Four of the five riders were on the same best time. They had then beat that once each, but that didn’t count until they could back that effort up. We were going to be riding until dark unless they got it soon.
The competition was fierce with all five riders at basically the same speed. The first day and a half of our Bootcamp had been focused on technique, but now we were moving into intensity. Our section was a long sweeping turn with a knee high berm around the outside that they needed to get confident through.
Entering fast and leaning right into it was the goal, but to beat their time they needed to put into practice those techniques we had been showing them.
“I can still see those tractor tyre marks. They should be long gone by now.” This was my attempt to help them use the first third of the berm more, higher up and leaning further than they naturally wanted to. “Remember, some front brake into that part of the berm will keep it stable and help you enter fast.” Old habits die hard but I was determined to help them get it.
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Gerard was the first to break the barrier, matching my effort with a 6.0. His focus was to keep standing further than he wanted to, and it really worked. He backed that up with a beautiful 6.0 later in the session when using the same focus.
The teenagers were incredibly consistent with their 6.3 second efforts but just couldn’t break it more than once. James was looking incredible heading out of the turn aboard his 85cc machine, just needing that little bit of entry speed. Having no rear brake was actually a good thing for him as he quickly had to get better at using the front brake.
Joseph became the second rider to break the barrier, getting a 6.2 but struggling to get another. Frustration combined with determination is a wondrous thing to behold as he did not give up until he well and truly earned the badge by getting another 6.2 after around 20 more goes.
Strangely, the rider who would later prove himself the fastest on all of the other sections except one, could only manage a 6.7 that evening. It seemed to be a lack of intensity that held him back, possibly a good thing for him to mull over before the big finale that next morning where he ended up tied with Joseph for the fastest overall lap time at the end of the camp.
That left just Angus, who had an incredible habit of getting 6.3 seconds lap after lap. It wasn’t until I told him he was just going to have to push his boundaries of entry speed and intense lean that he finally managed to break his groundhog day.
There were big celebrations as each rider finally reached their goal. It was the kind of atmosphere you just want to bottle up and sell. So we kept the momentum going through all of the final day, with their final lap times a full five seconds quicker than they had achieved by the end of day one, when the track had been even better. Best of all, on the whole they were looking much safer while doing it.