts have secured premier sponsorship deals that have allowed his team to operate at a high enough level to be a competitive force within the AMA SuperBike Championship Series. These efforts have also secured a television deal between Pegram Racing and the Fox Sports-owned Speed Network in which the team is featured on a nationally syndicated reality television series entitled “Superbike Family”. The series has enjoyed tremendous success and in 2012 the Speed Network approved two additional seasons, which follow the Pegram Racing team during the 2013 and 2014 Championship Series. In future seasons the show will also follow Larry at the YCRS schools for which he is a featured guest instructor.
Dale Kieffer is a senior instructor at YCRS and his impressive racing resume includes multiple club class championships at Willow Springs and Las Vegas with a handful of lap records along the way; successes which inspired the Las Vegas native to step up to the nationals and the results were astounding: racing in two classes he earned a pair of AMA national No. 3 plates and visits to almost every AMA podium in the country. Then Dale got old and decided to raise a family…until Chuckwalla Valley Raceway opened. The father of three went out and captured the CVR #1 plate two years in a row. Don’t worry, Dale’s not just speed and good looks, he’s been instructing with Nick for over 16 years and runs The Racer’s Edge, a high-performance bike shop in sin city, and is the west-coast Pirelli race-tire representative.
Like many new racers, George entered an endurance race as his first two-wheeled competition. He liked it so much he put together a team that won the WERA national endurance championship. The Lake Tahoe resident then took time off to get a few doctoral degrees, marry a supermodel and raise a family, but we talked him into joining us at YCRS and he’s been on our team for four years. Like every YCRS instructor, George has a street bike in his garage and knows how vital our lessons are for enjoyment and survival on the street. Not only does Dr. Grass elevate the whole group’s IQ, but also he exemplifies the #1 rule for YCRS instructors: To help you ride better.
How about an inspiring success story: Phil came to his first YCRS at the age of 36 having never ridden a motorcycle. The Colorado resident, an ex-professional bicycle racer, had fallen in love with the sport and dreamed of racing. Phil studied and applied everything we teach at YCRS and achieved top-20 placings in AMA Pro Supersport and the #3 plate in the Utah SBA King of the Mountains Premier Expert Middleweight class. Phil has been an Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School since 2009. He rides beautifully and understands the sport completely, so we added him to our instructor roster so every student who has doubts about their ability can hear this: If Phil can do it, you can do it! We’re not joking; the YCRS instructors have more faith in you than you do.