If you were standing on the hill with me as we watched Korban thrashing his CRF150RB around the giant mini track, you would never guess that only a year ago he had shown no interest in bikes and was still yet to do his first race. There is no doubt that genetics play in his favour.
The Apple Never Falls Far From the Tree
Travelling the world as a full time race mechanic probably sounds more glamorous than it actually is, but it is still pretty cool and Korban’s father was one of those guys who got to work with the best riders on the factory bikes that many of us dream of. Korban’s older brother has proven to be quite the elite mountain bike rider, moving on from the exact bike that Korban was now thrashing. He looked right at home and continued to impress as the session went on.
Our awesome venue on the Pankhurst farm near Waimate had recently been used for a very muddy club day, making the whoops something of a snake pit. I needed them to stand up with their arms bent, which meant getting very low to the bike before the front wheel dropped down every whoop. Korban and his friend Harrison picked it up quickly and they loved the new style, but I think the credit actually goes to his dad, Blair, for a simple yet profound recommendation he had always made to his boys when they asked him for advice- to spend loads of time watching videos of how the best riders do it.
It was as though they were puppets on a rope, having instantly changed from a straight arm style that rocked them around to a style that meant they had room to move. Their knees were instantly in the skinny part of the bike and the sharp bent in their waist helped their whole style look exactly how it should. My job was just too easy as they also quickly learned standing with their head past the handlebars when going up the rollers or a hill. That meant I could move quickly into teaching them the ultimate in control- being able to stand through a long rut.
This one took a bit longer as it involved front brake and throttle control, two things that often need a coaches attention. Looking ahead was the other thing that needed the peer pressure of a coach to fight off their natural tendencies. This did take a little bit longer, although it wasn’t long before the natural ability showed through once again. They turned my words into action and were soon getting through a rut longer than a bus as it flowed around and down the hill, especially when they got back into that awesome standing position, starting to look like the Stefan Everts style that Korban’s father would have seen so much of in Europe.