Danny Walker's American Supercamp Racing School is in town for the week, and they were kind enough to have a couple of days for media folks to come get a taste of the flat track experience. A day of sliding around someone else's Yamaha TTR125s in the dirt? You don't have to ask me twice.

Somehow, they invited me on the wrong day, so I stayed for a half day and then hustled to the office so I could write all night and get enough done to go the following day with our parent company Bonnier, some of their guests, and editors from some of our sibling publications. Those first two hours of riding were incredibly helpful for my full day as they gave me a primer to some of the technique and I got a good roll in the mud out of the way.

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Aaron Colton showing us some killer formSean MacDonald

"What I've Been Riding" is a new segment for editors who may not have already written about a certain bike to toss their personal opinions in. Because it's fun for us, hopefully interesting for you, and a great way to create some more discussion around the stuff you're asking us about. The bottom of the page will give you links to things like first ride reviews, comparison tests, dyno runs, and other content we've run - all of which gets the broad-based and objective evaluation techniques you've come to expect from us. If you're dying to check out the specs or have a more technical question, we'd suggest perusing those before getting upset that these "reviews" don't contain our normal, rigorous efforts.

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Mud time!Sean MacDonald

Originally, this day was intended as something for some of the Bonnier brass, their marketing teams, and some of the local companies we have relationships with (Bel Ray, Biltwell, Baja Designs, Spidi, Alpinestars, Akropovic) as well as some special guests to have a day learning some techniques to ride safer in a fun way. A few people weren't able to make it, and Michael Gilbert from Sport Rider and I begged our respective bosses to attend. Because watching editors flail at stuff is fun, and because I spent 73 some odd hours behind the computer last week.

The event was an incredibly condensed version of the program. Like, incredibly condensed, as it was mostly meant to convey the spirit of the school and provide some technique so people could have fun and get used to sliding a bit. As such, this is definitely not a review of the school, because we did not actually take the school.

Mud Drills

The mud drills at American Supercamp point out any improper form in spectacular fashion

Posted by Cycle World Magazine on Thursday, December 8, 2016

We did, however, ride the school bikes with the school coaches yelling at us and occasionally taunting us (okay, I was asking for it). The school uses Yamaha TTR125s, which make a massive ten horsepower (claimed at the crank)/seven horsepower (internet dyno claims). Despite their paltry power and ancient technology, the TTR is a favorite amongst schools and back yard trackers because they're nearly indestructible and because seven horsepower is plenty to have fun.

"If you drop my bike 20 times and it saves you from one crash on the street, we couldn't be happier!" Walker continues, "these things are bullet proof, you can cartwheel em end over end and they'll be fine. Crashing is part of learning!"

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When leathers meet dirtSean MacDonald

We started the morning with a drills around a small cone, run clockwise and counter clockwise, before the Supercamp team wet the track down for mud drills. The day ended with a bunch of sessions on the TT course, which opens up the track to both lefts and rights and that they had us again run both directions.

The coaches have a "no kid gloves" approach, and often ride up next to you and smack you on the elbow that isn't raised or leg that isn't pressing into the tank while yelling commands at you. If everyone's line is too far off, the baton comes out to "encourage" you to tighten up.

Flat track is fun

Our buddy Aaron Colton showing us how it's done at American Supercamp

Posted by Cycle World Magazine on Thursday, December 8, 2016

The thing about flat track is that it is so incredibly different from other kinds of riding. You sit on top of the bike like you're riding supermoto, but instead of putting your foot forward, you swing it out to the side. Like riding a dirtbike, braking happens mostly at the rear, only in flat track it's done while at incredible lean angles. Last week, I was on a Yamaha FZ-10 trying to jump over the front of the bike on corner exit to keep the front end down, but in flat track I was to roll back into a slouch to get the rear to hook up. Walker and crew know that, and freely admit that the school is two days partly because of all they have to teach, and partly because it just takes that long to click.

The other crazy thing is how naturally all of it becomes relatively quickly. In our group we had everyone from freestyle rider Aaron Colton, Moto America racer (and flat track rider) Michael Gilbert, and Bonnier Motorcycle Group's VP Andrew Leisner rounding out the fast group to a slow group that had a bunch of new riders, many of whom were in street gear. By the end of the day, Alessandro from Spidi was sliding like a champion in his Spidi riding jeans and street helmet and yours truly was finally giving Alpinestars' Heath Cofran a run for his money.

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What a great crew for a day of riding. And yes, that is Otto from Biltwell in the back.Sean MacDonald

At the end of the day, no one wanted to go home, and the final sessions turned into pure mayhem. Racing tiny motorcycles brings out a competitiveness and aggression that only something with so little risk could, and I'd be lying if I said those last laps didn't involve me kicking Heath's front tire or the coaches hitting my front brake. That's part of the fun of it all, and definitely something that Danny Walker's crew seems to understand well.

My taste of Supercamp School has only insured that I need to find a way to attend the full thing. I got so much more comfortable in low traction situations and with sliding that even our short experience will prove to be incredibly valuable training. And, a day spent racing with buddies in a low-consequence environment is ALWAYS a good time.

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Bar to bar at slow speeds means you're also going to get kicked, right Heath?Heath Cofran
Sean MacDonald
"No, you still don't look fast, sorry dude."Sam Bendall
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When you're a little too eager to ride and you go out for a lap before they finish wetting the track, they keep wetting the trackSam Bendall
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This is what you look like when you follow people too closelySam Bendall
Sean MacDonald
I'm really bad at using my legs, or so I'm told over and over and over and over againSam Bendall
Sean MacDonald
I was actually pretty proud of my dismountSam Bendall
Biltwell
The Biltwell guys do everything a little differentlySean MacDonald
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Ready to get in on the actionSean MacDonald
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Class is in sessionSean MacDonald
Bell Helmet
Aaron's new Bell Moto 3 didn't stay clean for longSean MacDonald
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My boss's boss's boss Andy Leisner was easily one of the fastest guys out there...and also the first to get a session stopped so the coaches could remind us it wasn't a raceSean MacDonald
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Sport Rider's Michael GilbertSean MacDonald
Heath Cofran
Heath from Alpinestars "practicing"Sean MacDonald
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This didn't end well for poor MichaelSean MacDonald
Sean MacDonald
Who wore it brighter?Sean MacDonald