Every month lately I have been able to introduce you to another hot prospect on the motocross scene who is working with us regularly. This month we focus on Connor Hart and his ability to turn up the heat when it counts.
It is not surprising that Connor has both consistency and technique- he comes from good breeding. With a gymnast mother and a father who won the last three or four NZ Super Motard Championships in a row, he certainly has those things going for him. He is fast, too; getting sixth at Summer X and 9th at Woodville confirms that. But to get to the next level you need more than just good technique- you need to push the limits as well.
Having done our groundwork over a few sessions, it was time to really up the ante, but I really wasn’t sure he would be able to respond. I’m being honest- I really didn’t know if he had it in him because I have seen plenty of good riders unable to take the intensity to the next level. It goes against the very grain of their brains. Fortunately Connor was about to shove my lack of faith down the drain, for good.
Track conditions were perfect. He was in a good head space and had already proved that he wouldn’t lose his technique under pressure. I actually began by riding his bike to really lock in the kind of commitment and speed that I was expecting to try for. No doubt it looked very funny indeed, this adult on a big wheel 85, but if nothing else it showed my commitment to the cause. I railed that nice soft bank like my life depended on it, gave the bike back and basically told him to do it like that or go home.
I am joking about that last statement, but whatever it was that I did say actually worked. He railed that bank pretty fast, but I knew there was more. Then I told him to enter at the same speed but start leaning much earlier and stay lower in the berm. His eyes widened a little like he was pretty sure that wouldn’t work, but he went out and tried it anyway. Sure enough, his front was basically sliding, but it worked and now he had real corner speed. But he could get that exit even faster.
“Enter at the same pace and lean just the same, but get to full power much sooner. Your front wheel slide should turn into a real wheel slide and then you will really be flying.”
Well, this isn’t always the case, but Connor did exactly what I asked of him. I think I literally pumped my fist, which is a big show of emotion for me. Then he went and did it three more times after that just to prove it wasn’t a fluke and we headed back for a well deserved drink.
The next challenge is to do that on other tracks as well, which he accomplished that following weekend against some fast riders at TECT Park with 3,2,2 results. The Junior nationals are not far away, and on a similar kind of track to my one, so we will be seeing him most weeks after school in the hope that he can be well prepared to do well. It is an exciting time, and another great prospect for NZ’s young future.