Mason was earnestly asking me if I thought we could get him clearing the finish line tabletop. He had done it before on his KTM65, but had lost confidence after crashing the jump and then moving up to the bigger bike. On another level, Scott and Darren had no intention of doing jumps at all, but read on to see how a few focused skills helped all three of them get the finish line jump conquered in one afternoon.
A warm up “playtime” meant they could safely sort out the loop and have some fun, because for the next little while they were not allowed to get any airtime at all. The rule was that they could ride as fast as they liked- so long as their wheels didn’t come off the ground. I needed to teach them how to soak a landing or up ramp, so that they were safer on kickers or landings.
They learned to collapse their knees forward to soak a jump or landing without moving their weight back- so long as their knees immediately recovered back into the skinny part of the bike again. Keeping their hips and arms bent they could stay low, then get extra low before returning back to that low position.
Step two was especially welcome for the more experienced riders who could already clear the jumps; I got them all to turn their wheels outwards more over the sharpest part of the upramps, as if their normal line was now obstructed by a rock right just before their front wheel left the ground. It made them lean, increasing their bike control and the predictability of their airtime. It was something of a breakthrough for two of those more experienced riders as they got their whips better than ever. But the real highlight came next.
On the Gas
The third key was to stop them backing off the throttle before their rear wheel had left the ramp. This got a little scary as they initially translated this to harder power through the first part of the ramp, only to still back off again at the wrong moment. It was actually some punishment push-ups that caused the break-through for one of them. He had already started clearing the tabletop by
then, but was having the front drop badly off another jump. While he sorted that out, Darren mastered the art of chugging the bike all the way off his jumps without chopping off the throttle, soon finding himself safe enough to clear the finish line jump as well.
Mason was last to clear it, and fortunately I happened to be videoing the moment. It was so smooth and he was absolutely stoked. As was his dad. My plan came together better than I anticipated, but hopefully it is something we can recreate.