Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Fernandina Beach, FL, USA
BMWNEF STS, a review
Yesterday (Saturday 10/16) I participated in my first, but not last, Sport Touring School (STS) sponsored by the BMW club of NE Florida. The club underwrites the track rental and each member paid $60 (pre-registered) or $80 for day-of. The school takes place at the Jennings GP (1st exit into Florida along I-75).
The STS is not a race school. The idea is to provide a safe environment for learning and riding techniques improvement in a threat-free.
After the preliminary briefings by the track marshal and our STS coordinator the class was divided into 3 groups, A,B & C. "A" being the most experienced and so on. I chose the "B" group. The groups rotated between classroom and track sessions.
Session 1 was devoted to track orientation, slow speed drills, max braking drill, debris avoidance and emergency lane change.
The dreaded "balance beam" is a real laugher. Sounds simple enough, all one has to do is ride, at the slowest possible speed, down 25' of 2 by 12! Try this sometime if you're feeling cocky. A real humbler.
The max performance drill will impress all because of the LT's tremendous braking capabilities. From a standing start, accelerate to about 50-60. At the instructors signal begin maximum braking. The ABS worked flawlessly, stopping me in a straight line, under control and in a remarkably short distance which brought OOOh's and AAAH's from the instructors. This is a great confidence booster, being able to feel the ABS release.
The debris avoidance drill was a series of cones set up in a blind corner. After establishing ones line the cones come into view requiring the rider to alter the line and continue to corner. This is something we do on a regular basis.
The end of session 1 was the instructor(s) leading our group around the track to show the proper lines.
The remaining classroom and track sessions were about picking, and hitting, your turn in point, apex and exit point, and body positioning. Body positioning is difficult on the LT.
The seat does not allow the rider much slide back space and my Corbin seat's rim restricts the much needed side-to-side movement.
I never would have believed I could push "Big Blue" so hard and have her respond accordingly. This is one agile machine. I have no "chicken strip" left on my tires. I have scuff marks over the entire surface of my Metzler's.
For not being a racing school I sure did a lot of racing! My nemesis was a Hayabusa(sp),
I could out corner him but not overtake him as we came onto the straight-a-way.
This was a great school, very informative and lots of at road speed maneuvering/drills.
If you live in the SE I recommend you join BMWNEF for $20.00/year so you can participate in next year's event. If interested go to: BMWNEF.org for more details.
Safe and happy riding.