You never know whether or not the next skill you teach someone will revolutionise their riding, but you know for certain when it does.
The first of these on our journeys around Hawkes Bay was with Vicky aboard her YZ85. Her last session with me had been followed by a three month break off the bike so she wanted to try again, but neither of us were expecting the kind of results that were to come.
Powering out of a hairpin and up a hill I tried a few things to help her control the sudden power. The goal was to help her find and use the sweet spot of the clutch but she was pulling the clutch in while turning, which made her goal virtually impossible. I suggested she power first and gently add pressure to the clutch until the revs lifted enough and then hold it there. Sound trivial? Well it was a huge break through in control for her.
So she was pretty stoked, but after a few more decent sessions we had an even bigger stunner with not one, but two major break throughs for Norm.
At Play and At Rest
His experience training for Mixed Martial Arts gave Norm the fitness and technique to practice what I was asking of him. This would have been a significant reason why we made so much progress this day, considering that he had been riding for such a short time and was starting relatively late in life.
The first revelation was using the front brake late into ruts, helping him gain the control he desperately wanted in these bike swallowing dangers. Then we helped him bend at the waist while standing to help him grip the seat and stay low. This was a huge help and before long he was jumping things that had previously been completely out of reach, simply because he was now safe to do so.
All of this was the lead up I needed to speaking at the AGM of the HBMCC, not something I feel particularly confident at, but managed to achieve in a style that was similar to reading a bedtime story to my kids. There are positive things happening there such as the two hour races that give their riders a load of bike time on a flowing track without taking up their whole day. All the ingredients of a winning formula to help introduce new members to the sport.
The Home Stretch
For the final day we switched camps to the Central Hawkes Bay club, held on the river silt of the Tukituki river, Waipukurau. Groomed into a riding wonderland by Paul Ashton the awesome conditions made my job easy. Even the youngest riders were able to practice hitting bumps and ruts, with seven more riders in the afternoon.
Some seriously good sessions over the three days.