The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has announced its recognition of the Yamaha Champions Riding School, making it only the second third-party curriculum to receive this distinction by the MSF. The YCRS is a descendant of the Freddie Spencer High Performance Riding School and is now led by Spencer’s protégés Nick Ienatsch and Ken Hill. The school has recently relocated to the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, NJ.
The Yamaha Champions Riding School earned the recognition by meeting MSF criteria to be considered a responsible system of coaching for motorcycle track riding, and by being actively involved with the MSF and aligned with its key principles. The MSF further recognized the school as complementary to the MSF philosophy and approach to motorcyclist training.
According to Dr. Ray Ochs, MSF vice president of Training Systems, the recognition is the result of a longstanding relationship between the YCRS and the MSF. The recognition was conferred following a collaborative process that included a rigorous examination of the school’s approach to teaching by Dr. Ochs and other MSF staff, plus an extensive review of the overall course methodology and curriculum materials. More than 25 specific aspects of the program were evaluated during this process, including maintaining a high-challenge/low-threat environment, integrating safety with instructors’ talking points, and the degree to which instructors evaluate and provide feedback to students during drills. This review culminated with Ienatsch agreeing to incorporate key MSF instructional concepts and terminology.
The mission of YCRS is to promote safe and precise riding by teaching riders world-class racing techniques. Nick Ienatsch and the other instructors accomplish this goal through a mix of classroom and on-track instruction. YCRS provides a comprehensive curriculum that covers topics such as U-turns, trail braking, foot-peg loading, and blind corner entry. A variety of drills are employed to help students refine their skills, and discussions, on-track demonstrations, and on-track video recording reinforce important mental strategies. Although the curriculum is based on racing techniques, the skills and strategies presented and practiced include risk management, self-assessment, using better judgment, and identifying escape paths, and are therefore applicable to street riding. Riders of all skill levels can benefit from this course.