For this adventure it was Gisborne and Napier on the menu, but first the appetizer was a one on one at Taupo with Cole Dallimore, one that kicked off some surprises.
Seven years and one day old, Cole had been hovering in a lonely seventh place at the Taupo club rounds until his father Scott decided he was due some time with us. It was apparent that hard braking and corner speed was the need here, but not for a lack of trying; plenty of time and effort had gone in to trying to help him in those areas. What Cole needed was some technique and line choice.
Despite spending most of our time going around in circles on the start straight, the training sparked a fire in him. Moments after taking his new body position and braking lines to the track he rode like a child possessed, finding a new speed that put him into the top three in the races that weekend. Scott was pleased, and it seemed like I had a new fan.
The next morning I was back at Kopua, the East Coast playground 50km south of Gisborne, one that was still in great condition after our visit there a month ago. And the riders proved themselves worthy of the circuit, beginning with Keegan Taylor aboard his new CRF150R.
After an hour or so of intense corner speed and jumping work, Xavier Dalziel arrived to join in aboard his new 125. At this point the heat turned up even more before some prolonged work on the main jump saw some real bike control in the form of decent whips. By now you would think Keegan would be shattered, but when it came time for Xav to join the next group, it was easy to see how much Keegan wanted to join in.
With all eight of my next two groups turning up at once, I was able to reshuffle things a bit. Forming two groups, Oliver, Michael and Saxon joined Xavier learning the skills that would get them through ruts and quick off the gates, alternating with Riley, Logan, Abby and her dad.
Getting three shorter sessions each meant they had time to rehydrate and spend some free time before the next session, a technique I have used in schools training before but not in normal training. And once it was all over, this style turned out to be something I would definitely do again.
Forward Then Back
On to Valley Road near Napier, and an epic group kicked things off. We worked hard on jumping, going so far as teaching them how to stop the front from dropping off a kicker, by powering the rear wheel off the upramp with their head over the front until the last minute. Then how to land a bike sideways and not need to be worried. I can imagine they will enjoy working on those things for some time to come.
After them were two groups of three, the first of which used the mini track to learn their skills. George refined his skills while Oscar was thrown into many new ones, which included how to power away from a start or turn by finding and holding the slipping point of their clutch. Sam probably benefitted from that skill the most, and returned after bruised up leg to finish strong and then watch his father rip it up in the final session.
There was no room for poor performance here, age and wheel size being no barrier. What mattered was effort and a willingness to try something new if their coach was sure it would help. Which it did, and by the time we finished with some starts the attitudes had gone, replaced by a tired satisfaction that they had become better riders. This is why clubs like Gisborne and the Hawkes Bay MCC get in behind these trainings, and we thank them for it.