Riding with the Champion

Kenny Kopecky
WSMC # 1 | WSMC #27

"What the riders in the program have said..."



Lloyd Magruder, after May 8 at TrackDaz with Kenny:

Trackdaz has teamed up with the #1 plate holder for 2005 Kenny Kopecky and Kenny will be working with one person at every Trackdaz event for the rest of the year. I was the first person to do this. So, is it worth it? Let me give it to you in a shortened race weekend version:

Two Monday's ago, I did the first Ride with the Champion event via Trackdaz at Willow Springs. Kenny Kopecky showed me proper lines, visualization drills, books to read, proper body position, throttle control and oh yeah, did I say the "fast lines"!

Needless to say, I had issues that Monday a fortnight back. Now I didn't set any personal best lap times during the track day, but that wasn't the point. When you ride with the champ, you need to be focusing on 1 to 2 things per session. Lap times shouldn't be one of them. Lap times matter on race weekend.

Okay, now fast forward to this race weekend. I showed up Saturday at noon, since I use the GTU race as my practice for Saturday. I lined up gridded 9th or something and off we went. First 8 laps I was getting into my rythem, but only doing my regular lap times for the last year and a half. 1:30-1:31. Then on lap 9, as I concentrated on lines and being smooth, I saw a 1:29.1 on my lap timer! Whoa... I was happy right there.. more like amazed. That was my first sub 1:30 time I ever recorded. I was thinking how I had to thank Kenny as soon as the race was over. Money well spent, yeah? Well, I guess I finally figured something out on that lap, cause it all clicked. Then on lap 14 I see a 1:28.79! Holy crap, a 1:28. I'm going 1.5 seconds better than my fastest ever lap time. Again, I'm thanking Kenny in my helmet! At the end of the GTU race I gave Kenny a big hug when he came and found me.

Now comes race day. I know how to do consistent 1:29's and even a 1:28. First race is 650 SBK. I'm gridded way down in 23rd spot. Race starts and the first few laps were just like the GTU race. !;29's and low 1:30's. Then the track cleared on lap 4. Lap 5 comes 1:29.2. Lap 6 is a 1:28.09. Lap 7 is a 1:27.76. Lap 8 is my fastest lap at a 1:27.67.

That's nearly 3 seconds off my best lap time!!!! That right there should tell anyone in their right mind that riding with a fast guy like Kenny all day, listening to what he says, working on specific items, and then applying the knowledge, is worth every penny. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would see 1:27's this weekend!

Now once I realized how fast I could go, all of a sudden running 1:28's seems so easy. I finished my last two races doing mostly 1:28's. Weird?

Anyway, I want to personally thank the #1 plate holder Kenny Kopecky for all the advice, the hospitality, the friendship and his "fast lines". For all those that will be riding with Kenny for the rest of the year, you are def getting a lot of knowledge and experience.
Good luck and thanks again Kenny. Cheers and ciao per ora.

------ And after his June meet Lloyd wrote (on the WSMC UNofficial BBS):

After last month and getting some good results, I wanted to see if it was just a fluke, on my laps times and where I finished.

Well, some of our fast 600cc racers weren't there this weekend like Beck and Perez, etc... but I am not gaging my races on those guys... that's a whole nother step up the racing ladder, that I am no where near yet.

For the first time since coming to Willow and racing in the Expert and now Pro level, I finished all of my races in the top 10. Last month I was proud of myself for staying with the likes of Bryan Davenport and John Dang. They were usually a couple seconds a lap in front of me, but thanks to Kenny that has changed.

This month, my goal to stay with Dustin Coyner and Stan Bates was achieved (granted Dustin was not at 100% with a sore wrist), but I was proud none the less.

Small goals I have set for myself are being reached, and I could not have done it without Kenny's guidance. I can't begin to tell everyone here what a help he has been. In fact, I will be signing up again with him next year, and working on fine tuning the basic knowledge he gave me the first time. If and when you ride with him, just make sure to set realistic, small goals for yourself afterwards.

So, thank you again Kenny. I'm reaching those goals a little bit at a time.

Steve Brefka, after a half-day at the Streets on June 2nd TrackDaz:

Unbelievably the 6/2 morning spot went unattended, and I came in sick. I went home for a nap, sucked a bit of gas from the black bottle as someone suggested, and was breathing fire by my 1:00 time slot.

I had a great day and will make a report after next race weekend, but just want to give a bit of thanks here, now.

After 40 or so years of riding, most of it in the dirt, I've developed unbreakable bad habits. Kenny's warm smile filled the afternoon with a relaxed mood, and we concentrated on basic operations that are fundamental to riding. Braking, downshifting, turning in, body position, body position again, peg weighting, and return to body position. Did I mention I'm a slow learner?

Riding With The Champ worked well for me for several reasons.

One on one. He devoted his time totally to what we agreed to work on, while taking in a big picture of my riding, bike set-up, handling, tires etc.

Kenny listens well and duplicates what you have to say and follows up to help you solve whatever you are dealing with, and never failed to deliver an answer that worked for me.

Non structured time so difficulties weren't left as a program moved on.

I saw instant results in difficult areas and in areas Kenny mentioned in passing that were bonuses.

Thank you KK it was my best birthday ever!

Dustin, Lilli, Mario, and the rest of the Trackdaz staff - thanks for another great trackday, and especially for making "Champday" possible.

Steve B

Brian Vosko, after a full day at Buttonwillow on July 1st TrackDaz:

My Ride With The Champ Experience - Buttonwillow

Just wanted to chime in with my experience training with Kenny Kopecky (WSMC27) at Buttonwillow 7/1/06. In one word... Phenomenal!

Kenny was not only extremely knowledgeable, but also very articulate when explaining where I could strengthen my skills around Buttonwillow. Through the day, we sat in luxury in his air conditioned motor home while he explained to me where I could shave seconds (literally) from my lap times. We covered body positioning, entry/mid corner/exit speed optimization, throttle control, line selection, bike set up… just about everything I could think to ask, Kenny had experience that he was happy to share.

This was my 1st time back to Buttonwillow since my off last summer and by the end of the day, I was convinced that I had never felt stronger at this track. This marked the 1st time in a year that I felt comfortable running in the race group at this track.

After tracing his lines Saturday, Sunday was one of my favorite trackdays yet... my times continued to drop and the track just kept looking wider and smoother!

Big ups to Kenny for helping me get “back in the saddle.”

If you have a chance to ride with Kenny, TAKE IT!

There is no other school like it in the country for getting one on one instruction in every session for an entire track day.

Always my best,

Ryan Gagliano, after a full Saturday program at Willow on July 29th:

Kenny Kopecky is a fantastic coach and instructor, who demonstrates patience, great listening skills, and encouragement.

While some programs have high student to teacher ratios and only teach general techniques for improved riding, Kenny fine tunes your individual riding habits.  This personal approach makes for much faster learning and gives the student precise feedback.

Just when I felt like I was getting comfortable with the lessons being taught, Kenny Kopecky expanded the program by incorporating his years of successful racing by discussing and practicing racing strategy!

Steve Sturm, WSMC #98, after riding with Kenny on Feb. 5, 2007:

"As some of you know, I recently did the "Ride With the Champ" at WSIR with Kenny.

First, let me say, it is a great opportunity to take a pretty detailed look at your riding, and to examine what you want to examine to help improve your skills. All of us have a general idea of areas that we are lacking in, and Kenny lets us dictate some of the major areas that we will work on during the day. That isn't to say that the learning is limited to what we, the students, specify at the start of the day, but it does help determine where the course is going.

As I am not currently racing, I chose to focus mostly on riding skills as opposed to race craft, and that is what Kenny and I spent the majority of the day doing. Finding areas of my riding that needed improvement, and working on those areas throughout the day.

I am not going to go into detail as to what we did and what we discussed, that is for you to find out by taking the course. But I found it very worthwhile, and did learn quite a bit from Il Campione, things that I didn't or wouldn't have otherwise seen or been exposed to.

For those of you that also want to learn tricks to help you with race craft, I can honestly say that from the little tiny bit that I did get exposed to (remember I wanted to work on riding skills first and foremost), you will learn a great number of tricks and techniques to build your racing skills. Things that you will be scratching your head saying "why didn't I think of that?". They are some common sense, and some not so common, but the reason you "didn't think of it" is because you don't have years of racing to draw from.

In short, it is worth the duckets to take the day with Kenny, you will not be disappointed.
SR -- WSMC 98


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Last modified: February 24, 2010