WIth the supercross nationals tying in neatly with our coaching rounds of the south island, it was Christchurch that kicked us off with three farm kids who I met at the Waimakariri river tracks. Caleb, Matthew and Angus learned how to get the most out their machines before being joined by one more, the very keen Harper Pugh. It was time to work on clutch control by the time he joined us, made awesome by controlled starts both slow and fast. To top it off I then joined his parents at the local Roast Cafe for some unbelievable pork.
It was a late night driving to the McKnights place where I would end up camping for four days, my room overlooking the Timaru Supercross track. The next day was spent at the Backflips MX track with Cade Srhoy aboard his new 250, and young Australian talent Sam Noonan who was able to borrow my bike. We mainly worked on cornerspeed, getting them off the rear brake and leaning early and far into any berm or rut they could find, before turning the throttle to the stops. That day we basically signed Cade up for the full six weeks of our summer Academys and we can’t wait to see what kind of results we can achieve.
After dropping my bike off to Blair Selfe of Oamaru Honda so he could get my bike singing for the weekends racing, I carried on to meet Blain Hamilton at a very cool track on his dads property. He arrived with a 2014 KX85 that was so new that the seat still had its plastic cover. By the end of our two hours it was well and truly run in, with Blain certainly looking very close to his quick young self again.
That evening was spent picking up more Australians for the weekends racing, before a solid morning of practice at Josh May’s track and an afternoon getting my bike ready for Sundays races. Pretty soon it was Sunday night and I was driving to Dunedin after a big days racing, a necessary evil in order to make my 9am date with my Boot camper students in Gore to start a big three days of training that would take us around much of the lower south island.
Feeling At Home
Overnight rain meant we started at the sand track of Invercargill, kicking off in style seeing as this was home town territory for young Kruz Carter. Joining him was 9 year old Lewy Bell of Christchurch, a former mini champ who was fresh aboard an 85. That day we began three days of intensive turns training that started with front brake and patient throttle. Staying close to the bike while jumping was also started, getting Lewy over the big step up that I had helped Kruz overcome a year or so prior.
Not wanting to wear them out too much we finished early and spent an hour at the hydroslides before driving up to our base for two nights in Cromwell. This log cabin is a favourite for many of our campers with plenty of mattresses to improvise foam pits with and a skate park just down the road. Not to mention the MX track that we spent the next day at.
Laying It Down
Our training here was mainly focused on bike control in the air, beginning with the essence of whips and “scrubs”, the main difference being that you are powering off the lip for a whip, but off the throttle for a scrub. Lewy’s dad turned up just in time to see his last start before staying with us for the night, a start that he was suitably impressed with.
Day three was a big one, traveling to Balclutha for some rut training at David Latta’s track before heading off to the Farm Jam facility near Winton, thanks to an invite from the Frew family. While the boys got some late jumping practice in, I was having a ball on the perfectly formed jumps, a great way to finish the camp with some riding of my own.
To the Windy Capital
Then there was the Winton supercross before a load of driving, eventually arriving at the Moonshine track near Wellington on Saturday morning where three mini riders were waiting. Front brake, line choice and jumping skills were the main focus before my lunchtime session with the adults which was looking decidedly dodgy.
With winds that could blow you over and heavy rain you could see the apprehension growing but we decided to run an abbreviated session anyway, which turned out to be a wise decision. As the rain stopped it was down to the riders to learn new skills or exaggerate ones they did know. With everything from a DT200 to a YZ450F out there we smashed out the key points and had them on their way before getting to wet and tired, with brains full.
The drive home was surprisingly good despite the continuing bad weather. I’d just had about as good a time as possible considering the time spent away from my girls, with my riders proving that next day just how much they had improved. This really is a good job.