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Old 06-17-2012, 02:01 PM   #1
johnodrake
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I have just returned from Spring Mountain Motorsports Resort and Country Club Ron Fellows High Performance Driving School and wanted to share with you my experiences.

Click the image to open in full size.

I attended the Level 2 school for the second time and, as I did last time, I attended the last day of the Level 1 school as a warm-up. This was my fourth time at Spring Mountain. To say that the school is a blast is a gross understatement. I cannot imagine doing anything with a car that it more fun, exciting and informative.

Let me say a few things about the school - and there are pictures included! The facilities are without peer. Some folks elect to stay in town and some elect to stay in Vegas but you can do no better than stay at the facility. the rooms are terrific - clean, attractive and come with kitchen facilities and a big flat screen - like I had time for that, right! (but I did get to see the start of Le Mans on the morning I left). For those who want to take a significant other, there is a pool and spa and they even have a gun range!

View from Condo B
Click the image to open in full size.

The Club House
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My Room
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The track is highly technical with each turn designed to teach the student something about the handling of the car. The Level two course is 2.4 miles and 12 turns including a Watkins Glen like "Bus Stop". You can really get smokin' on the back straight - upwards of 125+! The Level 1 course is the same sans the bus stop and loop but does include the most challenging set of turns - 8, 9, 10 that you can find anywhere. Just to let you know how improvement comes - I improved 5 full seconds over my last visit - and this was on a hot track in June. I hope to do the same level of improvement when I return in 2013!

Turn One
Click the image to open in full size.

Turn Seven
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The Straight
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The Finish
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The Cars
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The instructors are peerless! The Director and Chief Instructor, Rick Malone, is one of the finest motor sport teachers I have seen and he is always looking for ways to improve the school but more importantly, he looks for ways to improve the student. He will do whatever it takes to make the student better - even if it means riding with the student lap after lap giving personal attention. The other instructors, both full time and part time are not only exceptional drivers - like Jeff Bucknum - who has driven the Indy 500 - but they are all exceptional instructors as well - giving you guidance without making you feel like an idiot in the process!

The Classroom
Click the image to open in full size.

Finally a word about the staff - their goal is to make the experience a great one and they are successful at it - from the sales and administrative staff to the guys that maintain the cars - first class all the way and they are never unwilling to stop what they are doing to say hi and chat a moment.

Often you hear on the forum - what should I do to mod my car first. My answer will always be "Mod the driver" treat yourself to a course at Spring Mountain - If you think you can drive now, just wait and see how well you drive after a visit to the Ron Fellows School!

We did!
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 06-17-2012, 02:11 PM   #2
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thanks for the write up and photos John. Thinking about going in the fall for the first time. Your thread sure peaks my interest.

My wife is encouraging me to go....so......
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Old 06-17-2012, 02:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drich2905 View Post
thanks for the write up and photos John. Thinking about going in the fall for the first time. Your thread sure peaks my interest.

My wife is encouraging me to go....so......
Take her with you. She can ride along with the instructors. Lots of Significant Others do this!
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Old 06-17-2012, 02:51 PM   #4
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Awesome and one day I will get to go
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Old 06-17-2012, 03:01 PM   #5
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Awesome and one day I will get to go
Lot of Texans in the class!
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Old 06-17-2012, 03:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by johnodrake View Post
Take her with you. She can ride along with the instructors. Lots of Significant Others do this!

I am sending her this thread and see if she would be interested. I may call you in the next 30-60 days if you don't mind.
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Old 06-17-2012, 03:09 PM   #7
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I am sending her this thread and see if she would be interested. I may call you in the next 30-60 days if you don't mind.
I don't mind at all - check your PM
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Old 06-17-2012, 03:14 PM   #8
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got it, thanks
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Old 06-17-2012, 03:30 PM   #9
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Great write up, John! It looks like you guys had a blast. I am going to do this in the next year or two.
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Old 06-17-2012, 03:32 PM   #10
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Great write up, John! It looks like you guys had a blast. I am going to do this in the next year or two.
That we did! Take Amber!
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Old 06-17-2012, 04:53 PM   #11
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nice writeup.
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Old 06-17-2012, 04:59 PM   #12
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That we did! Take Amber!
Amber would like to go. However, she is too competitive. She would probably kick my butt!
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Old 06-17-2012, 05:21 PM   #13
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Amber would like to go. However, she is too competitive. She would probably kick my butt!
True that!
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Old 06-17-2012, 05:21 PM   #14
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WOW. just wow. one day when i grow up i'll make it there. also i am the "idiot" you speak of.....
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Old 06-17-2012, 05:31 PM   #15
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Glad that everyone got home safely John. Looks like a grand time for sure.

It's on my 'bucket list'.
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Old 06-17-2012, 06:09 PM   #16
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:30 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnodrake View Post

The instructors are peerless! The Director and Chief Instructor, Rick Malone, is one of the finest motor sport teachers I have seen and he is always looking for ways to improve the school but more importantly, he looks for ways to improve the student. He will do whatever it takes to make the student better - even if it means riding with the student lap after lap giving personal attention. The other instructors, both full time and part time are not only exceptional drivers - like Jeff Bucknum - who has driven the Indy 500 - but they are all exceptional instructors as well - giving you guidance without making you feel like an idiot in the process!

Finally a word about the staff - their goal is to make the experience a great one and they are successful at it - from the sales and administrative staff to the guys that maintain the cars - first class all the way and they are never unwilling to stop what they are doing to say hi and chat a moment.

Often you hear on the forum - what should I do to mod my car first. My answer will always be "Mod the driver" treat yourself to a course at Spring Mountain - If you think you can drive now, just wait and see how well you drive after a visit to the Ron Fellows School!

We did!
Click the image to open in full size.
So let me add my two cents. First - what a great time with Derwin and John. We laughed and drove and laughed some more. I had such a good time!!!! And, I too can't wait for 2013 to roll around.

WRT to John's blurb above - I will admit - the first session on Thursday morning (Level 2) I thought was going to do me in. I knew I would be the slow poke on the track but I got completely out of sorts. Rick Malone immediately got in the car with me and said let's fix this. Those guys stuck by me all day long giving me tips and techniques, watching what I needed help on and by the end of the day I was doing great! By the time our timed runs came around I was falling middle of the pack on times. I never thought I'd hit 120 on the back stretch in a Grand Sport but I did.

The bus stop and loop are a hoot to drive. And you're cookin' coming into the bus stop (the Watkins Glen turn John speaks of). I learned how fun throttle steer is and pretty much reinforced every day driving techniques that I learned in Level 1 last year.

This was my 2nd visit to SM and it will not be my last. To Rick, Victor, Rico, Stan, Jeff and Todd - I say thank you - you guys are the best in my book. I cannot WAIT to go back!!!!!!

If you received your certificate after purchasing a GS, Z06 or ZR1, and have yet to use it, please please consider using it. You will be surprised how much you DON'T know about driving.

John, great write up! And it was great to meet a few more forum members while there as well. I'll see you and Derwin by the Bash if not before!!
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:21 AM   #18
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Great reviews. Looks and sounds like you had a great time. Brings back great memories of my two SM visits. I need to get back there as well. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:11 AM   #19
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Good on you for going and thanks for sharing the write-up and pics! I've only heard good things about Spring Mountain. It looks like a first-rate facility and I was pleased to learn you can stay right at the track...that's a real plus IMO (I only hope there's a restaurant nearby). It sounds like fun weekend and I hope your post inspires other Corvette owners to go to Spring Mountain, an HPDE or other local road course venues. Sure, there are practical benefits in trying to improve your driving skills but first and foremost it's a blast!
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:12 AM   #20
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John,
thanks so much for attending again, this your 4th time! as you said, every time you've improved your times and techniques, can't wait to see what you can do on your 5th visit hope lisa and derwin can come back with you and give you a good run for your money

to lisa and derwin, I really enjoyed riding with you guys! both of you were easy to coach and adjusted very quickly your line or shifting.

also thanks to kurt, rob, brian, john l., ray, mike y., tom mike c., wayne and todd for coming out to the level 2 class. they all were great students, stayed on the black stuff, and made for an awesome school
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