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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As promised on another thread, here is a short review of the Schwantz school at Barber Park (if this is in the wrong forum, feel free to move):

My background: I haven't done any trackdays (yet), but I've taken Freddie's school at Miller twice, so I'm not a complete newbie. I was somewhere in the middle speed-wise at Schwantz's school. There were a couple of amateur racers (complete with race bikes, tire warmers, rain tires, etc.), but most of the crowd seemed similar to me--experienced street riders who were looking for better track skills.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience, and I thought it was worth the money. With that in mind, I'll be frank and give you a critical opinion on my experience:

- I like the style of track instruction. We were given a few goals for each session, split up into small groups by pace, and then did laps following (or being followed-by) an instructor. They were very flexible and tried to work around the rain to maximize the number of laps. Even though it wasn't a free track session, I never felt bored with the pace.

- I didn't get as much feedback as I expected the first day, especially considering the high instructor to student ratio (7/12?) However, the second day was much better. To be fair, I'm a quiet guy, so maybe I should have solicited more attention?

- Kevin Schwantz is an integral part of the school, rather than just a figurehead. He was involved in every aspect, from schlepping leathers to turning perfect laps for the camera. Not to mention that he is friendly, approachable, funny, and a genuinely cool guy.

- There was tons of knowledge and experience being passed along in the classroom, but sometimes I found it to be a bit vague and occasionally inconsistent. Once or twice they referred to a technique as "advanced" and glossed over it or dismissed it altogether. This is quite different from Freddie's school, where there honestly didn't seem to be any "advanced" techniques--if they felt it was a good way to ride a bike fast, they taught it.

- They had two guys circling the tracks with camera bikes to film students and then analyzed the footage in the classroom. This was by far my favorite classroom experience, and I learned the most there. I only wish that there had been more of this.

- On the second day, they did a "track walk" where we would stand on different corners and watch the instructors ride while Kevin Schwantz explained things. Very cool, and very helpful.

- Two random things that I learned: we talked about how Schwantz learns a new track, and we had a very interesting discussion about shifting & slipper clutches (ad hoc discussion)

- When I first arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Mitch Boehm is involved with the school. He's a walking encyclopedia of motorcycle knowledge! In person, he's very easy-going and affable. Definitely a cool guy to learn from.

- I got to ride both a Honda CBR and a Suzuki GSXR on the same track, which was a nice way to compare the two.

- Last, but not least: everybody with the school is very friendly and made me feel welcome. For me, that was a neat part of the whole experience.
 

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Sounds like a good time. I can't wait to get into the track riding.
 

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Sounds like an awesome experience. Thanks for the report.
 

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okay, but... are you faster?
 

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Ok then well that's a mortgage payment and a half for me. 2 and half payments if I do the GP Experience.
 

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If you had to choose one - the Spencer School or the Schwantz School - which would you choose?

Was there a big difference in cost?

Thanks.


Jay
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Spencer's school went out of business late last year. Schwantz's school is quite a bit cheaper, but for me the travel is much further. There were only 12 students at Barber this week, but they said attendence is usually higher (up to 40 I think?). Spencer's school was limited to 20 max, although the second time I went I think there were only 9 or 10 students.

Nick Ienatsch, who was head instructor at Spencer's school, has started a new school with Yamaha at MMP this year. I haven't had a chance to try it yet--I'm saving my pennies, though!
 
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