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International Laguna Seca Track day on a BMW S1000RR - CSS Level 3

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by Morbo28, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. Hi All,

    I was posting these on Facebook and thought the NR community might want to check them out. I recently returned from the US and since I was going there I couldn't pass up the opportunity to ride around Laguna Seca (truth be told we booked the 2 months trip around when the ride day was available - my wife's a champ!)

    I booked in to a California Superbike School, into Level 3, as I had completed the first two levels here in Australia. Also I have wanted to ride the BMWS1000RR so this was a great way to do both as that's the hire bike over there!

    For those who have done the Aussie school - it's exactly the same setup. As well as running the one day Level 1, 2 and 3 schools and the Level 4 tailored training day, they also have two-day camps, where you can use things like the slide bike, lean bike and other goodies.

    Price - it was a lot cheaper than in Aus - about US$660 US for the day including Level 3, Bike hire, Leather, helmet, gloves and boots hire and a good, healthy and filling lunch and snacks.

    Oh and side note...anyone that did CSS or track days at PI or EC might remember the lovely 'Missy', an American CSS staffer who was over here working in Aus for a season one time. Well she was working at this track day too and was pretty surprised to have someone recognise her from Australia.

    Anyhoo, enough talk, here's some pics of the day:

    Early morning start - sensational weather:

    The hire bikes - the amazing BMW S1000RR:

    Riding through the famous Corkscrew and other riding pics:



    This bike was unbelievable! They start you in rain mode to tame it down a bit for the first session; it still performed well, but you could feel you were a little removed from everything. I then put it in to Sport, then Race mode and Jeebus, did that thing sharpen up and increase in power.

    I had a brief moment when the rear kicked out a little on the exit of Turn 3 (see the circuit map below) when I was riding on the ripple strip. It was quite predictable and on turns 4 and 10 it would spin up a little through the corners. The biggest moment came when I was heading up the hill (towards the Corkscrew) and I underestimated just how much power that thing had in third gear; I lofted the front pretty high and had to get that under control in time to brake for the Corkscrew!


    A rider debrief with the instructor (one instructor per three riders) after each session:

    One thing I really liked was that as well as having the usual on-track training then feedback with your instructor, they also video you from behind and for one or two of the sessions, you head into the trailer and review the footage to see where you can improve and critique your riding (unfortunately I didn't get a copy of that footage!)

    Posing with the man himself - Keith Code was there, though he did not specifically instruct any groups.

    The Slide Bike they use in the two day camps and sometimes between sessions (I didn't ride it unfortunately). They wet the surface and teach you how to control different sorts of slides:

    Overall I quite liked the track - The Corkscrew you expect to be steep but even knowing that it's still a surprise to pop over that crest and see how big the drop off is. In a small way it is reminiscent of coming over Lukey Heights - cresting into the unknown and having to use visual reference points that are not the track ahead. You're pointing pretty steeply downhill when you do the change of direction in the corkscrew.

    But what was most surprising was just how steep Turn 9 is...I just didn't get a sense of that playing Gran Tourismo haha

    The 'Turn 1', which is basically a kink in the straight requires a lot more steering through than I imagined. Since you're gong relatively quickly by the time you hit it, it's quite a significant steering input. I thought it would be a casual kink to get through, but you're leaned over quite a way and at full throttle about to snap off the power for the left hand double apex hairpin. It sort of reminds me of Turn 3 at PI - that kink between southern loop and Honda hairpin. It tended to get a little unsettled.

    The track is much slower than Philip Island and Eastern Creek. Interestingly it also tends to be corner - straight - corner - repeat. Rather than having flowing complexes of multiple corners. An iconic track for sure! For pure riding pleasure looking at repeat riding, I think I prefer EC and PI, but it was an absolute ball and was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

    Done! Off to find a beer in the beautiful Monterey - such a great little town.
    • Like Like x 16
  2. I dislike you muchly.

    Im sorry thats the green eyed monster speaking.
  3. Oh my.... you've just lived my dream right there. $660?!!! Wow, that's amazing. Need to work out a holiday now. Thanks for the post.
  4. Wow! That's an awesome way to spend a day, riding the best sports bike in the world on a track when it's someone else's bike!

    Almost worth heading over there just to do CSS.


    So very jealous.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. That's too good buddy,Kieth Code is a master.

    • Like Like x 1
  6. Thanks guys, and you're welcome :)

    I've set the bar pretty high now - whenever I do a holiday I'm going to try to fit in a track day. The easiest way would be to do it in countries that have CSS as I know how it works and they're easy to find. But I'll look at other options.

    Highly recommend it!
  7. I just popped in here to re-read this again... <sigh> that would've been an amazing day! You've just forced me to rearrange my bucket list some what :D
  8. That's awesome! Would have loved to have done CSS at laguna seca, but there were no days near motogp weekend.
  9. The mrs & I are planning a US trip for 2014, I think you just gave me a very good idea :)
  10. Make sure you post pics! There are plenty of tracks and dates throughout the year, you just need to get onto that website regularly and check when new dates are put up so you don't miss out. Check it out here (clicky).

    The tracks include Willow Springs, Vegas Speedway, Sears Point (Infineon), Thunderbolt Raceway, Barber and Miller and others. So you can either find one that is on at the right time and location to fit your trip , or do what we did and wait til the schedule is out and book your trip around that :D

    Frustratingly the Laguna Seca were the last dates to be announced. Apparently it was rare to have the one day things there, they normally do the 2 day camps (which would be awesome)
    • Like Like x 1
  11. The wife said I should do Laguna, but it also has to coincide with a birthday in Vegas, so we'll see...

    Cheers for the link.
  12. Awesome holiday. I'm very jealous. ;)
  13. Great write up buddy!!!

    Slow day at work??
  14. Screw you Gilesy, it was at 8:30 at night :D
  15. Booked in for the 2 day camp, April 3rd & 4th :D
  16. An evil seed has been sowed...
  17. Hey SWEET! You get all the extra cool toys then (I think you'll probably get the slide bike and lean bike etc) I sense a NR group excursion :)

    Take pics! it's a fun track and doing the corkscrew is awesome, you feel like you're in a computer game!