urn 4 is right again and sets up the

Jump, a small hill that drops away quickly. It's a great opportunity to try for some air. The hard landing sets up the braking zone before Turn 5 and Turn 5a, a pair of closely linked turns named the Esses that stir the soul and offer novices and experts alike a place to practice moving their weight around above the bike. April Eby has been riding for six years.

She started on a 1981 Honda CB650 Cus- tom and moved on to a Triumph Scram- bler. She purchased her S 1000 RR in 2014 after joining BMW SEM's service team as a technician. She credits a friend's father with teaching her to think like a mechanic and analyze problems. With some gentle prodding from Audrey and John, she joined the track pack from the dealership for the first time. Each track day starts with the basics:

reading flags and reading the track in the classroom. The first session is all about finding your way around the track, with a chance for the control riders and instruc- tors to check out the novice class. Next up, riders are grouped based on basic skills and comfort level with speed and then taken through the no brakes drill—lapping the track without using your brakes. A third classroom session covers riding in one gear and what to expect from that, followed by a track session of practice. “I scared myself a bit. I had no idea I

could ride like that,” April said. “It's just not an option on the street; I had to come here to find that out.” She admitted to being nervous leading up to the day, both for her- self as a rider and for her bike. “I was wor- ried about falling or crashing, or pushing myself too hard, but I made it.” The group- ings of like-skilled (or speedy) riders helped her get comfortable riding on the track, and she felt like she learned at a good pace. “Both the same-gear drill and the body positioning drill were big eye-open- ers for me. I can see how body position will be useful on the road, not in a ‘hang off in every turn way,’ but knowing that I can push the bike around under me to gain some traction. I can imagine a situation that is really pushing my envelope turning into a more manageable one now that I have more riding technique.”

April Eby practices body position. After lunch, the novices returned to the

classroom and discussed body position. A demo bike was brought in so that riders could feel what various degrees of hanging off feel like while stationary. The following riding session focused on moving the bike around underneath the rider. A final class- room session tied the day’s teachings together, and the novice riders went out for a lead/follow drill in which instructors evaluated them, then cut loose to lead their groups. April said, “The lead lap session, where I

got to ride out front for a lap and be closely evaluated by the control rider, was both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. I knew at that point that I was riding okay, but I was still a bit nervy, not sure how I looked or how the instructor would see me as a rider.” After April’s successful solo evaluation, April and Audrey took to the track together, with Audrey taking the lead to help pull April along. “I thought I was doing pretty well,” April laughed. “I'm glad I did all the drills first. Keeping up with my group was easy. Audrey? Not so much.” Cresting the exit of the Esses, it's down

into Turn 6, the Bowl. A real-deal Monza- style bowl turn, complete with camber that looks like the banks at Daytona when you're picking your line. The most fun line is not always the fastest line through the Bowl; going high is fast, but going low feels

insanely cool due to the pool-like drop-in entrance. Like shooting the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca, you are better off letting your machine do the work while you sit back and enjoy the ride. Lead instructor Mike “Kozy” Kozykoski

talked about his experiences teaching and how he came to own a 2014 S 1000 R. “I had to put my money where my mouth was!” he laughed. A big fan of the S 1000 RR after seeing so many students succeed on the bike, he told John at BMW of Southeast Michigan that he'd finally get a BMW when they made a naked version. “I think I bought the first one they shipped, and I love it!” Mike likes the riding position, say- ing, “It's especially good for a taller guy, and the throttle is so very smooth. It's a bona-fide track bike.” Off the track, he takes it slow on an Electra Glide, because “slow is okay, too.” Kozy's infectious laugh burbled along continuously as he recalled once riding “slow enough to be passed in the rain by a Gold Wing with the radio on. Now that was slow.” Twelve years of teaching with Sportbike

Track Time at tracks east of the Mississippi has given Kozy perspective on tracks and learning. “Grattan is by far my favorite. The diversity of turns is amazing. There is no other track like it in the U.S.,” he says. His favorite students are the ones who don't expect to learn, but do, and his favorite

September 2016 BMW OWNERS NEWS 93

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