California Superbike School
My only regret after completing my level 1 course was that I hadn’t done it sooner! I’d been riding bikes on the road for over 15 years before I attended the school and It was scary how little I understood about bike control. I was blown away by the quality and professionalism of the CSS team. The tech delivered in the classroom sessions made perfect sense to me and linked seamlessly into the sessions on track to practise the drills. The on-track coaches are simply outstanding, their observational and communication skills are second to none. Whatever your level of riding experience they’ll help you improve. By no means am I the finished article, there is still much to learn and improve but I’m in the right place! I’m proud and privileged to be part of the CSS team and what it delivers. There’s nothing better than seeing people improve their skills and become more confident, safer riders.
Director, Chief Riding Coach EMEAI & Seminarist – Coach of the Year 2002
What do you enjoy about being a part of the Schools? The total commitment from every member of staff to ensure that every student on a School day gets the maximum benefit for their particular level of riding skill. Likes: 5.30am starts!!!, seeing improvement in the students at any level, the enthusiasm of all staff members, improving my riding and knowledge to better my coaching skills, Leffe when I can find it, riding my own bikes. Dislikes: whingers, Formula 1.
Richard Browne (aka ‘Badger’)
General Manager UK, Riding Coach – Coach of the Year 2007
I’ve been hooked on the schools ever since I did my Level 1 as a student. It made such a difference to my riding and it’s an honour to be in a position (as a coach) to help others achieve the same sort of improvements in their own riding. Seeing such positive reactions is very rewarding and no two days at the school are the same. Likes: being a part of such a great team of people who I always look forward to meeting up with, BMX (although 20+ years later my knees won’t allow me to ride it anymore), riding all types of bikes, watching bikes, talking bikes… the list goes on, coffee and biscuits. Dislikes: people who don’t try, coffee with no biscuits (a drink is far too wet without one).
Deputy Chief Riding Coach – Coach of the Year 2016
The greatest thing about CSS coaches is they were all CSS students and we’ve all seen the quantum leaps made in our own riding, understanding and confidence. I believe this is where the ethos and enthusiasm you find at every one of our schools originates; we were in your leathers once! Within 4 days at CSS, I’d improved my ability and knowledge many, many times more than I had in the last 30 years of riding/racing and many times more than I could ever hope to in the next 30! So when the chance arose to go for coach selection/training I gripped it with both knees! The whole coach selection/training process was one of the most intense but rewarding challenges of my life, for me the best part is that it’s on-going! I still get masses of information regarding all aspects of coaching and we are all still put under extreme pressure to absorb and understand all of it! Why the whole CSS family, be it staff or coaches, all love and believe in what we do: we get to relive that fantastic moment of revelation we once had, each time our student makes a breakthrough; we only ever meet like minded people, bikers who want to improve their riding; we get to ride on the best bikes, the Ducati’s are awesome; we get the best kit; we ride at the best circuits all over the world. Yes, we do appreciate having the greatest job a biker could have!!!!!!
Riding Coach – Coach of the Year 2018
Who are the best trained people on Earth? Doctors? Soldiers? How about a CSS coach? After graduating through the school back in 1998 I was approached by Andy to become one of the School’s coaches. He explained that becoming a coach was a direct result of demonstrating an ability to listen and apply the drills, along with an understanding of the riding techniques being taught at the Schools. On reflection he made it sound so simple and easy. This is only true in that he used very few words to describe what it takes to be a coach at the California Superbike School. The real truth is in the non-stop development of the coach training that takes place at the school. I very much doubt that any other motorcycle riding coaches can honestly say that their training is never ending. Indeed, it is a very great privilege to become one of the School’s coaches, the on going training ensures that every coach is continually progressing. Applying the techniques is one thing, but to progress through the training as a coach and see students achieve their cornering nirvana is something else. There isn’t a lot that’s better than sharing the moment when a student first gets their knee down. Becoming an ever better trained coach helps with that.
Riding Coach – Coach of the Year 2006
What do you enjoy about being a part of the Schools? We get to see a very wide range of riders who are stuck with their riding, then at the end of the day you see this big grin and you know that you have now put them in control of the bike, making them a safer better rider. Also working with some of the fastest boys in the racing scene and helping them to improve, going round the world and riding new tracks and the different types of students and working them both out. Likes: being part of a very special group of people (the School), Banoffee pie, Stella, SuperMoto, Motocross, M Hartley’s wit, leaving big fat black lines from the rear tyre. Dislikes: getting up at 05:30, students that don’t listen and learn, Paul’s snoring especially after Stella, London traffic.
Ben Smith (aka ‘Hippy’)
What do you enjoy about being a part of the Schools? We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world.
Riding Coach – Coach of the Year 2015
What do you enjoy about being a part of the Schools? Working with students and seeing their realisation of the difference the technology makes to their riding as they progress through the day and beyond. It’s a real buzz to see students finding the same things that I found when I attended the schools as a customer and then as a Coach. It’s great working with a dedicated, organised team of people doing their utmost to ensure that students have an enjoyable day and then relaxing over a chat and a few beers at the day’s end. Riding all manner of bikes on tracks all over the world and meeting different people is, of course, hugely appreciated. Likes: my son and wife, German cars, Spanish race tracks and warm, sunny summers. Dislikes: people suffering tunnel vision, most things have another solution.
Nick Daukes (aka ‘Nick Nack’)
I’ve undergone and supervised some incredibly intense training in my career, but there’s little that comes close to the California Superbike School for professionalism, teamwork and progressive improvement. The commitment from the team at all levels, the passion for helping people improve their riding and the determination to have a great time whilst doing it all make it a truly unique organisation and one that it’s a great pleasure to be part of. I’ve long been an advocate of the idea that the best investment you can make in your bike is to improve your ability to ride it. For the last 17 years I’ve used the system advocated by the Police every time I ride on the road, but it was working my way through the school which took my riding to an entirely new level. I now understand the underlying technology of cornering, have learned how to apply it and as a coach I’m now able to help others improve their own understanding and practice of the art and science of cornering; that is an out and out privilege. Seeing a student’s penny drop, or their light bulb suddenly come on, is a real treat and I’d also be lying like a hairy egg if I said that this is anything but a total boys-own, you can’t bend it, dream job with dirty great bells on!! Likes: snowboarding, Angry Birds, fancy dress, real coffee, fine wine. Dislikes: snowblades, having my time wasted, people who squander their gifts and talents, instant coffee.
After 14 years of riding motocross I decided I’d like to try my hand on the tarmac and go circuit racing. I booked myself on a trackday and soon discovered my “ambition outweighed my talent”! Coming from a tiny Island in the English Channel (where the speed limit is a dizzying 35mph!) you can imagine I would need all the help I could get. A friend recommended the California Superbike School and soon after I attended Level 1, WOW! The improvements were incredible! The design of the levels and the desire of the coaches to help you succeed through them produced an end result far above anything I thought possible! Now, as a coach, I can see how these results are obtained. The commitment from the whole CSS team in making each student exceed their own expectations of their riding ability is second to none! Being part of this team and understanding the hard work everyone puts in to insure the student has a great day is a real privilege. For sure, riding fast bikes around a track all day is a dream come true but the biggest reward is the beaming smile you see under the students visor! Likes: Family, Motorsport, snowboarding, Basketball. Dislikes: Tennis, Stewards enquiries, Health & Safety.
Riding Coach – Coach of the Year 2017
If you want to get good at something you can read books and watch videos. To make quantum leaps you get training and go to school. The way the CSS ‘tech’ is taught in the classrooms and the depth of knowledge of each coach moved my riding to another level each time I attended the school. CSS puts riders in control of their bikes and builds their confidence and speed through knowledge. Being asked to come and try out to be a coach was definitely one of life’s highlights (and it made justifying getting another bike to my wife a little easier). It took an immense amount of study and training to get through, and the ongoing coach development is just as demanding. It’s an absolute privilege to be part of such a dedicated, talented and hardworking team. The best part of being a CSS coach isn’t that we get to ride the best bikes, wear the best gear, and ride some of the best tracks in the world. The best thing for me is meeting so many different types of people and helping them find simplicity within a complex subject. When a student experiences that eureka moment and you see their massive smile is something I won’t ever get bored of! Likes: Learning stuff and laughter. People with the yearn to learn. Dislikes: Egos, excuses and ‘in-line’ skates.
After years of track and road riding I was convinced I had reached my personal talent/bravery brick wall. Many friends had suggested the California Superbike School to me, but I was sure that no further training would unlock the key to making me a faster, more confident and safer rider. After all, like many others I had attended other training establishments and race schools and learnt nothing. I finally gave in after 20 years of riding bikes and signed up for Level 1 to find out what the fuss was all about. To say I was blown away is an understatement! I simply didn’t understand how the bike truly worked beneath me and how I could work with the bike rather than against it. I had been bitten by the bug and immediately signed up for Levels 2-4…. all of them were hard work but a fantastic learning experience which changed my riding for the better. I won’t lie, it’s certainly not easy to change your riding and unlearn many years of bad habits, but practice and applying the technology that CSS give you as a student works. Joining the coaching team was a massive honour and personal achievement. Having been through some tough training in the military and becoming a pilot, I never expected the coach training to be anywhere near as tough…. but CSS exceeded my expectations again! The combination of intense, never-ending theory and practical training that a coach is put through is unrivalled. The result is a professional team dedicated to high quality, safety, and maximising student improvement. The best job in bikes? I’d agree with that! Likes: Being part of a fun team with the same passion, happy students, Ducati, MotoGP, Ice Cream, my Son Leo (future Moto3 champion and dad’s retirement fund). Dislikes: Rain, avocados, moaners, potholes.
Bikes have been a passion of mine since my uncle took me to the TT when I was 10 years old – the smells, the noise and the colours got me hooked! As a teenager, bikes gave way to other sports and I was lucky enough to find myself in the company some of the best coaches and educationalists in the world and that’s where a lifelong passion to help people learn and benefit from great coaches took root. This passion for helping others learn and finding ways to make learning easier and more effective evolved into a career as a performance coach and then as a coach developer working across Olympic sports with UK Sport and later my own company, Performance Impact Associates Limited.
After nearly 3 decades of working in elite sport, the call of the bikes returned, I bought a track bike and threw myself into my riding with the enthusiasm of a teenager! My goal was simply to ride well and after thousands of miles and copious track days, I discovered CSS and never looked back. From my very first experience of the School I realised I was amongst a team of people that cared about me and my learning whilst providing a world class environment for me to practice.
Fast forward again and I find myself helping others learn to ride bikes better! It is a real honour and privilege to part of such an amazing team of people who are dedicated to the learning of others and indeed, to their own on-going learning. Most of all, as a coach at the School , it’s the camaraderie, the smiles you see and the riders walking taller at the end of a school day which are the most rewarding aspect of being part of the CSS Team
I found out about CSS after meeting CRC Gary Adshead. At the time I was heavily involved in motorcycle safety working nationally for the Police with all the major manufacturers, Department of Transport, Driver Licensing Authority and Road Safety Organisations. As someone who is passionate about road safety and especially rider training I was keen to explore what CSS had to offer. I attended Level 1 in April 2014. As a professional road rider and advanced motorcycle instructor I was blown away by the quality of technical knowledge given in the classroom followed by on track coaching. I learnt things that immediately gave me a better appreciation of how I and the motorcycle should work together. The skills learnt at CSS really enhance knowledge and understanding that can help prevent critical mistakes when cornering. It didn’t take much deliberation to spank the credit card and book the next 3 levels!
I was so impressed by the whole experience that at the start of 2015 I began helping as a volunteer assistant course controller. I retired from the Police at the end of 2015 which has given me the time to complete my coach training and become a member of an exceptional team of driven individuals whose goal is to provide the best possible experience for customers.
I am proud to be a part of such an exceptional team of people which extends around the globe.
Likes: Being retired at 50, my family, and anything to do with bikes, cars, planes.
Dislikes: After 30 years as a rozzer lots of things but nothing that can be printed here 🙂
What do you enjoy about being a part of the Schools? WOW, everything from the look on a student’s face when they get the purpose of the drill they are working on, the professionalism and camaraderie of the CSS team, to riding Ducati motorcycles!
When I attended the school as a student I knew I had found something special to help improve my riding skills, when applied correctly each piece of tech had real benefits. Being invited to attend a coach try-out day and progressing through coach training has given me the opportunity to pass on the knowledge I have learned to my own students which is huge honour and massively rewarding.
Andy Smith (aka ‘Smithy’)
I’ve always been a firm believer in continuing to learn. I attended other road based training over the years of riding to keep trying to better myself. When I decided to start track riding the California Superbike School was my first choice. I had no idea how much it would change both my road and track riding for the better and that was just level 1, there were 3 more levels to go! Now I get to pass that learning on after a long and hard journey studying and training to become a coach (the learning still hasn’t stopped and I hope it never does). It makes it all worth while seeing a students ‘light switch’ moment. That’s the moment all our coaches and staff strive for which is why they are such a good team to work with. The schools mix of technical information and tailored personal coaching is second to none in the world. Getting the opportunity to pass on the tech I learnt as a student and making my students more confident, safer, faster and making there riding more enjoyable is amazing and if I’m honest good fun too. I look forward to every day as a coach, meeting all sorts of different people from all kinds of backgrounds and doing what I see as one of the best jobs in Motorcycling.
Izzy De Montet Guerin
Very few training establishments in any field can match the polished effectiveness of the California Superbike School – and I’ve seen/taught at quite a few during my 18 years of commercial aviation and flight test for some of the largest companies in the world.
What makes this difference? Structure? Standardisation? An incremental approach to making the riding ‘tech’ your own? All of the above, but what really made the difference for me was the humble, cheerful, down to earth approach of the CSS team, and the absolute dedication and professionalism of every single member of the school. My ‘customer experience’ as a student was second to none and it’s an immense privilege to be able to help pay that forward as a coach.
Being selected to wear the leathers has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life, bar none. It’s a steep, continuous learning curve but there’s nothing more satisfying than being ‘let loose’ to coach students on track and seeing the big grin on their faces at the end of the day.
Best things about CSS? Seeing students achieve new levels of confidence and riding ability, being part of a worldwide, like-minded community and having a lot of fun on a high performance Ducati!
Likes: helping people learn, people who want to learn, bikes, planes and guns.
Dislikes: unkind human beings (don’t worry, guns are locked away in a very large safe abroad), diesel on a wet road and Brussels sprouts.
I’d been riding bikes for many years and had gotten very steadily quicker as years went by, but my ambition quickly started to outweigh my talent.. I’d read the ‘Twist of The Wrist’ series but a book can only go so far. The coaching and unique CSS learning environment was when it really resonated and immediately made a massive difference to my riding in pace, smoothness, consistency and most importantly in understanding of how it all works. It turns out what I thought I was doing wasn’t necessarily what I was doing or should be doing. The selection and training process to become a coach is extremely intense but coming out the other end I can see why the school has such an incredibly high standard and can bring about the huge gains I experienced. The opportunity to see the breakthroughs I have seen in my own riding become apparent in a student. The corresponding smile has huge appeal and makes all of the hard work very worthwhile.
Likes: Anything with two wheels, golf, coffee, watching the snooker..
Dislikes: Closed minds, middle lane hogs, olives
Steve Leitch (aka ‘Beano’)
F&A and Overseas Development Director
Why Beano? In the real world I counted beans, i.e. I was Finance Director for the company but am now the F&A and Overseas Development Director. But let’s forget the boring day job. What do I love about CSS; the fact that it’s the best training organisation in the world, bar none. The coaches and staff are just the best from every view point. I’ve been involved since 2002 and as each year has progressed I have become more and more proud of what we do. So, what do I do at the Schools? I get let out from behind my grey desk to liaise with the students and make sure their day is the best we can create. I don’t ride (yet) so don’t ask me anything too technical, however ask me about what we do and sell and I’ll spout on for hours! That’s enough about me – I’ll get back to my grey desk now…
Peter Boon (aka ‘Pinky’)
Being an original ‘Mod’ my choice of transport way back was a Lambretta and motorbikes were greasy things that were faster than my scooter and allowed the ‘Rockers’ ample time to knock me off! After an early retirement from a hectic career, I had the chance to help out at the school. An eye opener! Some amazing machinery and not a drop of oil in sight! I don’t profess to know about the riding techniques, although having now sat though many hours in the pub after a ‘school’ if you don’t talk bikes, you’re not going to be in the conversation. My role is to ensure the safety of students and coaches out on track, and as with all members of the school, the training received is very comprehensive and on-going. It’s great when a student has a ‘light bulb moment’ and everything drops into place, it absolutely makes the day. Every single member of the school no matter what role they perform is really dedicated to ensuring that each and every student goes away with a beam on their face and a quantifiable improvement in their riding skills. It’s a great team to be associated with, very professional and often a wicked sense of humour. Come and see for yourself I guarantee you will be back for more! Likes: Lambrettas, Northern Soul, Room 101, Sunny days at Silverstone. Dislikes: Vespas, Cold, rainy days at Silverstone.
I’ve ridden bikes, track and road, for the past 35 years. About 25 years ago I did my first CSS which was when I had that ‘light bulb’ moment. I thought I knew how to ride, but the dedication and professionalism of the staff plus the methods shown to me proved there was so much more to it. I wanted to try out to be a coach as I love teaching/coaching/instructing, but a back injury meant ‘bum up, head down’ was no longer possible. Since then I have explored other outlets and am a qualified ‘jet ski’ instructor and progressing to be a Powerboat instructor as well. I was fortunate enough to be asked to join the amazing team at CSS as Assistant Course Control a couple of years ago, where I learnt the ‘art’ from the Guru ‘Pinky’ and have now progressed to ‘Course Control’. Understanding the riding techniques and how they are applied means I can help keep everyone safe and run the day so that students get the optimum ‘I really got something positive’ out of their day with us.
The CSS family are such a great bunch to be with. Fun, humorous and dangerously addictive!
Likes: Bikes/Cars… well anything with a motor really! Live Music (esp. Rock) Skiing. Good Food, Wine and Coffee. Cooking. Travel.
Dislikes: Bad drivers, Law breakers and people who are cruel to animals. ‘Reality TV’ with people on who have no talent at all, and inconsiderate people who impact on others, especially with their ‘noise’ emanating from their personal headphones!
I was first introduced to CSS and a number of the staff a few years ago when I was engaged on duties with the police led National BikeSafe project. As a traffic officer and advanced police motorcyclist I was heavily involved in road safety, particularly motorcycle casualty reduction.
Seeing how the team at CSS worked I was truly impressed with the ethics and coaching methods of the school to improve rider safety. Thus, when having retired from the police and been given the opportunity to come and work at the school I jumped at the chance. As well as having been a police advanced rider, I now have completed levels 1 and 2 CSS school days but that’s exactly it …. school days. The delivery of the drills from the classroom to the on track coaches is easily replayed to you. With the coaching I’ve received, with different drills learnt on these two days, I’ve been able to implement the techniques into my previous road riding experience and enhance my rider safety.
The school days are so fulfilling and rewarding. Without doubt once you have completed level 1 you will be wanting to progress to the next levels. By the end of each day the self-satisfaction that you go home with, because of your progress, is amazing. Now being trained under the eyes of Pinky and Justin in the realms of course control, I am looking forward to seeing many more students progress through each level. Working within such a professional and well spirited team all with one purpose is certainly a satisfying reward.
Student Liaison and Wrangler
When you book a school, Ducati or Bennetts track day or just have any queries, then I’m your contact. I and my team can help with just about anything you can throw at us. At the school I am the Wrangler – herding all the students to the right place at the right time !
I enjoy working with a bunch of talented professionals who are passionate about bikes and I enjoy talking to customers who are also passionate about bikes.
Likes : Watching students come in after their track sessions with big smiles on their faces, champagne and chocolate!
Dislikes: Bad coffee and early morning starts
Nikki Shackleford (aka ‘Nicky Nacky Noo’)
Student Liaison and Shop
I love being part of CSS, it’s a great organisation with a great team of people. It’s great to speak to everyone on the phone when they book or with an enquiry and then meet everyone at the schools, so I can put a face to the name.
At the school I work in the shop, I like helping people and it allows me to meet most students, especially at the end of the day for those who collect their certificate 🙂
It’s great to see everyone enjoying a great day.
Likes – Riding pillion on my husband’s bike, my family, cinema and theme park rides.
Dislikes – 5:00 wake up but all worth it 🙂
Jane Hood (aka ‘The Stalker’)
Wrangler and Shop
My introduction to the fantastic team at the Superbike School was when I was lucky enough to have an on track pillion ride with one of the coaches. It was the best thing ever! Much more exhilarating than jumping out of a plane. You certainly appreciate the skill of the coaches when you’re perched on the back of a Ducati doing goodness knows what speed and feeling like you could almost get your knee down in the bends. Fantastic!
The professionalism and friendliness of the staff at the school made me want to join the team and I was lucky enough to be invited to help Wendy with Wrangling and in the Shop. I may not ride bikes myself, but I’m a bike nut and enjoy talking to the students about their bikes and how their riding is improving throughout the school day. It’s great to be part of a team that are so passionate about what they do and for me, I really enjoy helping to make the student’s day run smoothly and making them all feel welcome .
Likes; MotoGP, Pillion rides, Red wine, White wine, dogs, walking
Dislikes: Rose wine, being cold!