Anyone who has watched MotoGP or WSBK will have noticed that the best riders in the world are experts when it comes to sliding their machines into and out of corners, with Nori Haga, Chris Walker and Garry McCoy prime examples..

The ability to control a front or rear wheel slide is a vital riding skill on Superbike or GP machinery - due to the masses of power - and can be the difference between winning and crashing.

Therefore, the ACU Academy were keen to make sure their road racers get some high level coaching in this vital skill.

1993 Speedway World Champion Sam Ermelenko is no stranger to the 'black art' of sliding a bike. For the second year running the young riders were lucky enough to have Ermelenko give them some world class coaching at the Academy Slide School, based at Burton on Trent [pictured].

The Slide School was established in 2001 and has two new Yamaha TTR125 motorcycles purchased as 'sliding bikes' - fitted with slick rear tyres to make them easier to slide on the school's 300 meter sand oval.

The aim of the training is simple: to give the young road racers more confidence when riding a bike that suddenly breaks traction. Ermelenko teaches the riders to induce both front and rear wheel slides and control them with a combination throttle and body positioning.

As expected, the 2003 Academy intake found the training extremely useful - even those with an off road background learnt a lot, such as Yamaha R6 racer Kieran Clarke, a former Junior British Motocross Champion.

"Sam has taught me to be a little more progressive with the throttle and to use the engine braking more induce a slide," said Clarke. "I am sure this will be a massive help this season in the R6 Cup where we will be using road bias tyres and grip will be an issue."

Also impressed was off road newcomer and 125GP class racer Rob Guiver: "That was great! I have never done anything like it before and I have learnt so much. I already feel more confident about getting the bike all crossed up and controlling it."

As for Sam, he also enjoyed teaching the boys.

"They have so much talent at such a young age," explained Ermelenko, who still races for Wolverhampton and commentates for Sky Sports on Speedway. "Take the two Lowes boys, 13 years old and both awesomely talented on a motorcycle. I think they both have big futures ahead of them in the sport."

 

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