How much technique can a five year old take on board, and how many of those same skills are they still practicing as a 14 year old? Then can you really teach an old dog new tricks? We answered these questions and more on the North Island’s East Coast recently at Valley Road and Kopua.
Brendon Watson had been off the bike for most of last year, and had lost ground on a friend of his who he had battled with since childhood. This was also the first time I had seen him aboard a four stroke, a new CRF250R no less. Definitely a step up from the KX65 I coached him on for so long!
Of course there was some old technique to remind him of, the great thing being that it was just that- a reminder. No real teaching required there, he was into “Broxy Mode” the moment I mentioned how his standing position needed to be.
Something new was which finger he could use on the front brake now that he had one that was so strong. Using that pointing finger he began carrying that speed into the turns again just like old times. Like his dad said, “I knew that you would get him firing Broxy”.
Five Years Bold
Out of the others I coached that day, five year old Boston was most surprising. Initially I wondered how much he was going to take from the lesson, but by the end he was standing almost everywhere.
The real test came under pressure of the stop watch though. To make sure he could ride like that when racing we had him a series of sprint laps, followed by some times where he had to catch and pass another rider. He shocked even himself by beating his previous best times by almost two seconds.
Another excellent stay at the Morere Lodge and recent rain helped serve up an excellent Kopua track. Three sessions were accomplished with quick 85 riders such as Troy Andrews and Oliver Aldridge, to little Louie. Headlining this day for me was Gerald, having his first BRC experience.
Knowing there is something lacking in your technique is one thing. Trying the new improved way can be a whole new kettle of fish.
Watching Gerald put new his standing and turning positions together at the end of the session was an extreme high. When merged with the other skills that he was already doing, he was suddenly a very accomplished looking rider. He seemed quite astounded at just how nice it could all feel as well.
It sounds like there is plenty going on in these two clubs at the moment so if you live in the area make sure you get involved where you can. As for me, I can’t wait to be back for our two day camp at Wairoa in the April school holidays. Should be a blast!