In Inner Peace with the Violence

Racers are a different breed, especially the ones you can find on top 10 result lists. Then there is the mid-field, which are about to develop something specific- and there is the back of the field which might, or might not make it to the mid-field one day. This doesn’t go for the MotoGP racers btw, because they have it and it is also why they are in MotoGP.

These racers are highly motivated aggressive machines. They are ego driven- no team player type of athletes, and no prisoners making competitors. But where the hell am I seeing a connection to you the regular street rider or amateur racer?! Well, let’s see.

Crashing in MotoGP happens ones or twice in average per race weekend. Their bodies are covered with scars and titanium plates. Blood, bandages and the smell of some kind of pain easing sport lotion on those bruises is your new aftershave cloud. A Mick Doohan almost lost his leg if the doctors wouldn’t have stitched his other leg over it to support blood circulation. He joined the championship in the same year, but he lost the title. Impressive huh?!

A Jorge Lorenzo crashes and breaks his collarbone again (that bone goes most of the time first). He flies home to Barcelona to get fixed up from the doctor he trusts, and he does. Next morning, Jorge flew back to join the race with literally an open wound and ‘gotta get use to it titanium bolts’. Now you can come with another lame one like ‘well, he’s filled up with pain killing injections’, and I’d give you right on this… but what would go through you mentally, thinking you could crash right back onto it etc?! However, Jorge made a podium spot that race!

I remember I crashed so hard at Bruno Circuit in Czechoslovakia in qualifying ones. One of the highest high-siders I’ve ever had, and landing on my hip bone. This is like dropping out of 2nd floor right on the hip and adding about 100 miles an our to it. It turns it wasn’t broken, but the bruise and pain made me walk like Quasimodo for four weeks. On the way home I called my team for tests at Nuerburgring, where they had to lift me on the bike.

Go and ask Wayne Rainy if he would do all of this again if he could reverse time and his horrific back injury which ended his career. What would he might say?!

Now let’s just put a away the most lame and quite arrogant conclusion, that this is their job and what they are all get well paid for. At this point you can trust me when I’m saying that they would do this even for free, so why and how the hell is ‘being like this’ even possible?! What is it that makes them come back after injuries you’d quit for, and performing on almost the same level where they were at before the crash?!

It’s because they love what they do, and they living their passion and dreams. It’s because they have distinctive goals- they are on a life mission. What’s stronger than fears and to get hurt is ‘passion and love’. That’s the gas of their mental motors, so it should be yours. Be driven by passion and love instead of being controlled by fears. Sound’s easy huh? :-)

Am I saying just go crazy, way over you abilities? NO I don’t. Just keep doing what you’re doing and have at least a fraction of that mentality. Have goals, work on something. That keeps you brain busy in a positive way. Think of how much you enjoy to be in this particular turn right now. Ride with passion in your comfort zone and stop thinking what could possibly happen. Racers don’t think this far. Were they at where you are?… oh yes, but they’ve learned how not to think this far. So you can… inner peace is freedom!

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

Featuring Arai Helmets USA

As a kid you have idols you look up to. Bands, actors, or athletes. Needless to say that they have an influence on us, so I wanted to learn to play the guitar just like Angus Young of the rock band AC/DC. The big goal was, to have my own Marshall Amplifier and to rip it. The problem… those are hell of expensive and totally out of reach for me. That dream never left and today I have the damn Amp.

Can Akkaya on Honda RSR250, Hockenheimring 1987

So my first helmet was a German product, a UVEX for 60 bux. Goofing around the town on mopeds in that way to big helmet- which actually broke my nose on a crash one day. Somewhen then, I’ve stumbled over motorcycle racing while zapping through the four TV stations we had back then, and there was that American racer who looked so different then all the others. His name was Freddie Spencer and he was wearing a Arai helmet. Needless to say that I wanted to have one myself, but the price was totally out of my league. Years later, when I was racing myself… I finally had one, a Spencer Replica RX-V.

Man was I proud for it, but damn it killed my finances. Though, I had comparison to what’s wrong and what’s right, and in this case it’s not just the quality which comes to account. I’ve learned the hard way what difference a good lid can make, cuz’ you’ve got only one head- one life. I lost that Arai in a actually horrifying crash on public roads, when I hit against a static object outside a turn. I would have died in a other helmet. I know!

Making my way through amateur racing, semi-pro and finally professionally- also the sponsorship contracts are developing. Until finding the ‘right’ relationship, I had to wear top notch helmets from multiple manufactures but I ended up with Arai Germany as a coach until I left Europe in 2008. Again… I had comparison to what’s wrong and what’s right, and I was super happy that Arai Helmets USA took over and to continue this relationship till today!

Here are some insights:

#araihelmetsusa #arai

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

Continental Race Attack Review

I don’t know what you know- or have been told about Continental motorcycle tire, but let’s reset that. So I had the chance to finally have a set of Continental Race Attack slicks on my Ducati 1199 Panigale for a Track Drill 1on4 at Thunderhill Raceway West. Here is my first impression.

You need to know that I don’t do ‘drama’, and that even if I wanted to- I have no time to do drama when I work with students. Means… tires go on, no tire warmers, no playing with different air pressures, nor with the suspensions. These tires actually helped me to enjoy riding on a track and to work drama-free immensely.

We gave the front 26, and the rear 23 psi and went out on stone cold slicks as mentioned. Continental’s ‘TractionSkin‘, is a revolutionary new micro-rough tread surface, virtually puts an end to tire breakin. And guess what… it truly works. I had the knee on the ground at half a lap on cold tires!

I can’t confirm what their testers are saying about the front tire, which seem to put them more to work with the steering. At this point I don’t know their counter steering capabilities, but I do know mine. Eventually the way the geometry of my Panigale is set just matched.

What I was most thrilled about is their MultiGrip technology. So while other tire manufacturers puzzle 3 grip level rubbers together and causes failures eventually- Conti goes a other route. They use a homogeneous grip grading with a single compound thanks to temperature controlled curing of the tire during the production process. Means… one piece of tire surface and no transitions to deliver softer sides and harder middles to get more mileage. The tire picture says it all.

You also need to know that I use to go way below my pace when I work with riders, but I have my 1-2 laps on each session. So here and then I gave it some aggression into turns, not fully on the limit though. That is the point though, because even going with FORCE- there was still way to go while the front and rear end were totally transparent and neutral. Those tires are an absolute confidence booster and I just can imagine their potential if I would have added drama.

It was hot on the track, maybe about 98f. The performance of the tires never changed. I got older and even much more heavy as I was as a fit racer, but I still have and extreme entry and exit phases, and that’s where these Continental tires deliver, while having a smooth and balanced mid turn arc. The corner speed and lean was on the save side, cuz’ I have work to do right- but the grip range signals that there is more.

Don’t be a fool and go get some too. The price is right as well.

Can’t wait now to do drama :-)

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

https://www.continental-tires.com/motorcycle

#contimotousa #tkc80 #contitrack #tkc70

Video: Coach Akkaya on Ducati 1199R at Thunderhill Raceway

Coach Akkaya ‘plays’ on his Ducati 1199R at Thunderhill West Raceway.

A ‘Sensei’ has to be old

If you follow my monthly topics, then you might have noticed the red line to the struggle of riders on mental focus – so let’s stay on this topic and clear something up at the same time. This goes mainly out to the track riders and racers.

It seems that there is a wrong picture of what a teacher has to look like and be capable of. Sometimes I hear things like “Coach is to old”, or “He raced in the 80’s, that was different back then.” The conclusion seems to be that because I’m older, I can’t teach them anything. This is wrong and misguided, so let me throw a light into the dark tunnel for you.

Of course I am not as fast as I once was, but I actually still have the fire of a thousand suns in me when I’m on track, and I can rip lap times at Laguna Seca Raceway that would make active racers quite nervous, even when the years on me have replaced my 6-pack with a beer belly. Even when I am a little hip-lame… I still know what it takes to achieve Pole Positions, International Pro Racing victories, and even lap records. And here’s the deal… besides technology and tires – we’re still fighting the same old element… gravity.

Still not convinced? Remember Karate Kid’s Mr Miyagi? How about Yoda? Or Panda’s Master Shifu? They are all old, and they mentor their students to become hero’s anyway. Yea… I know. That’s all Hollywood?! So what about reality- like Coach Bill Belichick and his New England Patriots for example? He’s old and he keeps creating winning teams. Just recently I saw a documentary about Peyton Manning’s Super Bowl ending carrier. Here’s a multi-million dollar NFL player who got hip-lame himself and loaded with mental blocks. This man had a coach on his side- a 72 year old Sensei!

Does that mean that his sensei was expected to throw the damn ball further than record holder Manning? Was it necessary for his sensei to be quicker out of the pocket? Should his sensei have been mentally and physically strong enough to get past a 280-pound linebacker and throw a touchdown anyway? NO, but his sensei helped him on a way different level, and all what that 100 Million dollar MVP and multiple record holder was replying to his sensei was- ‘Yes Sir’ and ‘Yes Coach’!

Still not seeing the comparison? How about a basketball coach who is 2 ft smaller than his player- or a hockey coach who can no longer skate fast and handle a puck like a 20-year old. They may not be able to play the game, but they know what it takes to be a success in the game. They know what to say- when to say- and how to say!

So here is the logic, which I believe got lost with all those track day instructors who believe that a 10 minutes ‘workout’ and a succinct tip in regard ‘body positioning’ is all what it takes to be a good teacher. At a certain level of an athlete, a coach on the sideline is working just fine. I as a coach, see weak spots to delete, strengths to develop, tailor a race strategy, finding details to improve in the skill set and most important to mind set a competitive nature, because I know what to say- when to say- and how to say!

For this, I don’t have to be with the racer on the track to ’skate faster’ to proof credentials. Though, I bet I even can help a Top-Gun racer to drop lap times also with his riding skill set, because I’ve been there too. At that point to mention MotoGP. Even some of those guys have coaches too. Are they riding with them?! No, because how should that be even possible?!

You’re asking why I put this on the mental side?… well, you might shut yourself down with that type of thinking, and might miss out on something that finally could get you on the path you always wanted to walk… the path to success on the race track. If you still don’t see that the problems are between your ears, then you keep fighting wind mills. But if you are ready- come see me and I might help you to become a mighty Jedi.

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Sacramento 04/25/2018