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Motorcycle racer learns to ride on roads

jake Dolan racer and learner rider at AMA training

American and Australian racer Jake Dolan is like so many other bike racers – he doesn’t have a licence to ride a bike on the road! As our new performance bike road tester at Motorbike Writer we thought it a good idea he got his open licence so we sent him to the reputable Australia Motorcycle Academy:

I only needed a restricted motorcycle licence to get on the track so I never bothered upgrading.

Also, I believed road riding was too dangerous. I thought there were too many bad drivers on the road and way too many hard obstacles on the sides of the road.

It doesn’t matter how good you are as a rider it’s the other idiots out there and the absence of a safe run-off area that make it dangerous.

However, I’m now more mature and trust myself to do the speed limit and not use the road as a racetrack. Previously I only knew one speed – flat out!

So, to get my open licence, I chose the Australian Motorcycle Academy as it’s well known in the industry and its trainers are friendly and knowledgeable.

I got in contact with Conrad and Shona and together they set me up on a day course to move up from Restricted to Unrestricted.

They informed me the cost* for the one-day course included breakfast, lunch, beverages, any riding gear I needed and a motorcycle. Straight away I knew I had made a good decision!

AMA have eight instructors on staff. Being a very experienced rider, I could tell that my funny and enthusiastic coach, Sheldon Koo, actually knew what he was talking about.

jake Dolan racer and learner rider at AMA training

He inspired confidence and made us feel relaxed. He even gave me a few extra techniques to add to my bucket of skills.

First, we sat in the classroom for a while going over some much-needed info and reminders on what you legally should and shouldn’t do on the street. Coming from a racing background this was a must-listen section for me.

After a bacon and egg sandwich for brekky we moved on to the bike setup. Sheldon explained things to look for and maintain on your motorcycle. Again a handy reminder for all enthusiasts.

jake Dolan racer and learner rider at AMA training

AMA offer a range of quality motorcycles to do your test on but I was lucky enough to get my hands on a new MV Agusta Brutale 1090, thanks to MV Agusta Australia and importers Urban Moto Imports.

Jake Dolan racer and learner rider at AMA training

Next was riding practice including simple road riding to more advanced figure eights and emergency stops.

Unlike some other courses, they also spend a lot of time out riding on the road among the traffic to learn road craft.

That’s important as far as I’m concerned. It’s not just about handling a bike at parking speeds in a closed-off carpark, but how you survive in a hectic traffic situation.

jake Dolan racer and learner rider at AMA training

The six-hour course actually lasted longer, starting at 7.45am and finishing at 3pm which is pretty good value.

At the end of the day, I not only got my open licence, but surprisingly, I also learnt quite a few things.

I would also recommend this as a great refresher course to experienced riders, those who haven’t ridden for a while, riders who may have lost some confidence and even to racers!

  • Average one-day cost for an experienced rider is $280-$330. Prices depend on experience.

About the author:

Jake has been riding since the age of two, competed in Australia and America road-racing competitions and hopes to eventually race in World Superbikes. Results: 2013 Southern Californian Open Superstock 1000 champion, second in the 2013 Southern Californian Formula Twins championship, third in the Southern Californian Open Superstock 1000 championship and sixth in the 2010 Australian 600cc championship.