Coach Akkaya ‘plays’ on his Ducati 1199R at Thunderhill West Raceway.
Author, Test Rider, Racer, Riding Coach
I wished I could put better into words what my team and I’ve seen at the Superbike-Coach Track Day at Thunderhill Raceway last Saturday (9/8/2018). We’ve seen riders who were riding with tons of respect for each other- holding back with a smile. For me, that goes before ‘lap times’, because attributes like respect, honor, loyalty and truth are getting quickly lost in competitive environments (and these days btw)! I ensure you… that’s not us and we leave this to others!
Can we do better?! For sure, because NOTHING in life is perfect, so we’ll keep working even harder to deliver what’s right.
I think that the pictures my photographers Michelle Tilley and Dean Lonskey have featured are telling the story. Over 4000 pictures are done soon… as usual absolutely FREE OF CHARGE. Till then… enjoy about 80 featured pictures upfront
Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp
I am happy that I can announce that SENA has become a new sponsor to the Superbike-Coach Corp. This will benefit especially our students on 1on1 or small group coaching, because the quality and reliability of the Sena intercom and video systems.
As usual, our sponsors are holding discounts, exclusively for Superbike-Coach students- and so will Sena.
We are looking forward to a hopefully long and successful relationship with Sena.
Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp, Sacramento, CA
…has been done, and ones more it was totally booked up!
120 riders, mainly our students from all kinds of programs joined us at the wonderful Thunderhill West Raceway in California. The weather was perfect, because this time it wasn’t too hot. it helps, but it doesn’t make our job any easier, because we literally care about every single rider and to make it as safe and fun for them as possible. Yep, I know that this is a phrase everyone use to say, so I want to make this a little more detailed to give you an idea.
June 10th 2018. I got a hotel room for my team up in Willows while I had about 2 1/2 hours of sleep the night before to make the final preparations. My wife Marion and I drove up in the early morning to join the team at the gate at 6.30am, and luckily we could get right in to set everything up. Within 15 minutes we have an operational registration in the Clubhouse- the tech inspection area- the photographer station- and the grids in the pit lane, loaded with tents and ice chests for our Control Riders Ben, Michael, Brian, Steve, and Connor. Then quickly unloading all bikes, and off we go.
Marion and Michael in there elements, running 120 people through paperwork to ensure that everyone has time enough for Tech. Jeremy, Steve, Brian and Ben checked the rider bikes while Superbike-Coach photographer Dean and I went out on the track to inspect the track and run off areas, where we found a small problem which had to be fixed. After a short briefing with the track admin and track Marshall’s I could have at least 10 minutes of face time with the people in the paddock.
8.15am, the mandatory riders meeting begins, while Marion finishes up late comers. I go over essentials the ‘Coach way’, and I always realize the discrepancy individuals experiencing when they dealing with me the very first time. On one side the riders who have been students before- and the riders who are new to Superbike-Coach on the other. While most of them know what kind of train is rumbling through the Clubhouse- some are quite surprised by it. That’s because they get to see only a fraction of the big picture. That’s hard to understand within half an hour, so I am always hoping that the new riders to us look around and to see/feel why we’re having hundreds and hundreds of loyal students which we use to call ‘family’. So at that point, the efficiency of my coaching style is priority, and I don’t bent that just to make a better impression. You get it in course of the day- or you don’t! So maybe this here helps a little…
While B+ was out for their first stint, I gave C group instruction for their sightseeing lap and to answer more questions. At this point a detailed ideal line seminar would not make any sense. We have this going right after lunch, which is why the break is scheduled relatively early.
From there it use to be quite messy, until riders are dialing into better rhythms and getting sorted into more appropriate groups matching their levels. That’s a pretty natural and common thing and comes when riders pick a group based on where their friends are. So from there, Marion was working her butt off to exchange riders within the groups- based on their input and also quite often triggered by my control riders. That is going on for hours and Marion’s organization skill kicks in real good.
Meanwhile, the boys following up on passing violations. At that point, the penalty-system we’ve developed could help a lot, which was clearly see and feel-able from the afternoon sessions on. In total 6 for apexing 2, 3 for passing under yellow, 1 for cheating into other group, 3 for passing close, and 1 got suspended from our event. Can they see everything?… how should that go?! I mean, even we would double CR’s- there is still stuff they can’t see.
Can we do better?… oh yes, and we will. There are already changes in the making. Things which keep setting Superbike-Coach track days apart from others. Just like SBC photographer Dean, who took about 4700 pictures which are coming with our 150 bux track day ticket, so for free.
Six crashes is not what I like, but it’s the nature of doing these things. The positive side is that no one got hurt or crashed because of someone else. My boys checked their bikes while Marion had the riders send to our Ambulance/Doctor for a checkup. Only one red flag was shown for about 10 seconds and got lifted- so not a single time out for our riders, because we were on this in light speed.
Thanks to the entire team to help pulling an event off like this. I love this team for their skills and especially their dead serious dedication and loyalty to Superbike-Coach. Also thanks to our riders for being cooperative, understanding, and patient participants. Hope to see you again on 9/8/2018 for another Superbike-Coach track day at Thunderhill Raceway!
Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp
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
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Dean Lonskey’s pictures coming for free at Superbike-Coach classes and track days. Coach Akkaya on Ducati 1199R, October 2018 (click for video)