(and Faster) Learning
On January 30th, Yale
University hosted a unique Master's Tea at Davenport College that gave students
a chance to speak with leading motorcycle racers and coaches to discuss how the
same skills that produce excellence on a bike can translate into excellence in
the students' lives.
Master's teas are a Yale
tradition. Each of Yale's twelve residential Colleges host Master's teas
that allow students to engage with leaders in business, academia, and popular
culture in a less formal setting. Previous guests have included Denzel
Washington, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and Utah Governor Jon
Davenport College hosted, "Excellence in Motion: What Motorcycle Racing
Can Teach Us About Success". The event featured Yamaha Champions
Riding School Instructors Ken Hill and Nick Ienatsch, together with motorcycle
racing legend and YCRS instructor Scott Russell, and BMX vert ramp legend and
12-time X-Games medal winner Jamie Bestwick. That's right; Mr.
Daytona and the rest of the YCRS team came to Yale.
Zack Cooper, a
Yale Professor, had enrolled in the Yamaha Champions Riding School as a
complete novice. At the event, Cooper said, "I was blown away by
YCRS. It got me hooked on riding, but more than that, I was just so impressed
with how well the program was taught and with the lessons it could potentially
have for our students. What really got me was the passion Nick, Ken, and
Scott had for the sport and their ability teach. As an educator, I was
Over a van ride on the
second day, Cooper and Bestwick hatched the idea of holding an event at
Yale. "Jamie and I were chatting about the program and how each of
us viewed riding in the context of our day to day jobs. And the idea came
to us. I wanted the students to think about not only why we would do a
sport like this, but what a sport like motorcycle racing could teach them about
how to excel inside and outside of the classroom and how to find their
"Ken, Nick, Scott,
and Jamie were terrific. Very few people can say that they're the best in
the world at what they
do. Scott and Jamie told the students why they thought they were
successful. Likewise, Ken and Nick spoke a great deal about how they
teach and why folks who don't ride a motorcycle for a living can benefit from
the school," Cooper said.
The Master's tea was
attended by over 40 students and Yale faculty. Students even had the jump
on a Yamaha R6 brought to Yale by Libby's Motorsports in New Haven, and play
with Cooper's Dainese riding gear and a Screamin' Chief Arai helmet. After the
event, the guests had a chance to talk about everything from classroom lectures
to starting line crashes at Daytona to the body position of Jorge Lorenzo.
The guest riders were
astounded at the beautiful world of Yale and truly enjoyed bringing their world
to the students and faculty. Is a Yale track day next?