India has seen many superbike launches in recent years. In 2010 alone, the number of import bike launches exceeded those of Indian bikes! Harley-Davidson came in with its complete line-up of 12 models and is introducing newer ones, while Italian bike-maker Aprilia made its Indian debut last month. Ducati has been present in India for a couple of years now, while mainstream manufacturers like Suzuki, Yamaha and Honda have, over the last two years, offered a range of superbikes.
The fact that this year will see more such bikes coming India's way, says a lot about this segment’s importance. However, is there a way for Indian motorcyclists to come to terms with the hitherto unheard-of levels of power and performance? Thanks to the California Superbike School (CSS), brought to India by Preethi, there certainly is one. The techniques taught at this school are not exclusive to superbikes, but can be applied to any type of motorcycle.
Founded by world-renowned motorcycle instructor Keith Code 30 years ago, the California-based CSS today runs track schools in 15 countries around the world. Code has trained numerous motorcycle world champions around the globe in racing. India saw its first CSS programme in 2010 and this year, with the help of Preethi, India’s leading mixer-grinder brand, CSS held its second rider training programme at the Madras Motor Sport Track, in Chennai last month.
Around 100 students attended the 2011 programme, which was spread over five days. This programme facilitates more one-on-one time and personalised feedback from instructors. The second Indian edition of CSS was more special since this was the first time that school directors from across the world were called in to instruct riders, Keith Code himself being an instructor.
The school aims to train riders in the closed and safe environment of a race track. Classroom sessions are followed by on-track sessions to practise the drills taught. Concepts of riding techniques are broken down and simplified in the classroom to aid quick assimilation and recollection while on the track. By the end of the programme, riders notice a discernible difference in their riding styles.
K Rajini, India’s 600-cc Superstock champion, has attended both Indian CSS programmes and is highly impressed. "CSS has been very helpful to me. I mean, Andy Ibbott (director, CSS UK) has taught Valentino Rossi, nine-time MotoGP champion, so it was given that I should benefit as well! Thanks to CSS, I have learnt to position my body better on the bike, among other things, and have definitely improved my pace on the track,” he says.
Considering India’s position as the second-largest two-wheeler market in the world and its prevalent road conditions, we need to train our motorcyclists to ride more safely. T T Varadarajan, CEO, Preethi, who has been attending CSS since the 1990s, says, "The response to CSS in India has been fantastic, with riders from across the country signing up. Along with helping racers become faster, professional instruction also helps everyday rides become safer, and we will do everything we can to promote safety by making CSS a permanent fixture in India."