Getting flown to Invercargill to act as guest speaker for a Men’s Ministry. Staying with and training the current 9-11yrs 65cc NZ mx champ. Just two of the reasons why I felt very much the rockstar this month.
It was actually my plan to avoid Southland in July, but when invited to fly down for a quick two day trip I would have been silly to refuse. While the temperatures barely topped 6 degrees I was actually treated to a beautiful day, coaching two large groups on sandy topsoil that couldn’t have been in better condition. And the riders themselves were something of a treat as well.
Welcoming and humble, southern hospitality was evident in every dealing with the riders. This universal friendliness was in contrast to their levels of riding experience which was as varied as could be.
While I didn’t piece together who jack was until later, I did guess that he had done the junior nationals even though he was riding a CRF125 that day, and even guessed correctly that he had won it. He shows much of the talent required for the top level of racing and I was privileged to enjoy with him the moment when his parents surprised him with his first 85cc machine, a brand new machine no less.
A Little Work, A Little Play
Highlighting the skills I taught them was our work on their abilities in ruts. Learning to rely on their front brake in the rut followed by patience on the throttle would prove to be essential for the following two days of riding that some of them were to complete, amidst the carnage of wetter conditions.
Controlled chaos was the best way to describe the best way of riding in the softer parts of that track the day after our big coaching session, and it has been a while since I have enjoyed any riding more. It was a chance to stand up with the throttle on most of the time, only interrupted by intense gripping of the seat with my knees while lining up a rut and hitting the front brake the moment my front wheel was in it. To master these conditions was very satisfying and put me in good stead for the most terrifying part of my trip; the speaking.
Cherry On Top
25 minutes was my time slot, an eternity. My preparations were not complete but it turned out they were unnecessary anyway, the talk somehow coming naturally as I related to the men gathering there how God has blessed me in so many ways. Their comments of support afterwards were a massive encouragement, along with the talks from the other speakers present.
A spectacular view from my window seat on the way home helped me write this story, a fitting way to top off a brilliant trip to the Deep South.