They move among us like everyday people, humbly hiding their celebrity past. On my travels there often comes that moment when a parent finally lets on to what fantastical occupations they were doing a few years back.
Blair, the workshop manager at Oamaru Honda is one of those people having spent his younger days traveling the globe as spannerman for the likes of Josh Coppins. Now he is helping young locals make their way up the ladder, even to the point of helping them get together for another dose of Broxy Coaching.
This time we had a freshly groomed North Otago Club track to make the most of. Wide and flat with a new extension out the back, we were spoilt, but first needed to get our coaching under way to make sure they could safely navigate their way around. The main reason Blair had got involved was to see his son Taz get helped out. It was the explosive nature of his cartoon namesake that he needed help with and while I failed to really push him hard on that I know what to do for next time.
Fortunately Taz was listening in when I coached the older boys that afternoon, which included Joel Meikle and Campbell King. These lads meant business so I was able to help them commit to their jumps, and especially their corners with the agression that would make any dad happy.
That evening I was spoilt with a quick pig hunt thanks to Jayden Sutton where, with light rapidly fading, we finally spotted a pig and it was a monster. The big black pig then trotted off into the bush leaving us shaking our heads with big goofy grins, maybe I wasn’t bad luck after all.
From there life got really busy. The Balcultha Reserve Track was our playground, full of excellent obstacles and ruts. That held us in very good stead as you can see from the pics, although it was a shaky start when both of my first two riders went down before we had even started. Fortunately they breed them tough down here and by the end there were few obstacles safe from their little wheels.
Down to Invercargill we found another track in great condition. Starting with berms and progressing to some tight ruts it was a real buzz to see Jack, Luke and Nicola nail something that had scared them, simply by using their pointy finger for smooth braking in and a gentle first power out.
However the biggest buzz for the day was seeing the progress Todd Keown had made with his jumping since our last session, finishing with the great climax of mastering a tricky double-double that he had not been keen on previously.
That afternoon saw a big drive in a heavy truck to get nearly 8 hours north to Christchurch, before making my way over four hours across the country to the Gold Fields of Ikamatua, this years venue of the Mini Nationals to be held this month.
Straight to work a private group hit the track for day one followed by some extras on Friday. While the overnight rain kept the newly added soil from powdering up too much the track still cut up significantly after what was to be eight straight days of little wheels doing their best to tear up the land.
Fatigue was the main enemy here but it all came together in the final hours of our time there, seeing some mini riders tearing around the track at speeds that bring back that old goofy grin.
Each club that we visited over the week showed how they are supporting their riders with excellent tracks and hospitality, including the North Otago, South Otago, Southland and the Westland Motorcycle clubs. More humble heroes helping others reach their dreams.