Dark Art Of Performance

A GP Winner's Guide To Riding Faster on Circuit
By Simon Crafar

As mentioned elsewhere on KB, Simon Crafar has recently published a training book and DVD.

Keen to see what he had produced, and thinking it might be a set, I ordered both. Really though you don't need the book and the DVD - although it is nice to have both.

The DVD starts with a movie in which Simon Crafar describes his career, his life in Andorra, and his current job coaching young riders at The European Junior Cup - a WSBK feeder series. He also chats with some current riders: Chris Vermeulen, Gino Rea, Brock Parkes, Leon Camier and Jonathan Rea. Daniel Mettam also makes an appearance. They don't impart pearls of wisdom but in some instances that's the first time I've seen the guys without a helmet on.

There is no instructional material in this part of the DVD, it basically serves to introduce Simon Crafar and establish his credentials as somebody to whom you may consider giving your “hard earned” in order to learn whatever he has to offer. None of which is to say that it's uninteresting or unentertaining. It isn't.

The instructional part of the DVD, filmed at Motorland Aragon, follows virtually exactly the text of the book and is also, as the sub title says, entirely specific to riding on the track. There is some very effective slow motion photography and many of the action shots are taken from a (very fast?) camera bike. Crafar's Suzuki is just dripping fruit salad, carbon everything, Gilles Tooling levers, Ohlins both ends etc.

Visually the book is very attractive, obviously from a different century to Twist Of The Wrist. Copiously illustrated in colour throughout, the main difference to the DVD is the absence of the biographical material. I have accumulated most of the standard books on motorcycle riding now and visually there would be none better presented than this.

Crafar takes issue with some other texts, without mentioning any names, and he starts out with a few Mythbusters. One such:
“ Holding the throttle open to get yourself out of trouble.
This may work on a dirt bike, but with close to 200bhp on a standard 1000cc bike and all the grip of modern tyres, holding it on is only going to make the crash bigger.”

Some of his mythbusters may be somewhat controversial and at variance with conventional wisdom. Of “slow in fast out” Crafar says, “Fast riders are fast everywhere”. I'm assuming this is all relative because Shaun's “You take the slow corners slow and the fast corners fast” also makes perfect sense.

I don't feel, however, that I'm qualified to get into a technical discussion of the material presented. It all appears logical and to be presented in an easily understood manner but I've loaned the DVD to guy who has racing experience and I'm currently waiting to hear what he makes of it all

The chapters follow a logical sequence with headings:
Body Position
Corner Entry
Mid Corner
Corner Exit
Vudu tricks
Track Day Quickstart

The latter covering track etiquette and safety etc.

There are more appropriate books to read if you ride only on the road. Should you be contemplating doing a track day, or considering how to shave a second or two off your lap time, or just gain a better understanding of what the track stars are up to, you might well find either, or both, of the MotoVudu products of assistance.

The book and DVD are available here: