By LARRY CORNWELL
Special to The Post and Courier
If you have ever participated in a track session on a motorcycle or raced motorcycles, you know one thing is for certain.
This one thing remains constant no matter if the temperature is cool or hot. It does not matter if it is dry or if it is raining.
Unlike dirt, asphalt maintains its form and consistency. Grip levels will change under dry or wet conditions, temperature changes, mechanical fluids and tire “clag.”
When you ride or race on dirt, several factors change the landscape — the weather, the type of dirt used — and it changes from lap to lap.
I began riding motorcycles much later than a lot of guys. When I started, I started on asphalt. A close friend, Matt Alexander, owner of Hazardous Racing suggested that I take a dirt lesson from renowned rider and instructor Ike De Jager. Long story short, I rode a dirt bike for the first time last week under the watchful eye of Ike.
Ike De Jager instructs riders on how to ride on dirt at his 20/20 Racing Academy. I was only able to go through an abbreviated course. Although I did not take the full course, I walked about with a new-found confidence and a better knowledge of motorcycle controls.
Many do not make the connection, but learning to ride on dirt will make riders more competent and confident on asphalt.
There are so many variables when riding on dirt. When you learn to focus and harness your skills on dirt, conditions and situations on asphalt are tamed by comparison.
Ike believes that a rider’s input determines everything. When you fully comprehend what results your actions create, you become a better rider. “Acquiring knowledge is key to making a better rider,” De Jager¬ said.
On the dirt one has to exercise quick, but controlled reactions. The dirt also requires more movement by the rider on the bike. A rider must be fast but smooth in moving their body forward, back and side to side.
“A rider’s input determines everything that the bikes does,” De Jager said.
As the title implies, this is just a preview. Once I get a chance to experience the entire course I will write a full review. However, if you are interested in being faster on the track with your sport bike and or safer on the street, check Ike’s 20/20 Racing Academy in Chester, S.C. yourself.
Oh and I almost forgot one last thing. It may sound crazy to some, but the more competent and safer a rider you are, the more fun you will have riding. Ask any professional, and they will tell you the same
For more information on the 20/20 Racing Academy visit www.2020racingacademy.com.
Larry Cornwell is an automotive journalist based in the Charlotte area.