Update: American Supercamp

I know I've been promising an update about American Supercamp's Supermoto course for almost two months now.  Sorry about that.  I'd like to say that I haven't had time for the past month, but I really have, being recently unemployed and all.

The class is most excellent, and I highly recommend the standard version to anyone that has experience with street riding, and would like some more dirt experience.  You will get very comfortable with the flat-track style of riding over the course of a couple of days.  

Unfortunately, I have almost zero dirt experience, much less sliding/flat-track experience.  As such, I REALLY should have taken the two-day "normal" supercamp course before I took the Supermoto version.  It took me a day and a half to unlearn all of my "road-racer" habits, and start to use what I was slowly learning about sliding into the corner and body position and whatnot.

This meant that the first day was mainly a painful fall-fest until we got out to the parking lot, where the second part of the supermoto class takes place.  Most of the people there, including what seemed like most of the field of the now-cancelled American Superbike Red Bull Rookies Cup, had been there for four days prior to the supermoto section.  I was pretty lost.  I reverted back to all of my bad habits from when I first started riding motorcycles, and you would never know that I've won a race, much less a championship.  It was pathetic.

At least on the parking lot, I knew what a street tire would do with a small bike, and even though I was trying to lean off the bike the "wrong" way and get it sliding, I was still more comfortable, except for the water puddle at the far side of the track right in the middle of a 120 degree turn-around.

The whole entry process involving both brakes and leaning the wrong way, and feathering the clutch and slamming downshifts at the middle of the slide was a lot to get for me though.  I flubbed it a ton of times.

Then we connected up the indoor section of the horse arena where the dirt was, to the parking lot, and got to have the feeling of a really long course that was about 60% paved, and included a dirt jump and a banked dirt turnaround.  That was... challenging.  But fun.

The next day, it rained ALL day, so we stayed inside.  I want to say that what the second day turned into was more of the normal supercamp, just with the TTR's outfitted with street slicks instead of knobbies.  This was really okay with me, since I understand the paved sections, it's that whole dirt thing I just don't get at all.  By the end of the second day, I think I was starting to get it, and some of the instructors even said so at various times.  They were also spending less time going around the outside of the turn with me and holding my elbow up.

The instructors are very patient, and know what they're doing to be sure.  They've done it a lot, and I think that they spend a lot of good time with the kids, and give appropriate feedback to the adults.  I would have liked to have known that the regular supercamp was such an important pre-requisite for the supermoto course, because I COULD have signed up for both, and learned a lot more.

The equipment is maintained well, and they have good sponsors for various bits like shifters and bars and grippy seats.

They also loaned me a bunch of gear on the second day so I didn't have to run in my leathers the whole time.  For the dirt section, definitely expect to be in motocross gear, with an emphasis on knee braces and elbow/shoulder armor.  You need more flexible boots than the standard motocross boots, but standard road-racing boots are a bit too soft for the abuse you'll take.  My Alpinestar Tech 8's were WAY too stiff to feel the brake lever, but my Sidi Vertebra's were too soft on the bottoms and sides to be as protective as necessary, and the soles would wear straight through with all of the sliding.  The gear they had was pretty nice too, Alpinestars, Fox Racing, etc.  Not the cheapest stuff they could find.  A bunch of the kids were running with metal flat-track overboots, which was kind of funny to see.

They could REALLY improve their website.  I know, I'm a website developer, so I'm biased, but they're normal website is terrible.  It's not an easy thing to get right, but just the layout and graphics and information available doesn't tell you everything you need to know about what the class is, what you do, what you need to bring, and just in general, what to expect.  They could do a lot with just some basic pages and links and such.  And while I haven't checked in a month, the last time I looked, it was barely a usable website that you could order a class through.  And even the ordering is... confusing.  It's unclear which thing you're ordering compared to what you're paying for compared to which event you want.  It's obviously meant to be a VERY low maintenance system for them, but it ends up being confusing for the customers.

That said, I still want to go again.  I only wish Texas had more supermoto interest.  There's just none here, and they won't do a class anywhere NEAR central Texas.  Definitely unfortunate, since I think it would do really well here if marketed to the right crowds.

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