Two thousand and six, a giant pine tree shades the finish line. Number 3 is on the side of my 450 and the big red Broxy bus sits in the pits. With the motorcycle industry in full swing, BRC did a series of very well attended coaching sessions at the Ardmore track, completely oblivious to what was about to- not- happen.
Five years later I was finally back. The monster of a pine tree was gone and there were a few small additions in the corners department but little else to tell of the battles fought over this small lot of real estate. Broxy’s bus was now a 2006 Fiat Ducato with hundreds of thousands of coaching km’s on its clock while a number three was still on the bike which is now a CRF250R supported by some of the very people I had met here at this track, five years before. After some dark years the numbers were starting to come back and we were amping to get back into it at Ardmore.
One tyre had its mark on our coaching over the time we were there. Nothing special, it was a skinny 13 inch GT Radial but worked as well as a brick wall for our coaching. Strategically placed in the centre of the main race line it served as an encouragement for riders to get outside of their comfort zone and use the whole berm from start to finish.
Entering wider had the effect of not needing to rely so much on the centre of the berm. It definitely had its doubters but once the riders were forced into their new line it wasn’t long at all before they were a gear higher in this corner, one that they thought they knew so well.
The tyre was so effective that it stayed there for all three Wednesdays that we were there. It helped large numbers of both adults and kids to begin using more of the track, opening their eyes to the possibilities of good line choice.
At one stage I took the tyre out of the way to see if a group of young riders would still use their new skills without its encouragement. It was a bad move, paid for with skin and a set of handlebars to one rider who I must apologise to- he went back to the bad line and had his front wheel wash out in a big hurry. He knew to not take that line but it seems the tyre needed to work its magic just a bit longer.
On leaving the track for the last time I wondered many things; How long it would be until we were back? Would there be a host of riders using the new line after the tyre was gone? Should I have asked to keep the tyre for sessions elsewhere in the country?
I convinced myself that the tyre had no coaching powers in itself but simply thanked it for sacrificing its safety to help some riders open their minds to better lines. We would be back, and I know which dirt stained piece of rubber I will greet first.