The awakening continues as I helped one of the hopeful riders learn how to soak jumps in New Plymouth, found potential talent in Wanganui, and taught “The Tomac” to friends both old and new.
As Taranaki prepares to host the NZ Mini MX Nationals in November, Jessie Wickham had the whole of Barrett Road and a coach all to himself. Currently fourth in the Taupo Winter MX series, he is proving to be a good jumper among other things. Yet he needed to learn the next level of flight control.
Rather than powering off every upramp and tending to straighten his arms, I got fussy on the arms and demonstrated what a decelerating take off looked like. Sound slow? It turns out to be exactly the opposite as he could then attack those jumps that he was easily clearing with way more speed, and so long as he backed off before the base of the upramp he didn’t even need to get his weight back much. Probably not a skill that everyone could learn in one go, Jessie had it sorted on the day and I trust it will serve him well.
Wanganui was next where, once again, we were treated to a perfectly groomed track that would get any MX riders blood pumping and give my riders no excuses for improvement. Along with showing Kieran and Hunter the ropes, Jaxon was back and I found the key that had been holding him back from the speed we know he is capable of; found under his right index finger while off the power, the lever of power that helped him go full bore down the straights because he could then use the front brake to prevent the wandering that his bike had been doing.
With my middle session cancelled I had time for a mean ride with my Hazard-ous buddy Karl Brown, before finishing the day with an eleven year old that has only been riding three weeks but could just have a very bright future in the sport if he uses his natural ability to its potential. His Dad was stoked to see him jumping large and railing berms with full confidence in no time at all. …. Must have thanked me five times afterwards.
Tomac style is what I call my latest style of riding, although it was Stefan Everts and probably his father before him who paved the way. Standing through the first half of almost every turn was the skill that I introduced to Stevie-Lee, our first session since she took a break from riding three years ago. The bad habits that had crept in didn’t take too long to remedy and then we put the new style to work. Note; be careful to not sit before half way through each turn as this will ruin the whole idea. Waiting until you are ready to power hard is often the best rule.
Joe was buzzing following the session after that, where his partner and their friend were introduced to some ways to conquer the sand and jumps. Brooklyn didn’t take much tweaking with her standing, then going on to naturally use the Tomac style to get smartly through those sandy turns. … was on the opposite end of the spectrum with her natural tendency for standing but had it pretty dialed by the end and began to reap the benefits.
Finally it was …, a rider with over thirty years of experience who had his own victory. It was his battle with sand, where “The Tomac” worked like a treat for him, but I pushed my luck by going further than that to the relaxed sitting style that avoided a straight leg, leaning forward or leaning the bike more than him. We will be seeing more of him as he gears up for the Cross Country Nationals, something I am sure he will enjoy much more with these new skills.