The Kevin Schwantz School at Barber Motorsports Park has received the official nod of recognition from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation as the first Track Course to be approved for its safety instruction.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) today announced its recognition of the Kevin Schwantz School, making it the first outside training curriculum to receive this distinction by the MSF. Founded by 1993 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz in 2001, the school has recently relocated to the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.
The Kevin Schwantz School earned the recognition by meeting MSF criteria to be considered a safe and responsible system of instruction for motorcycle track riding, and by being actively involved with the MSF and aligned with its key principles. The MSF further recognized the Kevin Schwantz School as complementary to the MSF philosophy and approach to motorcyclist training.
“For me personally, and all of us at the Kevin Schwantz School, it’s a true honor to be the first track school to be recognized by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation,” said Schwantz. “Everywhere you go, nationwide and even around the world, the MSF is renowned as the leader in terms of raising the bar for motorcycle safety and training. To be honored in this way, and to continue to collaborate with the MSF and offer training opportunities that extend MSF safety principles by taking them to the next level means the world to us. And it means safer riders out there on the street.”
Schwantz continued, “In fact, we’ve said all along, the Kevin Schwantz School is not a racing school. It’s a place where students can explore their capabilities and limits, as well as those of their bikes, in a controlled track environment, and then learn how to apply those lessons where it really counts, out in the real world.”
According to MSF Director of Training Systems Dr. Ray Ochs, the recognition is the result of a longstanding and ongoing relationship between the Kevin Schwantz School and the MSF. The recognition was conferred following a collaborative process that included a rigorous examination of the school’s approach to teaching by Dr. Ochs and other MSF staff, a gloves-on evaluation of the two-day course by MSF Managing Director Al Hydeman, and extensive review of the overall course methodology and written curriculum materials.
“Throughout the assessment stages,” said Dr. Ochs, “we provided guidance on the Kevin Schwantz School’s course content and terminology, curriculum style, range practices, and learning activities, particularly in the classroom, that would enhance the student experience and bring the school in alignment with key MSF training principles and philosophies regarding safety, learning, and motor skills development. Overall, we were pleased that there were strong parallels between the school’s approach to motorcycle training and the MSF’s.”
The two-day Kevin Schwantz School offers a comprehensive corner-by-corner look at the 16-turn, 2.38 mile Barber Motorsports Park to specifically detail reference points, cornering lines, and shift points on every section of racetrack. The school takes an in-depth, safety-first approach to visual awareness, effective turning, body positioning, braking, cornering, and building confidence at increased lean angles. The course also includes on-bike video instruction, classroom review to enhance the student’s learning experience, and a track walk with Kevin to show students the reference points close-up. As part of its safety partner program, a Dainese Wave Back Protector is awarded to the “Dainese Safest Student” at every school.
According to Hydeman, the Kevin Schwantz School track course builds on the essentials of the MSF Rider Education and Training SystemSM (MSF RETS) and then takes students to another level of confidence and control, one that supports the MSF’s mission and the fundamental principles of safety renewal and lifelong learning.
“We were really excited to work with the staff at the Kevin Schwantz School and fine tune their application of adult learning principles,” Hydeman said. “Particularly impressive is the school’s individual approach to each student with a maximum of three students per instructor, real-time feedback, self-assessment, and the continual emphasis on taking personal responsibility for risk management.”
The MSF’s recognition of the Kevin Schwantz School coincides with the third annual National Capital Region Joint Services motorcycle safety event at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. on May 1, 2009. The MSF is hosting Schwantz at the event, where he is one of several featured dignitaries who will address representatives from all five branches of the combined Armed Forces. Following the speaker portion of the event, Schwantz will demonstrate advanced riding drills and exercises from the MSF’s Military SportBike RiderCourse curriculum under the watchful eye of MSF-certified RiderCoach Jessica Prokup.
About Kevin Schwantz
Kevin Schwantz has long been involved with rider training and safety, and founded his track-based Kevin Schwantz School in 2001. He is also one of the greatest American motorcycle racers of all time, and one of the most popular worldwide. The highlight of Schwantz’ career was winning the FIM 500cc World Championship in 1993. This Grand Prix series was the pinnacle of two-wheeled competition, motorcycling’s equivalent to Formula 1 auto racing, with the fastest, most exotic prototype machines and the best, most highly paid riders. It evolved into today’s current MotoGP World Championship.
The Texan raced in the championship series for eight years and won 25 races. He was among a small group of American stars, from the late 1970s through the early 1990s, who almost completely dominated Grand Prix motorcycle racing. In 1995, he retired, and his longtime racing number, 34, was soon retired by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme sanctioning body. This was the first time since the series began, in 1949, that a rider had been honored in this way.