July 28, 2003: Track School with Cornerspeed.net
VIR full course – couldn’t pass it up. The full course combines both north & south course for an incredible 3.27 miles with elevation changes and breathtaking high-speed straights. Aaron Stevenson, who we met last year at a Carolina Motorsports Park (Kershaw) track day, runs Cornerspeed. He was a very personable guy and we we figured if we ever enrolled in a riding school it would be his. So, we couldn’t pass-up the first opportunity for “full track” VIR and attending Aaron’s school.
The end of July anywhere in the southeast is hot and muggy, all the more reason to enjoy being in an air conditioned classroom in between sessions. School started promptly at 9:00am after Aaron’s rider’s meeting. We all took a moment of silence and payed tribute to a WERA racer that lost his life at CMP the previous weekend. It was a good moment to reflect and remind ourselves that this is an extremely fun but dangerous sport that requires our respect. After the meeting, all riders, including the school group, were allowed on the track for 2 slow laps. This gave everyone an opportunity to see the track layout before the “official” day began.
School ran for forty minutes while the “enthusiasts” and “racers” had their first session. Then it was our turn on the track. The rider/instructor ratio was an impressive 2 to 1. Ron and I mostly wanted to work on our corner entry, exit, and lines so we hooked-up with an instructor just about every session and followed some incredible riders. An instructor would often come up to us and critique our riding at the end of each session. Between the classroom tips and tracktime critiques, we both graduated from the class much better riders.
Did we have time to enjoy the full course? Oh my….. The front straight at north course and the back straight at south course will leave you reminding yourself to “breathe”. The front straight has a slight 120 mph kink that you must be prepared for … your bike wants to drift, but if you don’t lean into it you will ride into an agricultural experience. I remember reminding myself of this fact when I could see in my peripheral vision another rider plowing the field to my left at around 100 mph. Another rider in front of me saw the same thing, but lost his concentration and proceeded to ride straight through turn one. Neither rider went down, but it sure made me take that kink the right way from then on.
The back straight on south course was incredibly fast. Aaron reminded us that there is a possibility of a little front wheel hang time when you crest the hill towards the end of the straight and that we would probably be running 140-160 mph. I would have liked to have been in the front of the classroom when Aaron said this, I’m sure there were some very large eyeballs peering back at him.
I highly reccommend taking one of Aaron’s schools, even if you are like us and have no interest in racing WERA or CCS. The topics that we covered – corner entry, corner exit, throttle control and how it effects your suspension, riding in the rain, braking – are all skills that we need to improve on. This will make us better riders both on the track and on the road.
We have been going to trackdays for the past year. At our very first track day we enrolled in Sportbiketracktime.com’s Novice School, which was a great introduction to the basics of track riding and taught us to became confident track riders. Cornerspeed added to what we have already learned and sharpened our riding skills even more.