If your club would like to increase its young rider numbers, we may have found a good answer. Out of the forty riders who did two days of training with us at the Hawkes Bay Club track recently, over half of them were not previously members, or even racers in particular. After a very successful event which didn’t cost the club much more than time and food, many of them were now keen to get into the club. Sound too good to be true? Find out exactly how we did it, and how your club could get a similar boost.
It all began when the father of one particularly fast kid saw some of the funding that was being given to other sports. His little investigation found a special Government grant that gives funds towards encouraging young riders into going local sports clubs, whatever the code. After some paper work he soon had enough money to get me down for a two full days of coaching which they could offer to riders at no cost, and pretty soon forty riders had enlisted for both days.
Being new territory for all of us there was going to be some learning along the way, but thanks to the help of other girls, boys, mothers and fathers we were able to get everyone together and signed on. Come 10am, everyone was up at the meeting area all geared up and on their bikes, who I was then able to brief with the main skill we were going to be working on for that morning; that would help them first with braking and then with cornering. This simply worked due to the fact that these skills can help everyone to some level, from high level riders to those that had only recently learned to ride a bike at all.
With the mini track split into two halves and a third circuit marked by two tyres in the parking paddock, I eventually learned to spend my time as equally as possible with each group while the parents minded the kids between times. This happened four times during the day with a quick drinks break before and after lunch, at which time I would give the next main skill to all of them before they all rotated circuits. To be specific, that small track in the pit paddock was only used by the littlies- while the bigger kids took turns using a small section of the adults loop that included the sawdust and a big hill that riders were able to work their way up to completing. This was one of the main highlights of the event as riders accomplished things they had previously thought to be beyond their level, yet they pulled it off perfectly thanks to the new skills.
Fruit and soft drinks came courtesy of the local Pak ‘n’ Save while sausages and patties was thanks to the Mad Butcher. We were spoilt for both food and riding time, yet it wasn’t long before the kids were itching to get back out there again and so the story was repeated before packing up for a well deserved rest.
Locking It In
The next day dawned warmer and dry, where starts and jumping was the priority of the day. While the younger kids mainly tried to consolidate the lessons learned the day before, advanced riders were able to practice turning the bike in the air and advanced clutch control to get them quickly off the line. Time went by at a rapid pace with very few incidents, and the feedback that was rolling in by that time was truly heart warming.
These riders were 12 years and under, so the next group will mainly be 12-16 year olds. While we wouldn’t normally expect such large numbers, by then the word will have gotten around the community even more and the spaces will fill up just the same. Of course this did not come without a lot of effort, but I know Rick and the others involved consider it more than worthwhile for the numbers of riders now safely introduced into the sport.
For more information on how your organization might be able to do something along these lines, please fire us an email and we can use these experiences to help make the ride as seamless as possible for you.