My first Yamaha Champions Riding School that I worked at was in April of 2008. Ten and a half years ago. One day, my friend and favorite optician Dr. David Benkle sent me a message and said “there’s this really cool school you should see if you can shoot in Las Vegas!” I contacted Nick Ienatsch, whoever the hell that was, and sought permission to shoot. I was given an apprehensive “o-o-o-o-okay.” I didn’t know it at the time, but Nick stutters sarcastically when he’s not entirely convinced of an idea. Afterall, the school was brand new at the time as well.
My detailed memories of the first school are pretty blurry, to be honest. I busted my ass the entire two days making sure to turn Nick’s stutter into something more confident when I asked to come back to the next school. I sat in during every classroom session, I was on track for every track session. Not only was I trying to capture every moment on camera so I can make sales, but I was devouring the information given by the instructors. They had a lot of things to say that made complete sense. They basically threw every fundamental you could think of at the students, and also backed it all up with the “why” and the “how” that I needed to hear to improve my own riding. I was very much a “but WHHHYYY, mom?” kinda kid.
The core YCRS instructor crew back then consisted of Nick Ienatsch, Ken Hill, Dale Kieffer, Shane Turpin, and Mark Schellinger. Over time, I got to know them and love them all. Other staff came in and out or played different roles as well. Scott Russell was an instructor with YCRS for several years. Jill Giles was the behind-the-scenes-lady that kept the show running smoothly. Everyone had a valuable role that made the YCRS machine a well-oiled and smooth running machine of motorcycle information, technique, and faster laptimes. I was loving it.
Skip forward ten and a half years later. As is with life, so many things have changed. Motorcycle technology has dramatically changed. I never even conceived an auto-blipper back then. Now it comes standard on some flagship models. It’s available for pretty much any fly-by-wire bike these days. The core group of instructors for YCRS has changed, with nearly everyone else moving on to other things for one reason or another. The venues have changed. YCRS used to be based out of Miller Motorsports Park (now Utah Motorsports Campus…see, even THAT changed!) but is now home-based in New Jersey Motorsports Park. The core group of instructors is Nick, Chris Peris, Kyle Wyman, Mark Schellinger, and Scott Rybarik. Keith Culver is now the “behind-the-scenes-lady” that makes sure the school runs flawlessly. ;)
Everything is different now. Except…nothing is different. My love for YCRS has not changed. The bombardment of information you’ll get at a school has not changed. The dedication and attention to detail from every team member of YCRS hasn’t dipped even an iota, making the scool every bit as amazing as it’s ever been. Even with the constant change in technology and tires and MotoGP champions.
Rule #5 for the school: “You get what you need.” You shouldn’t walk away feeling like you missed out on something. I love that rule.
You know when you start something but the end result is not like what you envisioned from the start? But even though it’s not exactly how you thought it was going to be, it ends up being better? :)
Here’s a few pics from the last 2 days of learning.
Sometimes, I wonder if they’re just showing off
Yeah, definitely showing off:
On track demos about back shifting:
I always end up with a ton of pics of Kyle…he’s kinda narsissistic ;) hehe
Chris Peris is just a goon, period:
Kyle spinning the rear on a bone stock fz10 through turn 5:
The crew this school: