Ken Hill (motorcyclist)

Ken Hill
Born (1964-06-27) June 27, 1964
Residence Davis, California, United States
Nationality United States American
Occupation Motorcycle road racer, riding instructor

Kenneth E. Hill (born June 27, 1964), professionally known as Ken Hill, is a former motorcycle road racer turned riding and racing coach based out of Davis, California. He is considered to be one of the top motorcycle coaches in the United States for his work with successful riders in the MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Series.[1] Hill currently coaches 2015 MotoAmerica Supersport Champion J. D. Beach and 2016 MotoAmerica race winners Valentin Debise and Cameron Petersen, as well as Daytona Anderson, Andy DiBrino, Hayden Gillim, Jake Lewis, Kyle Wyman, and Xavier Zayat.[1][2][3][4][5][6] Other racers he has worked with in the past include Josh Herrin, Jayson Uribe, Elena Myers, and Martín Cárdenas.[7][8][9][10][11]


By his own account, Hill came to motorcycles relatively late in life, having bought his first motorcycle, a 1993 Honda CBR600F2, when he was 30 years old.[12] He began road racing that same year, in 1994, and made his AMA Pro Superbike debut in 2004, at the age of 41, finishing in the top ten.[1] Throughout his career, he belonged to the AMA, AFM, and WERA racing organizations. Hill retired from racing in 2008 in order to devote himself to coaching full-time.

From 2003-2008, Hill taught at Freddie Spencer's High Performance Riding School, first as a guest instructor and later as lead instructor.[1] When the school closed, Hill joined its successor, the Yamaha Champions Riding School, where he continued to work as lead instructor until 2015.[1][13]

Hill owns a private coaching company through which he liaises with several track companies in California and the Pacific Northwest to provide classroom instruction at track days as well as training seminars for instructors.[14][15][16][17] He also runs an off-road riding school.[18]

Currently, Hill is partnered with Rickdiculous Racing, where he directs the riding program.[19] Since its inception in 2015, he has also led the Rick Development Camp for aspiring championship racers, with support from the Team Hammer M4 Suzuki race team.[20][21][22] Hill designed the RDC curriculum with input from former World Superbike and AMA Superbike Champion Scott Russell, who is also on the program’s coaching staff.[20][22]

In October 2016, Rickdiculous Racing announced its sponsorship of a race team in the 2017 MotoAmerica 600 Superstock Championship, with Hill slated to be the team’s head coach and crew chief.[23]

Approach to motorcycle coaching

Hill is an advocate for establishing a culture of professional coaching in motorcycle road racing, which he has said lacks this tradition, unlike other high performance sports.[1] He has expressed concern about the extent of misinformation and inexpert advice within both the racing and recreational motorcycle communities, which is particularly dangerous in a sport that involves such a high degree of physical risk.[24][25] Accordingly, Hill has described his approach to coaching as “being able to see what the best in the world are doing, to be able to decode and understand, and to be able to pass it on to other riders.”[1]

Hill defines the correct methodology for learning how to ride a motorcycle as the order of the sport, which comprises six training fundamentals taught in the following order: (1) bike placement, (2) vision and focus, (3) motor controls, (4) brakes, (5) turn-in rate and turn-in point, and (6) body position and body timing.[24] According to Hill, mastering the order of the sport requires training both on and off the bike. Developing a theoretical understanding of riding a motorcycle (i.e., the physics of how and why a motorcycle reacts to given inputs) facilitates the development of correct physical skills and handling.[24]

Personal life

Hill has been an avid cyclist since his youth. After picking out a bicycle for his twelfth birthday as a gift from his parents, he joined a local bike club and soon began participating in regional competitions.[26] By 1977, Hill had qualified for national level racing in his age division.[26] For the next three years, he competed in track and road racing, earning several podium places.[26]

Hill lives near Davis, California, with his wife and three children.[27] He continues to compete on bicycles in his spare time.[27]

Other ventures

Prior to his motorcycle racing career, Hill worked in the automotive service and parts industry for more than fifteen years.[28] He also owned and operated a Kawasaki dealership in Hayward, California.[1][28]

Hill worked as a race mechanic for several professional motorcycle road racing teams and riders including Josh Hayes, Tony Meiring, and Chris Ulrich.[1][29] He was also a test rider for Buell Motorcycles,[30][31][32] with which he partnered in 2009 for a track day series,[33] and a test rider for Kawasaki Motorcycles.[34]

In 2011, Hill collaborated with fellow YCRS instructor Nick Ienatsch to launch the subscription website[9][25]

Hill is a contributing writer for RoadRacing World and Cycle World magazines.[35] He also publishes a podcast in which he discusses motorcycle riding techniques and best practices, shares his opinions about racing, and interviews special guests.[36]

In 2014, Hill spoke at Yale University alongside Scott Russell, Nick Ienatsch, and Jamie Bestwick about motorcycle racing and achieving success.[37][38]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Swarts, David. "Coaching Spreads from MotoGP to MotoAmerica". RoadRacing World. August 2016.
  2. Llovet, Laura (15 June 2016). "Ken Hill Coaching: Top Five Reasons Why We Crash and How to Overcome Them". Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  3. Miles, Matthew (17 April 2016). "On The Record: Valentin Debise, M4 Suzuki". MotoAmerica. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  4. "MotoAmerica Racers Participate In First-Ever Rick Development Camp". MotoAmerica. 1 March 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  5. Wilson, Andrea (9 September 2016). "Man in a Van with a Plan Practice Report: New Jersey Motorsports Park". Cycle World. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  6. "Xavier Zayat To Train With Rickdiculous Racing". MotoAmerica. Press release. 29 June 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  7. Miles, Matthew (4 December 2015). "Josh Herrin Seeks On Track Guidance from Ken Hill". MotoAmerica. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  8. Uribe, Jayson (14 June 2016). "Strong Finish in Barcelona, 7th and 11th". Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  9. 1 2 Miles, Matthew (23 January 2012). "Ride Faster. Ride Safer. - Feature". Cycle World. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  10. Lieback, Ron (15 May 2010). "Elena Myers Talks AMA Infineon Results". Ultimate Motorcycling. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  11. Lieback, Ron (27 June 2011). "Yamaha Champions Riding School - Review". Ultimate Motorcycling. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  12. "Ken Hill Coaching Welcome Podcast". January 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  13. Ienatsch, Nick (9 June 2015). "Ienatsch Tuesday: Money For Something". Cycle World. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  14. "Keigwins@theTrack Partners with Ken Hill Coaching". RoadRacing World. Press release. 23 June 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  15. "2Fast Motorcycle Track Days & Instruction". Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  16. "Track Time". Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  17. "The Ridge Motorsports Park". Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  18. Lauritzen, Jason (2 January 2014). "A Day in the Dirt with Ken Hill". Ritz Racing. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  19. "Ken Hill Coaching Days Sponsored by Rickdiculous Racing Expands Its 2014 Schedule". RoadRacing World. Press release. 1 April 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  20. 1 2 "Inaugural Rick Development Camp Deemed a Success". RoadRacing World. Press release. 1 March 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  21. "Announcing Rick Development Camp". 13 January 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  22. 1 2 "Rickdiculous Racing's New 'Rick Development Camp' Designed to Cultivate Aspiring Pro Racers". RoadRacing World. Press release. 14 January 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  23. "RiCK Development Camp Race Team to Field Daytona Anderson, Gauge Rees in 2017 MotoAmerica 600 Superstock Championship". RoadRacing World. Press release. 6 October 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  24. 1 2 3 Hill, Ken. "How to Get Better at Riding a Motorcycle". RoadRacing World. October 2016.
  25. 1 2 "Ken Hill and Nick Ienatsch Launch Rider Training Website". RoadRacing World. 27 December 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  26. 1 2 3 Drysdale, Don (30 September 1979). "A Long Hill to Climb". The Sacramento Union. pp. C8.
  27. 1 2 Hill, Ken (16 June 2015). "Ienatsch Tuesday: Challenge Is a Good Thing". Cycle World. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  28. 1 2 "AFM Racer Ken Hill Buys Kawasaki Dealership in Hayward, California". RoadRacing World. 17 May 2001. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  29. Prince, Max (17 September 2016). "How to Initiate a Car Guy into the Motorcycle World". The Drive. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  30. Curry, Michael (2009). "2009 Buell 1125CR and 1125R - First Impressions". Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  31. Curry, Michael (2008). "Street Riders Hit the Track with Buell's Inside Pass". Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  32. Curry, Michael (30 November 2008). "Racer Ken Hill Rips Up Infineon Raceway on a Stock Buell 1125R". Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  33. "Buell Teams Up for Track Day Programs". Motorcycle USA. Press release. 16 April 2009. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  34. Canet, Don (27 December 2013). "Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R ABS - Long-Term Wrap-Up Review". Cycle World. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  35. "Meet the Staff". Yamaha Champions Riding School. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  36. "Ken Hill Coaching Podcast". Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  37. "Excellence in Motion: What Motorcycle Racing Can Teach Us About Success". Yale University. Calendar of Events. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  38. Levy, Jason (19 February 2015). "Higher (and Faster) Learning". Yamaha Champions Riding School. Press release. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
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