Taylor Shaw has built more than just a track- he has built skills and friendships that are giving him something of an international following. Last month we coached at his track on the northern side of New Plymouth- and were absolutely spoilt.
Walking into his garage, past the signed shirts of people like Zach Osborne, is a heavily tagged Farm Jam road sign. It is something of a treasure, with scribbles from what must have been every rider at the event. An even more special treasure when you consider that he earned it. Knowing how particular the Frew brothers are about their jumps, to trust Taylor with the job of manicuring for Farm Jam says a lot about his skills behind a bucket.
Looking out over the track, it is the big double that grabs your attention with an element of awe and maybe a little fear. But it is not a dangerous jump but a perfectly rounded upramp that sends its rider up to a beautiful landing. Of course there is the easy line around the bottom, but the jump was too nice to resist.
As good as that was, the track surface itself was the real treat. We were blessed with the double whammy of recent rain and a T-Bag who rented a Positrack and drove it until silly hours of the morning, just to get his track just right for us. The conditions were seriously like plasticine. The ruts we made were not as perfect as Taylor would have liked, but this meant we could teach him how to handle the kind of kinky ruts you find anywhere outside of a fairy tale land like this.
With a lap time of over two minutes that features loads of variation in speed and altitude, in conditions like we had that day, any nationals rider would be foaming to race on it. It lived up to all expectations and more. Hopefully he would have us back.