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My two visits to race schools (three counting the Porsche 944 day at Silverstone) have been immensely enjoyable.  They are the best way of experiencing what it is like to ride a race prepared bike around a top road circuit without the risk of writing off your own machine.  If you feel the need for speed but also want expert tuition under controlled conditions on a perfect stretch of twisty tarmac then this is definitely for you.

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Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire comes under the banner of Brands Hatch and uses Yamahas & Ducatis.

Donnington Park Race School in Derbyshire uses Hondas and is run by Ron Haslam.

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My day began with a blast up the M1 from Bedford for an 1100 check-in in the pit lane building at Donnington Park. Once kitted up in leathers (I used my own helmet, boots & gloves) it was time for the group introduction & safety briefing.  After that we all went down to the pit lane, got assigned a bike and met our instructors.  We had a chat about riding experience, position, technique, what we would be doing and what we wanted to achieve.  Then it was out on the track for the first of three sessions.  We started off steadily following our instructor's lines and trying to learn all the braking, turn-in, apex and exit points marked by cones.  After only a few laps we were hurtling round at an alarming rate and I came v.close to coming off.  I exited too wide at McLeans and went over the rumble strips onto the dirt with the bars thrashing wildly.  My errm - supreme skill? saved me and I fought it back onto the track.  After about 20 mins it was in for a much needed breather / debriefing and our bikes were straight out again for another groups' turn on track.

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The 2nd session was faster and the body count started to rise as over confidence caught people out and they found out just how good their leathers were.  Waved yellow flags and recovery marshals were the order of the day after that.

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After a final briefing we were given our head for session 3.  The last I saw of my co-student he was careering off into the gravel at Redgate leaving me one on one with my instructor - cheers mate!  I enjoyed this session the most as I could make my own pace rather than trailing the others.  I felt much scraping of boots and footpegs but ashamedly not kneesliders. I know I need to hang off the bike more and so this is good enough reason to come back next year!  After session 3 was finished we got changed and went upstairs for a certificate presentation and goody bag.

I spent some time afterwards wandering around the pit lane and standing on the pit wall watching others blast down the finish straight.  To round the day off nicely I actually shook hands and had a chat with Ron Haslam before he put in a few laps himself.  Overall I thought it was one of the most enjoyable 200 I have ever spent and comparable to my 12,500 ft parachute jump in June 99 - but that's another story .......

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