Us Kiwis often don’t know how lucky we are, and the Franklin Farm is a strong example of that. We often get enquiries from overseas countries such as America where private compounds abound and yet they are very difficult for the public to access, and they are often willing to fly all the way over here just to have a go.
Get the word out; contact us about spending a few days with us on a jumping camp and we will make it happen. Note we have not called it an FMX camp this time around, that is because you don’t need to be gunning to make FMX a career option for yourself. This facility is all about safe progression; let our last student Phillip Shepherd walk you through, the blue star on this vid you might have seen on our facebook page.
Driving down from Wellsford on the Wednesday afternoon he camped at our place before we moved to Tokoroa for the two days. Food and accomodation is far from five star to say the least, but sleeping in a woolshed is just a part of the experience for many. What we are here for is the vast range of jumps.
Beginning with a warm up on a section of Nick’s Speed and Style track gives the chance to practice good technique on something so small as a four meter long tabletop. Phillip had a great time learning his rhythm around this section during our two days there, progressing to the extent of hitting his first doubles; albeit none longer than six metres apart and with mellow down ramps to keep safety at a maximum. It was definitely enough to get him well in his groove.
In the front paddock a small dirt lip sends you around eight metres over a small ridge, before you can start eyeing up your first steel upramp that is built into same ridge. This can be jumped any distance you like and is the place where most riders get their first taste of an FMX ramp, a flavor that most will savour for its smoothness and predictability.
No Left Turn
Phillip went on to hit the foam pit from there, with a ramp built into its lower rim which means that once again there is no chance of injury from coming up short. There are just three rules in the foam pit; wear all your safety gear (including knee guards as Phil found out), learn to jump in the higher revs of first gear to make sure that you can’t over jump, and DON’T LET GO.
What looks to be a vertical wall is actually a smooth take off, something that was to give him a great deal of confidence. The bikes are lifted out using a powerful winch, which is connected to a fixed arm that swings out. If you find it too hard to roll your way out of the foam then you can always catch a free ride with your bike if the operator doesn’t mind swinging the extra load.
And That’s Only Half
While that is about as far as Phil’s progression went for this camp, options abound from there on out. The beautiful stepup that I flipped earlier this year is super smooth, and is not far from the landing ramp that Jed Mildon and friends recently did their first backflips on a motocross bike with their heads barely two metres off the ground. Then there is the main landing with its concrete run up and the option to move an upramp up close, which is where the more experienced FMX guys do most of their practice.
There are plans in the works to make the mega ramp easy enough for many more people to hit on their push bikes, where we hope to get many people involved next year. It is becoming the ultimate playground and as Nick would put it, is already World class standard. Which begs the question; will you make the most of what is in your back yard?