A 2019 CRF250RX can be quite a handful, especially when you are faced with the kind of ruts and mud that almost make you want to get off and walk. In fact we were lucky to not lose him into a hole big enough to swallow a house. What Victor needed first was clutch control and the confidence to look ahead.
As I explained to Victor, clutch control is being able to put the right amount of pressure on your lever so that the clutch is slipping as much as you need to keep the revs high enough, yet also driving you forward perfectly. The hardest part of all is to keep it there until you don’t need the slipping any more.
With good clutch control comes the confidence to use brakes well. When you know that stalling is out of the picture and smooth power is about to come, it is then that you can slow down and panic less. Hopefully he could then work on keeping his chin high enough to know where he was trying to go.
Bill was using his dads bigger bike because his own had a battery issue, but by the end of the camp I think he was pretty stoked with the extra horsepower. There were two main things that he needed- to get his upper chest closer to the handlebars when powering hard and using his feet and legs for strength the rest of the time.
Unfortunately both of these things take effort, which is not always that appealing to a teenager. The funny thing is that they actually minimize effort in the long run by taking the weight out of your arms, especially when you are trying to get a big bike back under control.
The funny thing about leaning forward is that you probably feel like you are doing it until someone makes you get your upper chest onto the handlebars. There is a big difference, and while it feels weird because your elbows end up behind you, but it really encourages hard and safe powering while sitting. Getting forward while standing is the same feeling where a coach can make a huge difference, but in both situations it helps to be bending at the waist.
As for using your feet and legs for strength, you can use your body so much more. With your feet pushing on the outside peg you can use so much more body language, and with your knees tight against the skinny part of the bike you can feel so much more confident getting your head past the bars while the front is lifting.
By the end of the camp both lads were smoking up some big and rutted hills with no worries and looking the business through mud or jumps. It was nice having so much time to slowly work through the skills that these riders needed the most, and to hear their bikes working at full power stirs something deep inside any true petrol head.