Testimonials

Hear what real students say about their YCRS Experience.  Read what riders say about their experience with us and how they feel about learning Champions Habits.

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Yamaha Champions Riding School: A Comprehensive Review
I want to start off by giving you a short background of my riding experience. I started riding motorcycles at age 30 in New York City, of all places. I have always been and still am an apprehensive rider. My first experience on a motorcycle ended up with a high side and broken bones while riding a dirt bike in Georgia. I managed to grab a handful of front brake which was enough to scare me away from that lever for a long time. I eventually entertained the notion of riding a motorcycle and decided to do it right. I took my MSF course which I followed up by several private lessons. Eventually, I wanted to go faster so I did a couple of track days and got hooked. I escaped the short motorcycle seasons by moving to San Diego in 2014. One trip through the canyons made me realize that I knew nothing about riding! I bought a track bike and decided to do every school that I could.
Group riding in Southern California became my passion and I was fortunate enough to become the organizer of SD Sportriders, one of the largest riding groups in California. Alongside unlimited rewards, leadership has its challenges. One of those challenges is safety. Every group ride involves risk and when our groups get full (think 50+ riders on the monthly ride) safety becomes paramount. That’s why we do frequent riding clinics and talk about safe riding techniques constantly. I also encourage everyone to go to school.
I strongly believe that the best investment one can make in the motorcycle world is schooling. It is an insurance policy that has far more value than Geico or Allstate can offer. Forget the exhausts and custom paint jobs and invest in yourself and your abilities. Not everyone will get to ride in MotoGP at Assen, but everyone can be a better, safer rider who knows how to deal with any road situation.
In my aspiration to become a better leader and rider, I have attended several riding schools both on and off the track. Some schools were expensive and intense while others were more relaxed and affordable but they all had one thing in common – they added to my skill set and provided value.
Value is what I want to focus on when I talk about Yamaha Champions Riding School. Having experienced different schools, I can honestly say that the best value is at YCRS. They offer several different courses including their single-day program, two-day program and other certified coaching, as well as Yamaha Streets for the street riders.
I was fortunate enough to attend both, the single-day and two-day courses back to back at Buttonwillow Raceway Park, which happens to be one of my favorite tracks. I did the single-day course first and then followed up with the more in-depth two-day program immediately after. I had no expectations for either program, so I just brought my enthusiasm and an open mind to learn and absorb what these guys were about to tell me.
Day one offered a lot of information expertly delivered by Ken Hill, Nick Ienatsch, Chris Peris, and Mark Schellinger – all of whom have impressive riding resumes. The day began with classroom instruction and a few parking lot demonstrations. They focused on one thing – fundamentals. They talked about traction, turning radius, direction and braking.
As I mentioned before, I’ve been scared of the brake lever since my first motorcycle experience, but as I got faster I began to incorporate braking and trail braking into my riding. These guys took it to a whole new level. They showed me that you didn’t have to go fast to use the brakes. As a matter of fact, brakes are less for slowing the motorcycle but more for controlling the motorcycle. It is through demonstrations and practice that they really drive this point home.
After the initial classroom and demonstrations they split us up into groups. I was with the faster paced group of racers who were led by Chris Peris. Chris showed us around the track, increasing his pace with each lap. After, we ran our own laps while Chris watched from the sidelines or rode behind us to evaluate what we were doing. The day offered a ton of track riding with half-hour riding sessions alternating with off-track instruction.
It is important to point out that the instruction is done at your level. Whether you’re a novice or a pro racer you will still get the attention and instruction that is suitable to your riding abilities. They even did parking lot training with the novice riders, which I heard was great.
At the end of the day, we all walked away with a ton of information to process and smiles on our faces. I was surprised at how drastically my riding style changed just over one day. The information provided was concise and critical. Everyone at YCRS was eager and available to answer questions. This program definitely gives you the bang for the buck considering the amount of track time and instruction. I was definitely looking forward to the two-day program.
The two-day program, which is the flagship program, started in the classroom just like the previous day. This time we were also joined by Kyle Wyman for a better instructor to student ratio. After the introductions and some classroom instruction, we headed out to the parking lot for some demonstrations, just like the previous program. These fundamentals are so important that they bear repeating. No time wasted there even after listening to it all the day before.
Next we took a ride in the vans, which were expertly driven by the instructors. As we went around the track, the instructors gave us an insight of their thought process at every turn. This ride is not for the fainthearted as they moved the vans at pace, demonstrating that the techniques they teach apply to all vehicles and situations. Aside from great fun, the van rides offered a lot of useful information which can be applied on the motorcycles.
We split up into groups based on riding experience. I once again got to ride with Chris Peris and his group. After some lead-follows, we went back off the track for more instruction.
The format was a bit different for the two-day program. The two-day program consists of specific drills and instructions on the track. This was less like a track day and more like a school. We all went out at the same time, regardless of skill level. To those concerned, it worked out just fine as long as everyone is on the same page doing the same thing.
Some of the drills including braking drills, downshifting drills, and my favorite – the cone drill. After the cone drill, I told Nick that I would pay him the cost of the school just to come do that for a day. The drill involves all of the instructors setting up cones on track in different locations and configurations, and as we ride – at pace – they change up the cones. This drill worked every aspect of motorcycle controls and vision and allowed me to feel comfortable knowing that I can apply the techniques I learned to unpredictable situations safely.
I also did a two-up ride with Chris Peris, which was invaluable. He zoomed through the track at a fast pace allowing me to feel what the bike was doing at critical points of braking and acceleration. I felt Chris smoothly downshift the bike into the corners. It also helped me understand where you can be safely aggressive with the throttle and where it pays dividends to extend the brakes. I highly recommend this opportunity.
At the end of the day, we did the video portion where the instructors followed us for a lap. This was the perfect way to end the day. We got to review the videos during dinner with tips for improvement and tons of praise from the instructors. This definitely set the tone for the following day as I wrote down specific goals and objectives for myself based on the video review.
Day 2 started off similar to day one with more classroom instruction and then back on the track for more drills. We did the second video session earlier during the day to review it during lunch. There were more drills to be offered as the instructors touched on different aspects of riding. We even got to do the cone drill again.
At the end of the day, we did Champions Lap, where the instructors gave us different problems to solve as we did our laps. This was an exercise in critical thinking and a humorous and fun bonus at the end.
I didn’t go into detail about everything they teach at the school because you really have to go and experience it for yourself. There are a few basic points that they really drive home. For one, they dispel a ton of myths that we hear constantly from other sources, such as ‘don’t brake in the turns.’ They focus on braking as a way to control entry and direct the motorcycle for the exit. During some exercises, I came to a full stop in the corners, even at lean angle. How is that for riding confidence and my fear of the brake lever?
The key points I wrote down in the provided notebook were the top reasons for crashing such as lack of focus, abruptness and repeating mistakes. They also talk about suspension travel and it’s function. They discuss different types of corners and how to evaluate them. They do all that while maintaining the seriousness of the matter while injecting light humor into all that they do.
The school was very well organized at the hands of Keith Culver, the Chief Operating Officer. He greeted us at check in and did all the background work, such as arranging food and refueling in a seemingly unnoticeable fashion. He also took care of all the rental bikes and gear for those who needed it. I’ve seen less done with more resources at other schools.
In summation, I had a fantastic time with YCRS. They fundamentally transformed me as a rider and, as someone who is planning on entering the racing arena in the near future, they gave me confidence and a plan. One of the things Nick, Ken, Chris, Mark and Kyle would always say to us is “Have a plan!” And these words apply not only to the track but to our lives. I found their instruction to be inspirational not just as a rider, but as a someone who is committed to personal development.
I view riding differently now than I did before the school and will continue to pass on the knowledge to my group and encourage them to attend. As much as I can type up in a review or paraphrase what I was taught, a lot of the school’s value comes from not only the actual information but their delivery of that information. YCRS is some of the best money I have invested in myself.

Thanks to Nick and the YCRS family for an absolutely amazing experience in Arizona. I am still running laps in my mind trying to find a smoother line through many of the 21 corners at Inde. I’m getting back into the sport after almost 2 decades away. To earn my wife’s blessing for my future motorcycle purchase, I promised to seek out the best instructors and re-learn the fundamentals. I have attended several motorcycle camps this year and YCRS proved to be just what I was searching for and more.
The attendees at this week’s camp ranged from road racers looking to gain speed and consistency to riders who just passed the MSF course and obtained their license. There was even a coach from the east coast looking to become a better instructor. Yet with such a diverse group, YCRS was able to help us all become safer and faster riders. They went above and beyond to make sure each of us received exactly what we wanted/needed during the camp. It’s their rule #5 and they take it to heart. The techniques YCRS taught us will enable us to cope with every possible scenario on the road or track, no matter what bike we ride. In fact, once my son (age 16) gets his motorcycle endorsement, he will be attending YCRS before owning a bike. The same will be true for his younger sister. Their safety is paramount and the instructors at YCRS are committed to growing the sport by teaching new and old riders how to be in control.
The instructors were as varied as the students in terms of age and background, but their riding abilities were astounding by comparison. More importantly they were able to distill all of their actions on the bike into fundamental concepts that were clearly explained. The classroom atmosphere was friendly and encouraged questions. If words were insufficient, the instructors were more than happy to grab a bike to prove a concept in the parking lot, on the track, and even take you for a 2-up ride at speed.
The biggest thing that struck me about the instructors was how earnest they were in making sure you were becoming a better rider and having fun doing it. These guys really care and took as long as necessary to make sure we were absorbing the material in the classroom and on the track. I never saw anyone sneaking a peak at their watch. The icing on the cake was getting to demo every Yamaha at speed at the end of the class. Go—you’ll love it.
Thanks to all of the YCRS gang:
Rick and Keith the bikes were perfect—you made us feel like we were sponsored racers.
Jenn—the food was amazing (you raised the bar for my kitchen) and the yoga was just what I needed.
Eziah, Kyle, Ryan—you guys are fast, entertaining, engaging and pleasant. Our future is in good hands.
Mark and Rob—almost as fast as the youths, but more impressive since you’re my age. Thanks for lying in the grass with the rattlesnakes to shoot action photos.
Chris—no wonder you’re so nice, you’re Canadian. Who knew the Canucks were so fast.
Nick—after following your writings for so many years, getting to ride with you was pretty special, getting the thumbs up on track and talking over meals was just awesome.
See you guys next year!
Bryan Benitez-Nelson


 

Gentlemen,

I am still blown away by my experience at the YCRS.  As I mentioned during the introduction, I flat out didn’t know what I didn’t know.  It turned out to be a ton.

The very first lesson of the day, radius equals mile per hour, was eye opening.  I had never thought of that relationship before.

Other lessons that I found enlightening were:

Load the front before you use the front.

If you want to ride like Lorenzo, look like Lorenzo. (Body position)

100 points of tire front and rear.  This is the traction circle of the tires, which I have thought about before, but your explanation was far easier to apply.

1,2,3, as you start braking and release braking.

Brake until happy with speed and direction.

Brake lighter longer.

No abruption. We spend a lot of time on reducing abruption on the Superbikes.  The most productive to lap time is to soften the torque hit as the rider picks up the throttle.

Look ahead and scan back.

Push knee into tank

The only skill that was discussed that I already possessed was stay off the bike if the next corner is the same as the last corner.

The team of instructors you have assembled were all very helpful and yet diverse.  I will never forget my lead-follow with Chris Perris.  How he was so expressive on the bike ahead of me while we were riding hard around the track and he was watching his mirrors and pointing out everything I should be doing, was very impressive.  The General was an awesome guy too.  I purposely searched him out at the start finish line for any of the drills.  He changed my body position by giving me the tip of making my inside arm a small angle (bent elbow) to get my head off the bike in the corners.

This was the first time I have ridden an R6 and the bike was perfect for this school.  It rewards clean riding but doesn’t punish sloppy mistakes.  I give credit to the tires as well, as I never felt close to finding 100 points on the front or rear.

The schedule of events was an excellent mix of riding and talking.  On day 2, there were times when my legs were too fatigued to keep riding.  I appreciated the open format to the schedule where I could take a rest in pit lane or off the bike and not feel like I was missing anything.

I really appreciated the freedom to give Rendy a few laps on the FZ-1.  That was the highlight of my day.  I never would have had the confidence to go two-up on a track day and now I can’t wait to try it again.

My only issue was having a good understanding of the drills before we started.  I don’t feel like it was clearly communicated.  In particular, on day 1, we did the parking lot drills (hard braking) and I had very little idea of what we were supposed to be working on.  Now this was corrected because the instructors were always available to clarify, so it wasn’t  a huge problem.  My favorite drills were the changing cones.  That was fun and challenging.

The YCRS has changed my riding for life.  I have more confidence in what I’m doing on my motorcycles even though some of it seemed impossible before the class. What a wonderful opportunity it was to spend two days with your group and learn life changing skills.

A big thanks to everyone involved.  All the best,

 

Paul St. Clair

 


 

AMAZING school.  Best money I have ever spent.

Nick and his team are incredible.  I really enjoyed Nick as my coach.  I have totally transformed and morphed into a better rider.

…..and to think I spent two seconds thinking about going……….SMH.

Thanks.

 

Joseph A. Zito, CPA

Chief Operating Officer

The Becker Organization

NJ Office | 24 Church Street | Montclair, NJ 07042

Office 973.707.2366 ext 103 | Mobile 610.506.1776

NY Office | 55 Fifth Avenue | New York, NY 10003

joe@TheBeckerOrg.com | www.TheBeckerOrg.com

 


“And special mention to Yamaha Champions Riding School and the 3 fellas I mentioned earlier, Nick, Mark, and Chris. I joined them for a school in AZ in February and again on their foray into CO for champ day at HPR last thursday. I cannot say enough about their program. Not only are they good people who care deeply for the health and well being for our sport and us riders, but are great teachers also. If you want to ride faster, safer, please see them, sign up and ride with them.” -an excerpt from the race report of Raymond Richard


 

I took the Yamaha Champions Riding School ChampSchool two day class earlier this month in New Jersey. First off let me say that this class, AWSOME!!!!!! If I can give this class 100 stars I would. They do throw a lot information at you and it does become overwhelming, but Nick and his instructors read their audience well and will add humor or explain things a different way if there are a lot of deer in the headlight looks. All the instructors were helpful and will work with you if you are are not understanding something (Bill with EvolveGT, thanks for helping me with head position in the turns).

While your mind is blown with the information they gave you, don’t worry, hang in there, it will all start coming together near the end of day one into day two. The structure between classroom time and riding time is great. It’s like a little bit of class time, then you are on the bikes riding (either on the track or doing drills in the parking lot). Also, the one lap film reviews they do are helpful. They are great at giving constructive criticism. For me the enjoyable part of the day was the Champions Lap. This is a really fun way to end the day.

If you have been wondering if you should take this class, I will suggest that you do it. I will take this class again, because it is worth it.

-Tuan Brown via Facebook


I took Yamaha Champions Riding School on Thur and 30 min into Sat practice, I was already 1 sec below my best ever lap time. It’s a great school and was money well spent. I continued to work my plan and dropped another 1.5 seconds throughout the weekend. I never thought that I’d do a 1:52 at this track and I’m really happy with getting there. Thanks Nick, Mark, and Keith for bringing YCRS to Colorado.


I learned more in the two days I did with YCRS than I did in the entire year and 7 track days this past season trying to figure it out myself. I have gone from a very slow rider to going at a much more comfortable pace in the Intermediate group at the track. Most importantly, I feel so much SAFER and in control when riding on the street, even in the rain, because I am no longer just a passenger on my bike. I now know how to properly use my brakes and STOP at any time when I encounter one those inevitable “oh sh**!” moments that happen to all of us. Nick and crew, thank you. Faster, safer, everyone!


As most of you know, I attended YCRS this week, it was a game changer in my life as far as motorcycle riding goes.
I don’t want to give too much away, because I want all of you to do this and experience it for yourself. The entire staff and the program they run is nothing less than phenomenal! Get in touch with them ASAP! Sign up for the school, I promise you you won’t be disappointed. Thank you everyone at YCRS for your patience and pouring your heart and soul into teaching me how to ride faster, but most of all safer!

Joseph Goulet via his Track Heroes Facebook page event.. https://www.facebook.com/events/1042741892472967/


 

Hey guys,

Thought you’d get a kick out of this…

HWT race at Tally today, 2nd to last lap In in 2nd place and get a great drive onto the back straight. Set up the pass going into farmhouse grab the clutch lever and downshift release clutch lever and I falls off. My immediate thought was “Champ Lap”

Put my head down and finished the last lap in 3rd gear. Won the race.

I still can’t believe my immediate thought when the lever fell off was “Champ Lap”

Stephen

Stephen Tsotsoros


How can I ever adequately thank all of you for the perfect experience this week!  Nick, you realized immediately that I needed a lot more attention and help than everyone else, and to my delighted surprise put me in a one on one setup with first John, then Ben (Ben is one of the best natural teachers I’ve ever met).  Nowhere else would that have happened. I’ll never be one of the fast guys, but I’ll always be faster and safer than I ever was before.

 

I intend to be a repeat customer, and have already been urging my riding group to attend the school.

 

I’ve even begun incorporating your suggestions to use the car to practice lighter/smoother, and scanning for apexes, although the latter is a little difficult between Willcox and Austin on I-10….

 

I’m forever grateful to all of you, please, please, when a beginner is concerned about whether the school is right for them, tell them to call me:

 

Warmest and best regards to all,

 

Mark Goodrich

 


 

 

YCRS Team,

 

I have been riding motorcycles for more than 35 years. After completing Champ Day, I learned more in one day than 35 years combined.

 

Fantastic School

Awesome Presentation

Great Cast and Crew

I would recommend Your school to anyone that is serious about the ART OF MOTORCYCLE RIDING…

 

Best Regards,

Kerry Trotter

Tempe, AZ 85281


 

 

….thank you for giving me a good foundation. I probably would have crashed if I had not taken YCRS first. Two of my friends crashed…one on the first lap. Lots more to learn. But You gave me skills. Also, I’m rounding up a few more students for you

-Rachel Bell


 

“I have attended six two-day classes with YCRS. I regard it as a yearly requirement to keep my riding skills honed. When YCRS moved from Miller to New Jersey, I was disappointed because I did not want to travel across the country with a constant threat of rain on the East Coast. Big mistake. I attended the YCRS graduate school in Tucson last week. The first day it rained steadily most of the morning, leaving standing water on a cold track. Despite this, we went out. It was one of the best sessions I have ever had. We were on Dunlop Q3s, and I was stunned by how well the bike performed. It is also great training for body position because you have to really hang off to stay upright. So, I am definitely in for a New Jersey class in 2015.”

– Matt Lehr


 

“I had an accident earlier in the year, and I lost my nerve and confidence to ride. A graduate of YCRS thought that Nick and his team could help rebuild my confidence, but more importantly raise my overall riding skills and technique.

I’ve ridden for 30 years, and only big bikes (Honda Gold Wing, Harley Electra Glide Classic) for the past two decades. I never understood the “physics” of riding: traction, grip, where best to brake or accelerate in a turn. I always did what “felt right” and I never had a problem until my crash ($13,000 damage to the bike, plus medical bills).

YCRS taught me tire grip, cornering concepts, throttle and braking control skills, and mental focus that will definitely improve my street riding. Taking the course also boosted my self-confidence. It was an amazing two days, fully worth the tuition. (What’s the value of never crashing again?)”

– Wolf Freed, Oakland, CA


 

“This past August 2014, I took the YCRS One Day Clinic. It is a well-run group and Nick Ienatsch likes to lighten up the atmosphere with his mercurial personality. The difference between YCRS and other schools that I have attended was that it felt less clinical, less scripted. However, Nick and the gang do follow a “script” but he and his staff are so well versed in this motorcycling passion that you never feel like they are reading from a script. The former methodology isn’t a bad thing, it’s just different.

We watched AMA plate holder and podium finisher Kyle Wyman practice drills in front of us to show what happens to a motorcycle when you apex early, apex late or miss an apex. Then, we performed a number of on track drills. My favorite drills were the rear brake only drill and blipping the throttle and rev matching drill. I have always downshifted a gear or two and then let the slipper clutch do it’s thing. Or, when I would actually rev match correctly, I couldn’t duplicate it without looking like 3-year-old on a damn rocking horse! Nick personally worked with me on rev matching and I FINALLY got it!

Nick came and found me in the paddock and asked me if I signed up for a two up ride with one of the instructors. I was hesitant but Nick said that he believed it would help me in Lightning’s bowl! He didn’t take no for an answer and said as soon as he came back from his previous two up ride we would go out. I got on back on the FZ1 and could not believe how hard Nick could get a motorcycle to brake and still get it to turn and right on apex! I believe that my understanding of how and why we rev match coupled with confronting my fear of using the brakes hard and still getting the bike to the apex got me bumped to the advanced group with my track day organization! Why? Because I was afraid of the brakes. I was secretly terrified of not being able to stop the bike without running of course.

On this particular first session on Sunday morning, at Thunderbolt, I was just warming up my tires (COLD TIRES), my bike, my body and my mind when a coach came past me and gave me a thumbs up. I stuck with him through the corners and he kept looking back and giving me thumbs up. He tried to lose me and then I passed him and rode a lap or two. He came past me again but this time he pumped his fist ecstatically! After the session ended, he motioned for me to follow him back to hot pit then asked me if I had any interest in riding in the advanced group because I cannot learn anything more in the intermediate group! It’s an awesome feeling when someone recognizes how much hard work, dedication and commitment that I put into my riding.

Big thanks to Nick, Chris, Kyle, Esaiah, Keith, Rob @ N2 and I apologize profusely if I am forgetting anyone.”


“Keith,

Hey man let me start out by saying that the class was without a doubt the single best motorcycle event I’ve ever been in. Thank you again to all the guys that brought it all together.
Please share with the instructors that if I were to sum it up in three words it would be “Enlightening, Humbling and AMAZING!” You guys showed me what I was doing right, what I needed to do “more right” and what I needed to change all together. I’m a different rider today than I was 2 days ago and I will be better for it forever.

Thanks again!”

– Matt (Rasmussen)


 

“I took the 3-Day course with YCRS last year and was hands down one of the best experiences I’ve had. I’ve always rode motorcycles but never on a track before and was amazed with the amount of information I learned in a short period of time. It’s helped me be a better rider every day on the street and now for my track days. I was hooked immediately! The coaches at YCRS are next level and have figured out how to get through to the students and really make sense of everything. TONS of riding time on the track and breaking up the riding with some classroom was a perfect mix. You get out of it what you put in and it was a blast. I went skydiving 2 days before jumping on the back of Shane Turpin’s bike at YCRS and I have to say, it made skydiving feel like nap time. Looking forward to doing it again in the future!”

steven-greenwalt

– Steven Greenwalt


 

“Had been riding on the track since 2006. I was relatively fast but always felt like was on the edge. When I would look at my photos from the track, I never was happy with my body position. I heard YCRS was shutting down at Miller, so booked my school immediately. My riding was transformed in two days. I am an experienced rider, but I feel like the 7 years of track riding leading up to the YCRS was a preamble to my motorcycle life. Also, having Scott Russell follow you around and comment on your riding has to be one of the highlights of my motorcycle ‘career’.”

sandeep-teja

– Sandeep Teja


 

Meet Lindsey Willis.

Lindsey came to the school a timid track day rider, and left with a whole new level of confidence. Here is her success story! Thanks Lindsey!

“I attended YCRS only three years after learning how to ride a motorcycle. I have attended a few track days and some track day coaching. My plan for the season was just to do more track days, but my goal was to be good enough to be racing in two or three years. When I had the opportunity to attend the YCRS program, I told myself I am going to learn as much as I can, take lots of notes and DO everything they tell me to do. To learn everything the right way. To listen to everything they say even if I needed to take baby steps to get there.

After my first day of my two day school, I felt incredible! I went in with minimal experience and after just one day I felt I had improved by leaps and bounds. The second day was even better as I applied the things I learned and digested even more new information. In just two days I evolved from a timid track rider to a capable rider in control of the bike with a plan and ready to go racing.

My plan to ride a few track days quickly changed into the confidence to race a full season. Three weeks later I started my first race season as a novice. I progressed quickly through the season using the skills I had learned at the school. I raced a little twin against people on fully built 600’s and came out a winner because I was doing the right things at the right time.

I have been racing 2 years now, and I still refer to the notes I took at the school that week. Thank you Nick, Ken and Scott for helping me ride faster, safer, smoother and more importantly for making my dream of racing a reality.”

lindsey-willis

– Lindsey Willis

YCRS GRADUATE
2 time (2012, 2013) Women’s GTO Champion
2 time (2012, 2013) Lightweight Endurance Champion


 

“I’d summarize YCRS like this: best practices for any rider (the personal nature of the coaching and coaching staff) for any situation (from the seasoned racer – consider the pros that turn to Nick, Ken, Shane, Scott, and the rest of the staff to for the next step – to the trackday veteran to the street rider) to understand how the bikes reacts and responds to the inputs. This helps the rider win championships, get the most from trackdays, and most importantly saves lives on the track and on the street.”

kubricky1

– Chris Kubricky


We would like to take a moment to recognize Kat Zimpel 86!

“Kat came to YCRS during the early stages of her time on a motorcycle. That same year, she ventured back to us at YCRS multiple times to invest in her riding skills. Just following her time with us, Kat felt she was comfortable enough with her skill set to take it to the races, and what she has done since is incredible! Not only has Kat had great success with her skills, she has become a multi-time Amateur National Champion. Kat continues to attend our schools as she feels there is always something to be learned.”

zat-zimpel

– Kat Zimpel



 

“Ok, so I’ve been doing trackdays since 1995 and have taken several schools/instructional days over the years. I’d always wanted to add the Yamaha Champions Riding School (formerly Freddie Spencer School) to that list, but flying out to UT or NV made it cost- and vacation time- prohibitive. When the opportunity arose to take a private school organized by a fellow NESBA member at my home track, NJ Motorsports Park, I seized the opportunity and signed up. I’d heard that this school, unlike the others, teaches trailbraking, and that was my main impetus for wanting to take it. I’d been trained my entire riding career to only brake whilst the bike was straight up, get off the brakes, and then turn in. I was therefore skeptical about the whole trailbraking “mystique”. I was doubtful. I was nervous. I thought if I ever tried trailbraking I would fall down. I figured it was a technique useful and necessary for racers, but not for an average trackday/street rider like me.

The first day started by meeting the staff, introducing yourself, listening to a discussion of what the team calls “non-negotiables”, and stating your goals for the school. Mine, of course, were to begin learning trailbraking and improve acceleration at corner exit. I’ve been a fan of Nick Ienatsch’s since reading “The Pace” many years ago, and it guided my street riding, so I was looking forward to what his teachings had to offer for the track. Following the introductions and outline for the school was a van ride around the course. The first day we were riding on NJMP’s smaller Lightning course. I yelled “shotgun” and hopped into the van that Nick was piloting. Fasten your seatbelts, this is quite an eye-opening ride! Nick was maneuvering the van in such a manner to show just how important and how much control your brakes give you for steering. Hard braking is done straight up and down, but the brakes are “trailed off” in the corner. Perhaps 1-2% of braking power is all that’s needed to set the geometry and point the bike to the apex. I looked forward to getting on my motorcycle and giving it a go! We survived the van ride without incident, although we did come pretty close to the armco!

Out on course, there were four of us with our instructor, Shane. His bike had the brake light enabled, allowing us to see just how far into the corner he trailed the brakes. I started giving it a try. At first, I slowed too soon to continue trailing into the corner, but I was determined. Shane took us to the paddock and we practiced smooth braking, trailing off, until we had a handle on it. I was starting to get a feel for it. The rest of the day, after a couple of sessions of “follow the leader”, consisted of working on certain drills a lap at a time, stressing topics such as smooth acceleration (slow hands), body position (look GP), smooth release of the clutch, followed by some open lapping practice.

The second day found us on NJ Motorsports Park’s signature track, Thunderbolt. I prefer this course. The day started again with a van ride. This time I was in Ken’s van. He did some extra circles around the paddock after we came off course, demonstrating how getting on the gas widens your circle of travel. I’m thankful the vans are equipped with several well-placed “oh shit” handles.

This time our group of four went out with Mark. More follow the leader, then lap-at-a-time drills like the previous day. Fun! I am definitely getting a feel for trailing my brakes. During free lapping time, if the instructors aren’t out on the course with us, they are watching us come around various corners. Nick confirms that I am indeed trailing my brakes into corners. In two corners, they have an additional cone, placed in a spot where they say you can trailbrake up to. I don’t trail all the way to the cone, but it’s something to continue working on. I’m realizing that trailbraking, and braking longer, lighter into turns is giving me a level of control over my motorcycle that I’ve never experienced before.

The last exercise of the day consists of the instructors giving you a “problem” to ride around. Examples included no front brake, broken clipon, you’re hurt and can’t hang off. When I pulled up to the instructors for my last lap of this exercise, and the last lap of the school, it seemed like they were all discussing what my last “problem” would be. “Judy, no trailbraking this lap”. “Aw, I’ve spent the last two days learning it. Well, ok.” So, I went out and rode like I had prior to the school…off the brakes, then turn in. Revelation! Epiphany! I felt so out of control riding like that. It really drove home the point about how much you can control your motorcycle with the brakes.
I am no longer skeptical.

I didn’t fall down.

I’m a believer.”

judy-herlich

– Judy Herlich


 

Meet Gauge Rees.

12 Year old Roadracer and YCRS success story.

His father Kelly tells us his story:

“As the Father of a young, aspiring Roadracer I am always looking for ways to help my son achieve his goals and dreams. Proper instruction is one of the most important aspects of our program.

When we heard about the Yamaha Champions Riding School we knew this was one of the best opportunities we could ever have. After our first school my son had dropped lap times, fixed a lot of bad habits and was feeling much more confident in his abilities. I was so impressed we attended 2 more schools. With the help of the YCRS Instructors my 12 year old went on to win the Production 250 Championship and take 2nd in both the Moto3 and LTWT Endurance Championships last year.

Championships are great but as a parent our childs safety comes first.

With over 3500 track miles since his first school my son hasn’t crashed a bike. Not once.

I give all of the credit to the YCRS Staff who taught my son the skills needed to be “Faster Safer”. Walking away from a Championship season without injury or damage to the equipment is something you cant put a price tag on. The school(s) were worth every penny spent.

Thank you YCRS Staff!.”

gauge-rees

– Gauge Rees


 

“I attended YCRS on Sept. 9&10, 2013. I still can’t put in words my experience, as they all fall short, but here’s some observations. I truly enjoyed the time at YCRS. In 33 years of riding it was the best thing I could have done to further maximize and enjoy the time I spend on a motorcycle, sportbike or cruiser. All drills expand on what you know and what you are learning. There is so much that you take in, yet you don’t feel like its rushed or crammed down your throat. The one on one feedback helps you to have a plan for your next laps. Video review truly helps you understand exactly what you are and aren’t doing right. You are constantly told, “If you need something you aren’t getting just ask.” I asked for more one on one. I asked for a two-up with Ken. I asked for specific track position help, Everything that I asked for, I not only received, but was asked if I needed more or again. There are so many elements to the school that it would be impossible for me to cover them all. I will say that I wouldn’t trade the time I spent at YCRS for anything. I will attend again. Nick says this school will change your life. Did it change mine? Yes, regarding motorcycle riding, it definitely did. The proof of that was on the first ride with friends once I returned home. One of my friends who I’ve ridden with for 4 years immediately commented how much smoother my riding had become. Further proof was in the new rear tire that wasn’t destroyed like ones before it had been and still looked new after 800 miles. That had never happened. I feel different on the bike now. I think more about what I’m doing. I always have a plan. I highly recommend YCRS and the exceptional team they have. Go. You won’t regret it.”

edward-kustoff

– Edward Kustoff


“Before my two-day experience with YCRS last September I came with a fear of trailbraking and highly skeptical of foot peg weighting. The first time I rode my own bike with the skills I learned from the best instructors in the world was so amazing. That ride was as much fun as the first time I learned to ride a motorcycle. I felt more connected and confident to the motorcycle I had been riding for 10 months and 8000miles prior. Nick, Ken, Scott, Shane, Mark, and my day-2 instructor George Grass teach the best way to ride any motorcycle. Which is also the fastest and safest way. Can’t wait to learn from them again this year.”

julius-lucero

– Julius Lucero


 

Meet Dave Leamer
Dave attended YCRS 6 months ago and is already excited to return. Here’s Dave’s success story!

“Can’t believe how excited I am to see YCRS is back!! I was there just 6 months ago and ready to return in 2014. Education second to none, and the candid conversations with Ken Hill, Nick Ienatsch, Shane Turpin, Scott Russell, and Dale will never be forgotten. They are hillarious. Learned so much in my 3 days to make me faster/safer and built some freindships with people all over the US.”

dave-leamer

– Dave Leamer YCRS Graduate


 

“As a 20+ year motorcyclist and 10+ yrs of track riding, I’ve been to many rider/racing schools and training camps. It was recommended that I try the YCRS. I signed up for the 3-day course. Once I arrived it was pretty different right from the start. The entire school is designed for the rider. Everything about YCRS is geared toward teaching the student to be a better rider as I discovered very quickly. Nick and his team were able to find every bad habit I had on the track and they started working with me right away on day one. Not many schools cater to each rider as an individual. YCRS is not a cookie cutter school forcing everyone through the same curriculum. As I progressed through the school, you can see how it’s designed to support each rider, regardless of the students current skill set on or off the track. YCRS is head and shoulders above all others schools that I’ve been to. I’m a stronger and safer rider with what I gained. I will be a repeat student of theirs and I highly recommend it. If you ride a motorcycle, you need to take this school!”

press_social_SI

– #23 Si – YCRS Graduate – NESBA Control Rider


 

“It’s amazing how Yamaha Champions Riding School completely changed my driving habits, let alone riding habits. I apply every technique I learned on a motorcycle to my every day drive. Something so simple as Scott Russell, Ken Hill, and Nick Ienatsch’s braking technique is applied everywhere I drive… or “the umbrella that covers us all..” Now, I am even more focused, more conscientious of not “crashing the coffee” in everything I do. Amazing.”

– Jacob H


 

“I started riding on a Racetrack at age 27 in 2010, I crashed my brains out every other week, my crash chances every weekend were 50/50. In 2011 I finally pulled the plug and realized to step back and look at what I was doing. I went to YCRS, and got instructions by some of the greatest instructors I know… I learned what I needed to get the best out of me, my bike and the experience. I would describe my riding style as young and dumb before I attended the school and as mature and target orientated after. It took me a while to get everything in my head, but in the last 3 years that I could fully use the knowledge that I gained at the school I made it up to a significant amount of podium finishes in the hard battled Midwest CCS Series and finished the 2013 Season with 3 out of 4 Titles in the Expert unlimited Classes. I will definitely go and take the school again, and I can only recommend the same to everyone that is serious about riding. At the school the guys said the knowledge you learn will pay for itself, I can truly say that in the tear before YCRS I spend more than double the Money in Crash repairs than I spend at the school. Thanks guys! you guys made me a true Champion!”

– Stefan Dolipski


 

“I’m so glad that YCRS is coming back; it definitely made the biggest improvement in our skill level and confidence and we will be coming back for another go :)”

– Laurie


 

“I attended YCRS on Sept. 9&10, 2013. I still can’t put in words my experience, as they all fall short, but here’s some observations. I truly enjoyed the time at YCRS. In 33 years of riding it was the best thing I could have done to further maximize and enjoy the time I spend on a motorcycle, sportbike or cruiser. All drills expand on what you know and what you are learning. There is so much that you take in, yet you don’t feel like its rushed or crammed down your throat. The one on one feedback helps you to have a plan for your next laps. Video review truly helps you understand exactly what you are and aren’t doing right. You are constantly told, “If you need something you aren’t getting just ask.” I asked for more one on one. I asked for a two-up with Ken. I asked for specific track position help, Everything that I asked for, I not only received, but was asked if I needed more or again. There are so many elements to the school that it would be impossible for me to cover them all. I will say that I wouldn’t trade the time I spent at YCRS for anything. I will attend again. Nick says this school will change your life. Did it change mine? Yes, regarding motorcycle riding, it definitely did. The proof of that was on the first ride with friends once I returned home. One of my friends who I’ve ridden with for 4 years immediately commented how much smoother my riding had become. Further proof was in the new rear tire that wasn’t destroyed like ones before it had been and still looked new after 800 miles. That had never happened. I feel different on the bike now. I think more about what I’m doing. I always have a plan. I highly recommend YCRS and the exceptional team they have. Go. You won’t regret it.”

– Edward Kustoff


 

“I attended the Yamaha riding class last summer and it was an amazing experience in so many ways. Before the class, I almost quit riding…now I want to ride everywhere. I would really like another class to gain more confidence on the track. Thank you!!”

– Fabian P.


 

“I’d summarize YCRS like this: best practices for any rider (the personal nature of the coaching and coaching staff) for any situation (from the seasoned racer – consider the pros that turn to Nick, Ken, Shane, Scott, and the rest of the staff to for the next step – to the trackday veteran to the street rider) to understand how the bikes reacts and responds to the inputs. This helps the rider win championships, get the most from trackdays, and most importantly saves lives on the track and on the street.”

– Chris K


 

“I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun I had at YCRS last year. It really was all that !!!! When I heard that it was done I had a knot in my stomach. I kinda figured that you guys would pop up somewhere else. I have never experienced so much enthusiasm (piss& vinegar) then I have at your school and you guys were not just gonna go away. Then to find out that YCRS is gonna base out of NJMP “my home track” who the freak has it better than me? You guys will have at least 10 new students this season at NJMP plus me. I’m gonna start signing peeps up this week .”

– Jimmy


 

“I had been riding on the track since 2006. I was relatively fast but always felt like was on the edge. When I would look at my photos from the track, I never was happy with my body position. I heard YCRS was shutting down at Miller, so booked my school immediately. My riding was transformed in two days. I am an experienced rider, but I feel like the 7 years of track riding leading up to the YCRS was a preamble to my motorcycle life. Also, having Scott Russell follow you around and comment on your riding has to be one of the highlights of my motorcycle “career”.

– Sandeep Teja


 

“I just wanted to let you know…last Sunday ride…perfect day…big Kula highway right hand blind sweeper. Yes, maybe I was going a little fast (80?) and being somewhat of an asshole ;)… anyway, cone drill etc. prevented both me and my shiny 1198S from massive T-bone with Grand Cherokee pulling out for a left turn onto highway. I was looking through the turn and paying attention AND I had a plan—who taught me that? Thank you YCRS and Cone Drill!!! Anyway, bike is still OEM length and so am I…;) So… in short… mahalo… !!! Love ya!!”

– David F


 

“The school was life changing. Your efforts are so appreciated. Undoubtedly, your efforts helped sustain a valuable enterprise. Thank you again.”

– Larry G


 

“You are the VERY BEST at what you do. I instructed for the airlines for years, including training many new Check Airmen. As I used to tell the new Check Airmen, “Anyone can teach the smart ones, but it takes a special talent to help the ones that are struggling a bit.” You have that personality and talent. I’ve attended several motorcycle schools the past ten years and my first experience was at Freddie’s school in Las Vegas. As a new student, I was a bit intimidated and quite frankly, not that good. You never made me feel like a “newbie” and I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that. Your enthusiasm and love for motorcycling is phenomenal. Thanks again.”

– Tom M


 

“I attended your school last year with the Harley guys (I was the one with the recently operated on knee that I was using as my excuse for poor riding). I just want to say thanks and it is incredible how much I got out of your school…..I dropped about a second a lap at almost every local track I race at employing the techniques I learned at YCRS. I still feel like I am learning each time I go out. Great stuff.”

– Wes O


 

“This is Bryan Miletta, one of the Showa guys who attended YCRS with the Harley guys. I am really hoping you start up some schools for the 2014 year and beyond. The benefit your school provides to myself and then in turn what I can provide to my company is amazing! Please keep in touch about future schools as I wish to stay enrolled with your programs as well as keep my fellow employees at Showa involved.”

– Bryan M.


 

“On October 14th and 15th, I was fortunate to enroll in my second class with the Yamaha Champions Riding School. To sum up my experiences simply, I’ve been so blown away by the school and its instructors. They offer an extraordinary program that really transforms the riding of everyone who’s fortunate enough to participate. I wanted to make sure I took the opportunity to express what a dramatic impact that the school has on riders (and consumers) like me. I’m a better rider for attending the school and it has instilled a passion to keep riding.”

– Zack C.


 

“You guys do it right: professional, fun, informative, and a culture you could actually feel as a student. I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times before but you guys save lives and put smiles on people’s faces.

My riding career is in its 4th year, you guys helped me in ways I cannot quantify and made me realize my 2 days at YCRS were the end of the beginning of my journey; it was at a tipping point from where I was to where I could go. I enjoy the track and I’ll do my 6-12 days a year, but really enjoy the learning and attention to detail; for street and track, and you guys really have it down, both for a guy like me and the racer/track day junkie.

There’s a lot of information on how to ride out there, a lot of bad information and some good, but it’s sometimes hard to find in the haze of nonsensical rants and positional decrees related to body position, braking, etc. All I know is you made me faster and safer and more in control of my mind and my bike, plus I had a blast and it was fun to be on the track with all those pros. I mean I have a photo of me just behind Bradley Smith for Gods sake (just behind for just a second and then he was gone of course, but still…).”

– DB


 

“I told him (The President of Yamaha US) I attended your school and I learned so much. I told him you did a wonderful job of promoting Yamaha throughout the program and it’s the most professional school I ever attended. I went on to tell him how important I think the school for the industry. He told me he really appreciated to hear such feedback and he thought you and the school are a great fit for Yamaha. Anyway, just wanted you to know.”

– Eric Z


 

“Your team has made me a much better street rider. In addition to all the street vigilance, every time I throw a leg over I think about sliding back in the seat, being smooth on the controls (first 5% and last 5%) and looking through the turn. I also remind myself to brake till I’m happy with speed and direction. Great advice! Thanks again, and I can’t wait to take your class again. Don’t crash your coffee.”

– Marc W.


 

“I consider YCRS one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of. You simply could never ask for a better environment with you guys out there, for riding or life in general. Damn I had fun.”

– LF


 

“The skills and experiences that YCRS gives to riders of ALL levels is something that should not be missed. It is unfortunate that much of the motorcycling industry is blind to what matters – the riders. I’ve meet so many industry folks that are in it for themselves and looking for what they can get out of the industry and YCRS and its instructors was always about what they could give back without the caveat of what it could do for them.”

– Chris


 

“This school is special and the instructors are unique in their own right. Who knows how many lives they have saved but we know without a doubt they made anyone who took the course and bothered to listen better, safer, and faster riders. I’m grateful I had the chance to learn from them and the amazing staff they had assembled. Having just returned from a week long ride though the Italian and Swiss alps I can report first-hand that my ability to ride and enjoy technical roads was improved immeasurably by YCRS.”

– David B.


 

“On my one visit at Laguna, I found YCRS to be the best I have ever attended, and its service to riders is exemplary. My very best wishes for future activities.”

– John J.


 

“I do want you to know that my time at YCRS (exactly 1 year ago this week!) was PRICELESS! I can hear comments in my head whenever I ride that I received (directly or indirectly) from the YCRS gang ALL the time! I have had so many comments from the instructors and other riders at my Track Days and I always tell them that it is 100% attributable to my time at YCRS! Other riders will tell me that they love to follow me to try and mimic my body positioning and to try to be as smooth on the throttle and brakes as I am. One of the corner workers asked me, “is there anywhere that you are not smooth?” 🙂 My week with the YCRS gang last year was one of the best weeks of my life! :)”

– Jane


 

“I’m really glad I got to take your school; it changed the way I ride.”

-Judy


 

“You can stand proud of the sum results of your work, faster safer riders across the country. When I first received your instruction ten years ago at the Freddie Spencer Riding School, I shared my newfound knowledge and insights with my sons, Jason and Ryan and with many friends who viewed me as the “expert”. You saw firsthand how my sons applied my secondhand instruction to become amazing riders before they attended your school for the first time. Your instruction is “viral”, although only a pale imitation of instruction from you, your students, especially repeat students, are pushing YCRS to exponentially more riders who have not had the privilege of riding with you.”

– Young H.


 

“Sam and I had a wonderful time, we have done many fun and wonderful things in our lives and we both agreed this was one of our best experiences ever…excluding the honeymoons. My hot laps with Scott, what can I possibly say. At the end of the course I’m not sure if my brain or my body got the hardest work out. Sam and I are looking forward to the first open track day. Thank you again and I cannot wait until our paths cross again.”

– Jacob


 

“As the Father of a young, aspiring Roadracer I am always looking for ways to help my son achieve his goals and dreams. Proper instruction is one of the most important aspects of our program. When we heard about the Yamaha Champions Riding School we knew this was one of the best opportunities we could ever have. After our first school my son had dropped lap times, fixed a lot of bad habits and was feeling much more confident in his abilities. I was so impressed we attended 2 more schools. With the help of the YCRS Instructors my 12 year old went on to win the Production 250 Championship and take 2nd in both the Moto3 and LTWT Endurance Championships last year. Championships are great but as a parent our childs safety comes first. With over 3500 track miles since his first school my son hasn’t crashed a bike… not once. I give all of the credit to the YCRS Staff who taught my son the skills needed to be “Faster Safer”. Walking away from a Championship season without injury or damage to the equipment is something you cant put a price tag on. The school(s) were worth every penny spent. Thank you YCRS Staff!”

– Kelly R.