Two times I have been snowed out of a coaching session, the first in Rakaia where six inches of fluffy whiteness got in the way. The second was Christchurch this week, their biggest dumping in a decade. There isn’t much that can be done about the missed coaching so you might as well enjoy the occasion and get towed behind a quad riding a snowboard I say.
Fortunately Oamaru was in better condition, the snow rare and sun shining. The only problem was hard, hard ground. Riding on ice without spikes in your tyres takes a whole lot of care. So, like we always do here at BRC, we used the unique conditions to teach us something new. There is nothing like riding on ice to work on throttle and brake control.
Paul Byrne, father of Tylah, Clayton and Kieran is an exuberant character, full of fun and enthusiasm- especially for the younger generation. Together with the North Otago MCC and Blair of Oamaru Honda he helped get together a crew of young riders that we split into two groups, the young guns first headed by shining star Joel Meikle and closely followed by up coming talent such as Blain on his RM85 who showed us all how the ice can look grippy.
That afternoon there were a few CR85’s but mainly trail bikes carving up the thawing paddocks. We started on a big barrel race type of course to teach the basics of cornering, starting with those important silver levers of brake and clutch control. The race at the end was fierce, parents involved and stern words needed to stop any cutting of the track- these trail bikes were getting serious!
From there another careful drive was required to get up over the hills of Dunedin and down to Balclutha for stage two.
This was a story about two lads who play rugby together, ride and race together. Today they joined forces with Broxy in getting coached together, one stronger at braking and the other at clutching. With the right encouragement they soon had each others strengths added to their own which they will hopefully use to be further up the pack together.
That afternoon I got a rare chance to go for a hunt with my camera. Six deer, four little pigs and one wide eyed hare succumbed to my lens but don’t worry, no animals were harmed in the making of those photos.
It was an early start to reach the sporting fields of Invercargill for a day with some regulars including Nathan, Kruz, Todd, Josh and Zac. It just so happens that these boys are doing rather well in their recent events with Nathan and Kruz regularly out front. A newbie for us was Jack Treloir, his Dad the past owner of a large part of my Honda teammate Michael Phillips’ family farm and is now a Dunsadel local. He was showing speed even before learning some major techniques so he will also be looking forward to the Mini Nationals in November.
That night I stayed with a good friend Donald and his family- one that has recently doubled in size with the addition of three sisters aged 6, 8 and 10. They are a wonderful trio and it was incredible to see how they have slotted so neatly into this second family. Even the change in Donald’s whole demeanor is something I have never seen before. I wish them all the best and pray for the blessings to continue!
The morning dawned on the wet side, nothing new considering the season but with the wet sessions my Balclutha regulars have had to endure lately it was very nice of the weather to hold off at least until the last session. With three keen beans in the morning followed by Caleb on his 65 we had two awesome lessons.
I mention Caleb because he went from avoiding ruts where possible with very little use of his levers to one very adept rut rider, staying in the higher gears and carrying loads of corner speed. It was his squeaky rear brake that gave away his worst habit of riding the rear brake the whole way around, a habit that did not break without a fight just like a deep set habit should. For a quiet kid he sure opened up after that!
Finally the rain came and our four adults braved the cold to last a good hour before hypothermia was going to kick in, not a good look so we called it short and sent them packing for a warm shower. By the sounds of it they still learned loads so hopefully round two will be dry, at least Adam will be ok thanks to the jacket he got from us!
There are two main families that deserve a big shout out- the Sutton family of Balclutha Honda and McKay family of Christchurch for their awesome hospitality. There is nothing quite like a good southern roast!