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.
Director, 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!!!!!!
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.
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
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, olive
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
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.
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’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!
Riding Coach – Coach of the year 2019
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.
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.