The Early History Of The Yamaha Champions Riding SchoolMon, 22 Sep 2014
This just in from the Yamaha Champions Riding School. And if you believe it, we have some snake oil to sell you…
The Yamaha Champions Riding School didn’t just spring from the tarmac like a jack-in-the-box with light rebound damping. No. It evolved after 1.2 million dollars was spent in the pursuit of an entirely different business model: Cleaning motor-home windshields with a company called Windshield Wonderboys.
“Yeah, me, Ken, Dale, Kyle, Scott, Shane, Chris, Phil, George, Shorty, CJ, Keith…all the YCRS instructors basically…went out and bought ladders, squeegees, insurance policies, towels, Windex and Spandex…the whole kit plus the caboodle…because we had a dream, a Crusade really: Clean motorhome windshields while getting a tan,” says YCRS’s Nick Ienatsch.
Scott Russell nods his head. “Amen. Nothin’ like runnin’ a perfectly straight line with a brand-new squeegee along a seven-foot tall windshield in a pair of short-shorts. I mean…all that Daytona winnin’ was cool, but scrubbin’ an 80-mile-an-hour bug off a windshield wiper with your thumbnail while wearing almost nothin’ more than a smile is just so dang satisfying. There’s nothin’ like it and I invested heavy, I was all in.”
In total, Russell pumped over a million of his own bucks into Windshield Wonderboys.
Ken Hill takes over the story. “We lived big. Too big, really. What eventually ended the party was the risks finally overcame the rewards. We’d be perched on top of that ladder, Windex in one hand, squeegee in the other, rag tucked into our underpants. None of us wore shirts and…I gotta admit we were sexy as hell.”
So it was falls off the ladders that ended the business?
“No,” answers Chris Peris. “We didn’t ever fall off the ladders. It was the jail time that finally ended the business.”
“Yeah,” Kyle Wyman replies. “We kept getting pantsed by the old ladies at the KOA. We’d be up on the ladder scrubbing away, our hands full of Windex and squeegee and the next thing we knew our spandex short-shorts would be down around our tan and toned ankles. Indecent exposure got a few of us sent away and the lawyer costs killed the biz. We had to start YCRS as a last-gasp…riding bikes is fun and all, but nothing like Windshield Wonderboys. I miss it. Bad.”
Shane Turpin finishes the history lesson: “Sometimes…on warm autumn days…we just hang around gas stations and clean motorhome windshields for free. There’s nothing like it, nothing as good, nothing as satisfying. And hey,” Turpin adds with a small tear in his eye, “we were good. Damn good.”
So what is the moral of the story? Well, let’s call it a test. If you made it to the end and still believed any of it, please stay home. Everyone else, take it as an invitation to join us at our last school of the season at New Jersey Motorsports Park October 6-7 and finish out the season a better rider than you started.
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By Troy Siahaan
See also: Yamaha Focusing on Developing Model Platforms, Josh Hayes Wins Fourth AMA Superbike Title, New BMC Air Filters For KTM 1290 SuperDuke, Yamaha FZ-09, Honda CBR250/CBR300R.