The Australian-born Shane Watts now resides in North Carolina where he trains and manages his "DirtWise with Shane Watts Academy of Off-Road Riding." Watts along with instructors Dave Neumeister and Jason Thomas, hold "classes" nationally around the United States as well as internationally. Additionally, for those who cannot attend the classes, Watts provides in-depth instructional DVDs.
Watts is a six-time Australian Enduro Champion, an Australian 500cc Motocross Champion, the 1997 World Enduro Champion, the 1998 International Six Day Enduro Overall Champion and the 2000 Grand National Cross Country Champion. If you want to improve your riding skills and technique and learn "tricks of the trade" from this offroad champion check to see if he's holding a class near you. More than 4,500 students have attended Watts school since 2007.
Name: DirtWise with Shane Watts Academy of Offroad Riding schools and Instructional DVDs.
Year Founded: June 2007
Who Founded: Shane Watts
Number of Students per year: 1,000 from 55 schools conducted nationwide in the USA and internationally
Home city: Newton, NC
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cost: $390 for two day class
- What made you want to start a dirt bike riding school?
It was the natural progression from being a Pro racer for many years. The previous year we had produced our first DirtWise Instructional DVD and it was a huge hit, just like the future DirtWise DVDs that we subsequently produced in the future. This first DVD, plus my previous racing results and reputation, helped kickstart the high attendance at our initial schools.
- What kinds of "classes" are available?
Predominantly we offer our "In-Depth" two day class that applies to all skill levels. We also periodically offer our higher level two day "HardCore" schools and our one day "Fundamentals" class.
- Is this more for the serious rider looking to go pro or just the casual weekend rider or both?
The majority of our students are the recreational trail rider, casual racer, and dual sport enthusiast.
- What do your schools offer that riders won't find elsewhere or learning on their own?
The DirtWise curriculum is the most effective learning tool for all Offroad riders. We have the most wide ranging set of specific skills exercises designed to fast track the improvement of each rider so as they can more easily conquer the advanced trail situations they will be faced with on the trail. The sequential progression of information and skills throughout each class has made the DirtWise schools the most acclaimed and attended Offroad school in the world - this is easily evidenced by the huge improvements each student makes in the short period of time they spend with us. We also make sure each class is very entertaining and that all students get the best value for money possible.
- You hold classes internationally - how do you decide who is qualified to teach in your place?
In the last six years we have conducted 246 schools, and apart from 15 schools .this year I have conducted all of them. This year we had Jason Thomas and Dave Neumeister, two former Pro racers (who also had helped at many previous DirtWise schools as a 2nd Instructor) start to conduct some schools for us by the themselves - the feedback we got from their students was sensational, but then again we expected that otherwise we would not have bothered to hand the reigns over to them so to speak. I instruct all of the international schools we have though.
- What makes you qualified to teach riding classes?
Personally I have won World and National Championships, but realistically anyone could possibly teach a riding school. The main reason I consider why myself and our other DirtWise instructors are qualified is not only because of the exceptional program we utilize, and the vast knowledge and experience that we bring that allows us to easily detect and correct flaws in riding technique, but more so because of the phenomenal feedback that each student offers after each school, plus also the high level of satisfaction they all have from the skills improvement that they gain. Ultimately it is the students that determine if we are qualified as great Instructors, and if we have a great program.
- The instructional DVDs present an interesting concept - how did that idea get started?
It started with a thought, an analysis of the present market place then, plus having the knowledge and commitment to make something like that happen. All of our DirtWise DVDs so far have been very successful and are the leading Instructional DVDs available. We have several more Instructional DVDs slated for production in the near future as we start to branch out into other segments of the motorcycling market.
- What's the first thing you tell students on the first day of class?
"Welcome, this is the DirtWise Riding school and my name is Shane Watts. Thanks for coming out, and we are looking forward to having two sensational days riding our dirt bikes and really improving your skills!" That pretty much sums up where and how we start, then it just progresses upward from there!
- Anyone in the pro circuit get started in a DirtWise class?
We have several of the younger Pro riders in the GNCC and National Enduro series who have attended the DirtWise school, plus also riders who have qualified for the main event in the National EnduroCross series. There are a lot of other younger youth riders from the DirtWise schools who will progress through to the Pro ranks in the years to come.