The beauty and brutality of countless icicles stretching straight out from every bush are one of my first thoughts about this place. To be fair, that was only one visit and it was many years ago when I coached a young Campbell King and Joel Meikle at Cromwell during a hoar frost. It has been a completely different story every other time I have visited this jewel of a track.
On that day the sand was frozen down to 30cm deep, but every other time the sand has proved itself as a playground for riders both big and small to love. Ruts will form and hold on the inside of corners, while the berms are often an absolute hoot to hit. Best of all, the bumps that form are often of the large and rolling kind, so different from the sharp chop that us kiwis are used to and more akin to what you might find overseas.
There is also something very special about the track design. It flows very well with a good mix of fast and slow sections. The jumps are mainly tabletops with mostly forgiving landings, giving the option of building confidence or big airtime.
They also have one of the best split sections in NZ, where an inside choice for the first corner will force you onto the outside for the second turn. Because the other option is the complete opposite with an outside line leading into an inside line, the two options end up very similar, encouraging riders to try different things as the track deteriorates with the potential bonus of making an awesome pass.
For the next generation is an awesome mini track, one that is also a great mix of fast and slow. Even the fact that it doesn’t whoop out as much as the big track is a good thing. Riders will have plenty of time to practice that when they do move up onto the bigger track.
Unfortunately for everyone there has been a spate of disrespect from a small minority, forcing the club to shut down the option to pay for a practice day on the track almost whenever you wanted. It is a crying shame, and I hope the offenders can do their best to make things right for the sake of everyone else, which can also be an example to the next generation of how important it is to appreciate a good thing.
I can tell you that I massively appreciate being able to coach at this awesome venue, and my riders did as well. It sounds like the King of Central was a great event. Long may it continue.