Richard Browne (aka 'Badger')
General Manager UK, Riding Coach
Coach of the Year 2007
I've been hooked on the schools ever since I did my Level 1 as a student. It made such a difference to my riding and it's an honour to be in a position (as a coach) to help others achieve the same sort of improvements in their own riding. Seeing such positive reactions is very rewarding and no two days at the school are the same. Likes: being a part of such a great team of people who I always look forward to meeting up with, BMX (although 20+ years later my knees won’t allow me to ride it anymore), riding all types of bikes, watching bikes, talking bikes... the list goes on, coffee and biscuits. Dislikes: people who don’t try, coffee with no biscuits (a drink is far too wet without one).
Director, Chief Riding Coach UK & 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.
Coach of the Year 2006
What do you enjoy about being a part of the Schools? We get to see a very wide range of riders who are stuck with their riding, then at the end of the day you see this big grin and you know that you have now put them in control of the bike, making them a safer better rider. Also working with some of the fastest boys in the racing scene and helping them to improve, going round the world and riding new tracks and the different types of students and working them both out. Likes: being part of a very special group of people (the School), Banoffee pie, Stella, SuperMoto, Motocross, M Hartley’s wit, leaving big fat black lines from the rear tyre. Dislikes: getting up at 05:30, students that don’t listen and learn, Paul's snoring especially after Stella, London traffic.
Graham Smith (aka 'Flash')
Coach of the Year 2008
What do you enjoy about being a part of the Schools? To be part of something that gives me so much satisfaction and enjoyment and to be able to see the students improve throughout the day and to know that everyone in the team is working towards the same goal. Also travelling to far flung destinations, having all your kit supplied and getting a bike to ride for the year are minor plus points. Likes: getting to ride some great tracks in the sun, Moto GP, PSP. Dislikes: riding in the rain, going back to work after a two day school in Spain.
Chris Butcher (aka 'Butch')
Coach of the Year 2013
The more you learn, the more you understand, the more you understand, the more you feel, the more you feel, the faster you go... ultimately, the more you learn the more you can give back. That's why I love being part of such a dedicated team. Likes: anything that has an engine... going flat out!, clever thinking and interesting people, fishing for anything using a fly rod, doing nothing (occasionally), whiskey and of course, Haribo. Dislikes: I don't like people who won't try because they think know better.
Mike Ollington (aka 'Mike O')
Coach of the Year 2015
What do you enjoy about being a part of the Schools? Working with students and seeing their realisation of the difference the technology makes to their riding as they progress through the day and beyond. It's a real buzz to see students finding the same things that I found when I attended the schools as a customer and then as a Coach. It's great working with a dedicated, organised team of people doing their utmost to ensure that students have an enjoyable day and then relaxing over a chat and a few beers at the day's end. Riding all manner of bikes on tracks all over the world and meeting different people is, of course, hugely appreciated. Likes: my son and wife, German cars, Spanish race tracks and warm, sunny summers. Dislikes: people suffering tunnel vision, most things have another solution.
Who are the best trained people on Earth? Doctors? Soldiers? How about a CSS coach? After graduating through the school back in 1998 I was approached by Andy to become one of the School’s coaches. He explained that becoming a coach was a direct result of demonstrating an ability to listen and apply the drills, along with an understanding of the riding techniques being taught at the Schools. On reflection he made it sound so simple and easy. This is only true in that he used very few words to describe what it takes to be a coach at the California Superbike School. The real truth is in the non-stop development of the coach training that takes place at the school. I very much doubt that any other motorcycle riding coaches can honestly say that their training is never ending. Indeed, it is a very great privilege to become one of the School’s coaches, the on going training ensures that every coach is continually progressing. Applying the techniques is one thing, but to progress through the training as a coach and see students achieve their cornering nirvana is something else. There isn’t a lot that’s better than sharing the moment when a student first gets their knee down. Becoming an ever better trained coach helps with that.
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.
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 14 years of riding motocross I decided I’d like to try my hand on the tarmac and go circuit racing. I booked myself on a trackday and soon discovered my “ambition outweighed my talent”! Coming from a tiny Island in the English Channel (where the speed limit is a dizzying 35mph!) you can imagine I would need all the help I could get. A friend recommended the California Superbike School and soon after I attended Level 1, WOW! The improvements were incredible! The design of the levels and the desire of the coaches to help you succeed through them produced an end result far above anything I thought possible! Now, as a coach, I can see how these results are obtained. The commitment from the whole CSS team in making each student exceed their own expectations of their riding ability is second to none! Being part of this team and understanding the hard work everyone puts in to insure the student has a great day is a real privilege. For sure, riding fast bikes around a track all day is a dream come true but the biggest reward is the beaming smile you see under the students visor! Likes: Family, Motorsport, snowboarding, Basketball. Dislikes: Tennis, Stewards enquiries, Health & Safety.
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.
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.
Ben Smith (aka 'Hippy')
What do you enjoy about being a part of the Schools? We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world.
Riding Coach (Middle East & South Africa)
In 2007 I decided to race in the National 600cc Class. I was lucky enough to have CSS in town and did Level 1 just 3 months before I started racing. It totally changed my concept of riding. It took me a while to erase all the bad habits that I had picked up in 10 years of street riding but applying the techniques from Level 1 surely made me a better and faster, rider. That year I finished the season 3rd overall. It didn't stop there as I went through Twist of the Wrist II seeking more knowledge and then did Level 2 & 3 and guess what?! In 2008 I won 3 titles! Ever since that day, all I wanted to do is help riders improve, just like I did with CSS. I finally got a chance to go through the coaching program and it was one of the toughest things I have ever encountered in my life. It all paid off when I saw the improvement of my students and the grin on their faces. The best part of it all is being one of the CSS family, oh and getting to see the pranks that happen behind the scenes!
Riding Coach (Middle East & South Africa)
What do you enjoy about being part of the schools? The smile and confidence of a student when he/she has realised that they have learnt something that enables then to control the motorcycle better. Also the ability to make students feel more comfortable with their motorcycles and go around corners faster! Working with the best bunch of coaches on the planet! Likes: bikes (suprise!), CSS, XBox 360, MotoGP, WSBK, Drifting, Kodagu, KT (Kert). Dislikes: stubborn and dishonest people.
Stew Christie (aka 'Stewie')
Riding Coach (South Africa)
When I started riding 12 years ago I had heard of Keith Code and The California Superbike School. It was my dream to be able to do the School and when Andy Ibbott and the team came to South Africa I jumped at the opportunity and eventually completed all 4 levels. I was approached with the offer to try out as a Coach, and in 2006 after much study and a gruelling GRILLING by Andy and Johnny, I passed - contrary to belief, becoming accepted as a Coach is when the hard work and study begins. Completing all levels of the California Superbike School has made a huge improvement to my riding - studying to become a Coach has helped me immensely to improve my coaching and riding skills as well as understanding the technology regarding cornering. From dreaming of doing the California Superbike School to actually becoming a Coach, I am now in the place I want to be and enjoying the hard work that encompasses being a CSS Coach.
Steve Leitch (aka 'Beano')
F&A and Overseas Development Director
Why Beano? In the real world I counted beans, i.e. I was Finance Director for the company but am now the F&A and Overseas Development Director. But let’s forget the boring day job. What do I love about CSS; the fact that it’s the best training organisation in the world, bar none. The coaches and staff are just the best from every view point. I’ve been involved since 2002 and as each year has progressed I have become more and more proud of what we do. So, what do I do at the Schools? I get let out from behind my grey desk to liaise with the students and make sure their day is the best we can create. I don’t ride (yet) so don’t ask me anything too technical, however ask me about what we do and sell and I’ll spout on for hours! That’s enough about me – I’ll get back to my grey desk now...
Peter Boon (aka 'Pinky')
Being an original ‘Mod’ my choice of transport way back was a Lambretta and motorbikes were greasy things that were faster than my scooter and allowed the ‘Rockers’ ample time to knock me off! After an early retirement from a hectic career, I had the chance to help out at the school. An eye opener! Some amazing machinery and not a drop of oil in sight! I don’t profess to know about the riding techniques, although having now sat though many hours in the pub after a ‘school’ if you don’t talk bikes, you’re not going to be in the conversation. My role is to ensure the safety of students and coaches out on track, and as with all members of the school, the training received is very comprehensive and on-going. It’s great when a student has a ‘light bulb moment’ and everything drops into place, it absolutely makes the day. Every single member of the school no matter what role they perform is really dedicated to ensuring that each and every student goes away with a beam on their face and a quantifiable improvement in their riding skills. It’s a great team to be associated with, very professional and often a wicked sense of humour. Come and see for yourself I guarantee you will be back for more! Likes: Lambrettas, Northern Soul, Room 101, Sunny days at Silverstone. Dislikes: Vespas, Cold, rainy days at Silverstone.
Student Liaison & Shop Keeper
When you book a school, Ducati track day or just have any queries, then I'm your contact. I and my team can help with just about anything you can throw at us. At the school itself I like helping people and am the shopkeeper for CSS, buying and selling some great gear for motorcyclists, including clothing, accessories, books, dvds etc. I enjoy working with a bunch of talented professionals who are passionate about bikes and I enjoy talking to customers who are also passionate about bikes. I like shopping and like to help others shop and spend money!
Assistant Course Control & Wrangler
I should firstly admit that I don't ride a motorbike - never have, never will! However I lived with a biker for something like 20 years and have seen first-hand the incredible difference that taking part in the schools made to his confidence and ability. From Level 1 onwards the commitment and focus of the whole team - and that includes the ones you don't get to see - is on giving you the best environment to learn how to ride better, safer (and yes, maybe faster). We hope that the smile we give when you Sign-on helps your nerves; that the Safety briefings ensure you know the rules of the day; that the Wrangler gets you to the right place at the right time; that your Coach gives you the confidence and support you require; that the Classroom sessions give you the technology you need; that the Coaches on track help you to put the tech into practice... and that the food is good (okay - not always under our control, but important!). That's all we do, that's what we care about... you (and each other!). Come, have a good day, we can pretty much guarantee that you will!