The North Harbour Mini Motocross club is alive and kicking, so what better way to warm up for your clubs big event of the year than having a training session the day before.
Well over a dozen of the riders were geared up and ready to go with fifteen minutes to wait for our scheduled starting time, so I gave them a quick rundown and let them get at the track while the others arrived. The main thing was that the faster riders looked out for the smaller ones.
I also had Daniel Newman along to help, who promptly staged himself at the one slippery section of track that could potentially catch some kids out. He was good value as always, but there was one problem; he was finding it hard to wave riders down to give them one on one tips. These kids needed to look ahead more!
We spent some serious work in tweaking their standing position before the first break, which was only going ok until I used my most aggressive coaching tool; The Big Stick.
In truth it was only a light piece of mostly rotten wood, but the riders knew that they needed to duck low to the bike as they passed where I held it. The key was to hold it in places where they needed to stand with their weight back, such as while braking hard or just after hitting a kicker bump that would normally flick their rear wheel higher than the front.
After the break, my second trick was the thumbs down “Motivator.” Having warned them early in the session that ten push ups would be the punishment for failing to cooperate, I then showed them we meant business by having Luke drop and give me ten for not following my path back to the pits. He smashed through them impressively well, but now each rider knew that they were next if they got three thumbs down from Daniel or I for not doing a certain skill.
Not looking ahead was the most obvious and important use of this motivator. As Daniel mentioned, Cody Cooper is the best at keeping his eyes up on the track, who likes photos where you can see his eyes which always seem to be looking up. It was easy for me to pick those who were not following this example by dropping their chin through a turn, so we made some good progress.
After this we went advanced with getting their wheels wider before turns to either set them up for a faster inside line or to use a berm from its very beginning. Using their front brake deep into the turn was crucial to help with this, and we got serious about it.
Finally it was clutch control that I wanted to polish off, so that they could have more control out of ruts and run higher gears through turns if need be. To do this we went to the start straight, and while it wasn’t completely successful, the riders had a good chance to learn it even if they didn’t have a clutch on their bike yet.
They were rewarded with the free time on the whole track that they had been wanting that whole afternoon, before we pulled them back in to finish before 6pm. The track had been a real winner with not too much dust and plenty of traction, so there were some tired but happy kids who headed back for a well deserved dinner and sleep before racing the next day.
A huge thanks to Craig and Cole for their help in making all of this possible. You guys are definitely winners.