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Alex

Advanced Rider Training at HART

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Recently having a baby and being a born again rider I thought I had better brush up on my road craft. Unlike the UK there is no advanced rider organisations like the IAM or BMF, or with the local police force like the BikeSafe workshops.

So last Saturday I took the first stage of the Advanced course with Honda Australia Rider Training (HART) in St Ives, NSW. Assuming I'd be the only Yamaha rider, out of the six students on the course there was a wide range of bikes, MT09, MT09 Tracer, CBR600RR, BMW R1200 Adventure, Classic Harley and a Kymco 550 Maxi-Scooter.

The HART training facility was purpose-built for police driver training in the early 1960s. Due to this it has some very technical sections. Honda purchased it in 1999 and spent $1.4m redeveloping the 40-acre site to be suitable for rider and driver training courses. 

As the course is conducted on a closed road course it was perfect for putting into practice the techniques learnt throughout the day. Unlike Advanced 2 and 3, the first stage course only uses half the track but it was great to get a lot of laps both directions around a smaller course as it meant we could practice through repetition the tight hairpins and negative camber corners.

hart.JPG

There are three stages to the training:

ADVANCED I - HANDLING DYNAMICS
Half day course for new, or returning, riders who want to enhance and refine their physical riding skills.

ADVANCED II - ROAD CIRCUIT
Focuses on building on the riding techniques learned during Advanced 1 training, focuses on four fundamental aspects of motorcycling: Posture, Throttle Control, Cornering, and Braking.

ADVANCED III - TRACK MASTER 
The Advanced III – Track Master Course is the highest-level motorcycle training offered by HART in Australia. Coached by Troy Herfoss, Australian Superbike Champion.

 

The two most important takeaways I learnt about my riding:

  1. I was riding with tense arms
    I had absolutely no idea I was riding like this.Loosing my arms and shoulders really made it easier to roll through the series of corners.
  2. I was cornering like I would on a track
    I was aiming my ride out of corners as I would on the track, taking up the road rather than finishing tight. After being shown many reasons why wide in, tight out is the best approach I need to rework my cornering.

Video: One of the hairpins, wide in, tight out. 

 

And a few laps on-board with my riding around the track.

 

So the key takeaways for the Advanced Rider Training were:


Posture: the key to everything

  • Ride on the arches on your feet, with your toes outward and slightly downward
  • Knees gripping the fuel tank
  • Sit forward on the bike
  • Arms and hands should be relaxed
  • Back and shoulders should be relaxed
  • Head and eyes should be level to the horizon, pointing to your intended path. Keep scanning with your eyes.
     

Quick stops

  • I was told I should be able to out break my ABS
  • The front break is the most powerful
  • Set-up the brake, then squeeze progressively on the front brake level with four fingers
  • Set-up the back brake to add stability to the bike
  • Keep your head and eyes up to maintain balance and look for an escape route
  • At the last moment, pull in the clutch and change down gears
  • If the front tyre locks, release quickly and re-apply
  • If the back tyre locks, ease off smoothly and re-apply
     

Cornering

  • Plan your corner early, get the speed and gear right before the corner
  • Enter the corner wide for best vision
  • Plan to exit the corner tight, giving yourself more options
  • Turn your head towards the planned exit of the corner, scanning the surface with your eyes
     

Counter-steering

  • To initiate a left turn, push forward on the left handle bar
  • To initiate a right turn, push forward on the right handle bar
  • To straighten up, push forward on the outside bar
     

Rev the engine on down changing (use when slowing and stopping)

  • Roll the throttle off
  • Clutch in
  • Roll the throttle on quickly
  • Push down on the gear lever
  • Ease the clutch out slowly
  • Start combining this technique in conjunction to using the front brake with all fingers

If it feels wrong, you are doing it wrong. If it feels good you're probably doing it right.


How does this compare to the UK training, how do you ride and what tips do you have to further safe riding?

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pretty much what I do now. I havn't been on an advanced riding course (should do really) as I probably picked up some habits.

I love the caveat, only go as fast as the corner will allow, great if you know the corner in question.

Unknown blind corners with no tell tail marking I tend to take it easier. I tend to use the white lines to tell me how the road is, use other signs like railway tracks (roads tend to be 90' going under rail tunnels) and telegraph poles to plot the hidden road ahead.

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I look for the increase in road "furniture" i.e. signs, poles, markers, white lines getting longer and closer, etc. These indicate the severity of the approaching bends or hidden hazards beyond

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@drewpy thinking of corners, what I learnt which I was completely unaware of was how they calculate the recommended speed signs for corners. I assume it's similar in the UK, in Australia the signs show the maximum speed for the corner which gives you five seconds of visibility. I always thought it was based on a 1970's car with crappy brakes ?

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12 hours ago, Alex said:

@drewpy thinking of corners, what I learnt which I was completely unaware of was how they calculate the recommended speed signs for corners. I assume it's similar in the UK, in Australia the signs show the maximum speed for the corner which gives you five seconds of visibility. I always thought it was based on a 1970's car with crappy brakes ?

nothing in the UK, we get the arrows which, the more of them, the sharper the bend.

this isn't fool proof where i've backed off and it was just a little wiggle in the road. maybe different at night though

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