500cc GP legends go back to school

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Former 500cc GP star Randy Mamola was at the Honda Ron Haslam Race School at Donington this week.

Mamola, who finished runner-up four times in the 500cc World Championship in the 1980s, was there with his son, Dakota, who raced in the Spanish Moto2 championship last year and is currently Cal Crutchlow’s personal assistant at MotoGP.

Although Randy Mamola didn’t ride, Dakota got instruction from Ron Haslam on a Bridgestone-shod Honda CBR500R and CBR600RR, to brush-up his skills.

Randy says: “I’ve known Ron forever. When I was at the Laguna Seca WSB race we were talking about maybe getting back into racing. Dakota hasn’t been on a race bike since October, so Leon and Ron said anytime you want to come to the school you’re welcome. So we decided to come out after Silverstone to give Dakota a chance to stretch his legs and see how much he likes it.

“I didn’t realise how big the school was and how many instructors there are. I’ve instructed on a few trackdays, but it’s like the Wild West. It’s hard to teach because there’s isn’t the same discipline as there is here with the overtaking rules. And of course, the Haslam family have always got a smile and love motorcycles.

Dakota adds: “It’s the first time I’ve ever really followed such a legendary rider, because usually I’m alone or with competitors. With him knowing so much about the track and how to ride a bike, it was really good and just following him taught me a lot. I’ve never really learned to downshift and use the clutch – I’m used to just dropping the clutch with slipper clutches. On such a stock bike he was teaching me how not to back it in too much – I was tending to go in earlier, back it in and then lose time.”

Ron concludes: “I get a quite a few young lads coming through, whether it’s CB500s or a higher level and I just love trying to teach them something. When you get somebody as strong and quick as Dakota, I enjoy it more and if I can give him anything it’s a bonus to me. Today it was all about following me and putting pleasure into riding bikes again. Even when Leon comes, he’s still doing the same. We all go out there and I call it playing, but it’s learning at the same time. What surprised Dakota straight away is how much control he has over the road tyre. It’s an easier limit to get to for a racer and when we were out there he was getting it sideways a few times and enjoying himself.”

There are still a few spaces left in the final Ron Haslam Schools this year. See www.haslamraceschool.com

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Michael Neeves

By Michael Neeves

MCN Chief Road Tester, club racer, airmiles millionaire.