Do you know how it feels to be haunted by a jump or a trick that you would love to do? This months FMX camp helped three riders break a bunch of barriers like this that had bugged them for years.
All three riders knew the drill and were holding themselves low to the bike like their life depended on it. Having ridden past the intimidating FMX ramps and monstrous BMX mega ramp, we began on the smallest jump possible. A crucial step in the process, my job was to get them started on the right track without the dark mountain of fear getting in their way.
It wasn’t long before Phil veered onto the metal ramp that we call “The Cow”, so named thanks to the attempted snow camo paint job it had received years ago. Having hit it on camps in years gone by, he plucked up the courage to start early and soon he was clearing the 65 foot gap comfortably, marking the real beginning of his two day camp.
His brother Joseph stayed on the dirt hit, with Patrick refining his skills until after the first break where I then encouraged him over the metal ramp as well. It is set deep into a hill, making it possible to practically ride over the ramp with very little speed, and safely progress without landing too hard.
Facing plenty of nerves but trusting me enough to follow as I showed him the ropes, Patrick soon joined Joseph in their quest to jump bigger. While being relatively safe it is still a big jump, and their bodies took a beating that day as they weren’t quite landing on the down ramp. So it was almost a relief when we took them to the speed and style track before finishing the day by sending Phil into the foam pit.
For at least two years of knowing him, like many riders, Phil has wanted to suss the backflip. The problem was that to this day he has never back flipped anything, including himself on a trampoline. I hear his attempts at flipping a BMX into water were incredibly spectacular, but he convinced me that he would be able to hang on to his bike even if landing into the pit upside down, so we let him at it.
Those attempts ended safely, albeit upside down, so we headed home for a deserved rest. A night of looking over footage and crucial recovery time combined to be just the right medicine.
On the Rampage
Right from the get go we were winning on day two. Joseph began clearing the jump easily, doing it with style after we diagnosed his bad technique as an attempt to get more height when he just needed to stay with the bike off the upramp. He impressed me greatly with his presence of mind even when things were going pear shaped, looking great off both the metal and dirt hits.
Patrick soon followed, his body very thankful for the easier landings as he got closer to the sweet spot. However it was a gap on the speed and style track that proved to be his biggest victory. For two long years Patrick had been unable to get himself over a double at his home track on Moonshine, but after enough work getting him to power right off the upramps he got this jump sorted, taking that confidence home and using it to clear the double at home that had plagued him for so long.
Whips, Clicks and Flips
It was Phil’s progress that really made the headlines though as he smashed through one first after the other. Beginning with legitimate whips bigger than anything he had done before, I decided he should aim to finally nail the heel clicker. Which he did. The celebrations under his helmet could be seen and almost be felt as he smashed out one click after the other for the first time.
His mojo was flowing so I casually hit the super kicker ramp with its proper FMX style down ramp, which he soon followed me over. More celebrations followed, from the heart.
Finally we took him back to the foam pit where he proceeded to rotate his first flip like it was the most natural thing in the world. I am not sure why it works out this way but the second day of attempting it has some kind of magic and he proceeded to smash out one after the other. He proved that anything is possible, and the Franklin Farm is certainly the place to do it.