‘Superadvanced’ motorcycle training comes to the UK

21.34 | 3 May 2010 | | 9 comments

The Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic has opened in Stratford upon Avon to launch Superadvanced motorcycle training in the UK.

Superadvanced motorcycle training was devised by the American champion rider Lee Parks in 1994. It is now well established in the USA and, after testing, is now available in the UK.

Duncan Mackillop, principal of Total Control in the UK, said: “What we teach is fundamentally different to the methods taught in every other riding school in the country.

“They teach, essentially, about planning for and managing the hazards that you would encounter every day when out riding your bike.”

Mackillop says that although Total Control does cover how riders interact with the environment, especially the management of corners, it also covers, in much greater depth, how the rider and machine interact.

He says it is very difficult to cover these elements in depth out on the road as the environment is ever changing and the feedback loop between rider and machine changes with the environment.

He adds that Total Control provides a consistent environment in the form of its training ground, so that the feedback between rider and bike is more obvious. This feedback that results from the consistent environment, is at the heart of the practical element of Total Control.

“Total Control teaches you the ‘real stuff’ that you just can’t learn in school," he says. "You learn a lot from normal advanced riding schools, but with Total Control you begin to understand  the really important things that simply cannot be learnt out on the road.”

For more information contact Duncan Mackillop on 01789 450828 or visit: www.totalcontroltraining.co.uk.


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    The best rider training days I have been to. Nothing taught contradicts the system and the instructors thoroughly recommend IAM or Rospa to all students.

    It’s all very well saying that the system teaches you not to get into situations, so does that mean that if your not 100% perfect on every bend like David of Suffolk you and your family to suffer the consequences? Thankfully Duncan Mackillop believes this is not the case and shows you how to get out of sticky situations which for most are unrecoverable.

    Whilst the system is fantastic, I find it incredible how some people shut themselves off to any further training from other trainers.

    I would urge any ride to do this course, not only will it make you safer, its great fun and will improve your confidence and riding no end.

    Simon, Orpington
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    “The only difference between American riding is that they ride on the wrong side of the road.”
    I don’t know if it’s true of all Americans but recently a Police motorcyclist friend and myself visited one of the large US Airforce bases we have in this county. Following a “Bikesafe” type presentation we took the guys out for assessed rides. Generally they were not bad but almost to a rider they all had the habit of setting themselves up nicley for a corner and then suddenly diving early straight for the apex. On left handers, (unless they took them very slowly,) they had the worrying habit of ending up on the wrong side of the road! Only a few weeks before one of their number had died in just such an incident.
    On leaving they were very polite but I had the strong impression that they were not going to accept any advice from a “limey”.
    But I’m still open minded about “Super Advanced Training”, I’ll give it a go if RoadsafetyGB will sponsor me 🙂

    Martin, Suffolk
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    “Rather than using one’s skill in handling the machine to get u out of danger once one’s in it.” So says David.
    So why then, after many years of research and consultation has a swerve and brake manouvere been introduced into the bike test? Is it not an attempt at avoidance of a collision when all else has failed? the SIDSY accident.

    Yes, collision avoidance by defensive riding techniques is nowadays being taught more. But as with the swerve/brake manouvere, if there is or are other techniques one can learn that will lead to a greater undrestanding of bike, maybe balance, weight, rider involvement then it can only be for the good.

    The only difference between American riding is that they ride on the wrong side of the road.

    bob craven Lancs
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    Sadly, the well-informed comments posted above will probably not be read and absorbed by those who sign up for this particular Clinic. Safe riding on a road is about using positioning, observation and planning to avoid problems, rather than using one’s skill in handling the machine to get you out of danger once one’s in it.

    The Clinic may just be what motorcycle road safety in the UK has been crying out for, but I will not be holding my breath.

    David, Suffolk
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    Whilst not necesarily in support or critical of this new initiative I do believe that there are matters out there relating to hiden aspects of two wheeled travel and ones that do concern a motorcyclist and/or his/her riding or appreciation of the bike. Matters which if brought to the fore may create a better understanding and appreciation of machine and rider and as such would, maybe, be of benifit to riders

    A writer in a regular. bike mag recently suggested [ actually recommended]that all motorcyclists should go on a track day and could posssibly learn someething which could possibly save there lives. Thats possibly conjecture. Or it may be true. It could also be true that some off road motorcross experience could be of benifit or even speedway. Who knows. Certainly whats been considered over the last 10 years has had some benifit but maybe just maybe a piece of information here and another there will lodge in some motorcyclist mind and that piece of info may have a direct bearing on what may happen to him/her in the future.

    So lets give it a try and see what comes of it. Although it may be track based if its on a piece of private land it cant be that fast.

    Talking about a decreasing radius turn we all come accross them every day, well most who use the motorway. The bends built to take traffic off and on the motorway are in general all decreasing radius in that they all become sharper towards the end.
    This is a fault, a mistake, created by old technoligy from a period when the railways were built and they were built in this way as it was a means of slowing the trains down on bends….. fast in and slow out. the engineers who planned our motorway system saw it and as there was no other plan and it worked [ for the railways at least] followed suit with the good idea when one wants to accelerate into a motorway lane but if it reduces speed off the motorway then it does some good and gets the driver, hopefully, to slow down to a slower traffic speed.

    bob craven
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    Teaching machine control in a safe environment is all well and good and knowing how capable your machine is builds confidence and reduces the likelyhood of panic induced mistakes. However on road training that deals with observation, positioning and dealing with other road users effectively and curtiously is far better. I’d rather see riders doing Bikesafe or ERS than doing tracked based training days. We have enough problems with riders wanting to use inappropriate track riding techniques on the roads.

    Dave, Leeds
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    I’ve had a look at the ‘Total Control – Advanced Riding Clinic’ website and am mildly alarmed at some of the things I’ve been reading, such as; ‘…cornering speeds never go above 25 mph. While this may seem slow, in a tight enough corner, 25 mph is very, very fast’. I would say if the corner/bend is too tight then 25 mph would be too fast – anyone with knowledge of limit points will know what I’m talking about.

    I’m also concerned by the ‘expertise’ of the instructors. The website states ‘The Total Control System was devised by Chief instructor Lee Parks who had been racing for 25 years…’; ‘Lee’s staff of personally trained instructors…’ and ‘…both of whom have a wealth of experience in superadvanced rider training’. This sounds like the course has been totally devised by Lee Parks alone and is his own take on how things should be done. Also, everything is very ‘race’ orientated and seems to be about getting round a corner as fast as possible, not as safely as possible. The section on the ‘Closed Range Concept’ is possibly the most worrying. I quote ‘…it was thought you couldn’t possible (not my grammatical error – copied straight from the website) do superadvanced exercises on a car park, you needed at least a race track for that sort of thing’; ‘… a closed ranged proved far superior to a race track for a lot of essential exercises’; and ‘A great advantage of the closed range is that there is only ever one rider allowed on the range at any one time, which is less intimidating and much safer than riding on a race track could ever be’. Race lines are different to road lines where you position for vision, are at the correct speed for the bend (limit points again) and in the right gear (transmission wise, not what you’re wearing!) to negotiate the bend.

    However, I have not attended one of these courses so cannot comment from personal experience. I would be interested to hear from a police trained motorcyclist, or someone who has received training based on ‘Roadcraft’, such as from the IAM, who has done a ‘Super Advanced’ course to see how they think they compare, or from anyone else who has been on one.

    I would like to know what ‘testing’ has been done to now make this course available in the UK after years in the US, and also what Duncan Mackillop means when he says Total Control teaches you the ‘real stuff’ that you just can’t learn in school. ‘You learn a lot from normal advanced riding schools, but with Total Control you begin to understand the really important things that simply cannot be learnt out on the road. What is the ‘real stuff’ and what are the ‘really important’ things’?

    Vince Morley, Milton Keynes
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    I’m in agreement with Roy.
    I feel that Motorcycle Roadcraft is one of the finest books on motorcycle riding technique ever written. I am informed that the original version was derived from course notes used at Hendon. The current version has been developed in the light of experience, and advancement in motorcycle design and technology. The book is based on sound logic & reality and it forms the foundation on which most advanced motorcycle rider skills development in the UK is based.

    For those that would like to take a look at the physics of motorcycle riding in a bit more detail, there’s a very good book – Motorcycle Excellence – published in the nineties. It’s an American book, based on the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s rider training curridulum. The chapter on advanced riding skills contains some very useful information for those who like vectors and maths. the book is available in the UK at a cost of about £30.

    Mark – Wiltshire
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    Please may I urge colleagues not to get over-excited about the Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic. I read Lee Parks book, “Total Control” when it was first published in 2003 and, although there is much sound advice, it is track orientated and written from an American perspective . I am cognizant that the famous Police Driving School at Hendon was started in the 1930s after consultation with racing drivers but the basis of advanced police driving – and riding – evolved from selecting which racing techniques were transferable to the public road. Not all of Lee’s book is intended to make the road rider a better one, so it will be up to the reader – or patient at the Clinic – to make the same selection that the Metropolitan Police did over 70 years ago. Circumspection is recommended when reading Duncan Mackillop’s rather romantic comments. Do bear in mind Duncan is in the business of selling a product so make sure that what is being sold is what you want to buy. The book will tell you where to place your body-weight, vis-a-vis the machine, as you enter a fast corner at Daytona. It will also advise the rider on the quickest way to exit a decreasing radius turn. As this is the racing-line and on a track, it does not matter that the whole width of the road is used. So be selective and remember that, when Total Control teaches you “the real stuff”, be sure who’s reality is being taught.

    Roy Buchanan, Sutton
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