The Art of Racing (motorcycles) in the Rain (at the Nordschleife)

This week I was blessed with a wonderful surprise; an unexpected outing at the Doc Scholl motorcycle training school as a last-minute instructor. After the usual COVID-19 travel problems, the organisation found themselves uncomfortably close to fully-booked on Sunday night. And thanks to Simon not making it over, and both Andy Carlile’s and Bruce’s recommendation, I rocked up to the Doc Scholl course on Monday morning for my first-ever attempt at coaching customers around the Nordschleife ON A BIKE!

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(Now if you’re new to these pages, you might not know that I was actually a professional motorcycle rider type person for a decade before I upped-sticks and set up home at the ‘Ring. But now you do.)

I don’t want to bore all you guys with my rather uneventful story of coaching newbies and beginners around the Nordschleife. I’ll keep it brief; I was the ‘Springer’, the on-standby, problem-solving instructor who could be relied upon to do some one-on-one lead-follow with any rider of any ability. But I guessed I’d be dealt the slower guys and girls, so I arrived to work in my waterproof Halversson’s cordura, astride my very sensible BMW F800GS.

As it turned out, I probably did less than 6 laps in full wet conditions, and I did many more in gloriously sunny conditions. But this article is NOT about my own experiences. It’s about what happened on the morning of the second day, when the heavens opened for a solid hour, and Andy wheeled out his SECOND YZF-R1 trackbike, on full Dunlop racing wet tyres…


To put this in perspective, while we had all ridden a few wet laps over the previous day (and this very morning), the weather at this point was a deluge. It was like standing in a slightly chilly shower at a posh hotel. With the radar showing a clear 1-2 hours of these conditions, Imke and Christoph ordered two buses (from Kraemer, in the village) for some fun ‘touring’ laps.

At this point, with nobody on the track, and no demand from the customers, Andy put his yellow, bitsa, R1 at the front of the cones and set about asking/cajoling/begging for permission.

Permission granted, he set off. The video you see above is actually his second lap of the day on those tyres. I’ll let Andy explain a little more:

So there you go. You can actually go sub-10, in the wet, at the Nuerburgring Nordschleife. Provided you have a disposable second race bike, bags of skill, buckets of experience and plenty of confidence. Oh, and a set of racing wets too.

More photos from a fabulous two days of motorcycle training below:

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