With the junior nationals approaching we wanted to play our part in preparing the riders for what was to come. With a full camp of 24 riders and another 10 on the waiting list, we were packed and planning was vital.
From something very similar to a highway, the track turned to difficult mud following a short but very sharp thunder storm. The water blasters fired up and were on and off over the next two days but only for a few hours were they essential as it did not take long before the Pleasant Point Backflips Motocross track, this years home of the NZ Junior MX Nationals, morphed into a thing of beauty. Corners became tacky and smooth ruts began to form in places where there had been no line before. These perfect conditions eventually hardened again but this time in perfect form for racing- a simulation of what the Juniors will be like that would have been almost impossible to replicate manually.
With conditions as good as they became, the best thing we could aim for was a chance to become one with the track in a good way, not the way that required a soil sample. This was attempted with plenty of free time mixed with splitting up the group into three different sections for them to really dial in. While the numbers limited the amount of actual coaching, I was able to give large group tips and then fine tune that to each rider each day with some 1 on 1 attention.
Starts was also a big priority, accomplished once it had dried nicely and once again in groups of eight riders practising then competing against each other with working gate set up and a genuine 30 second board girl. Stand out performer was definitely Josh Bartosh with consistently incredible starts, making me feel better about getting beaten by him into the corner at two out of the three starts we did at the last round of the nationals.
Although diet and nutrition plays a key role in performance, we couldn’t let the opportunity to spoil the riders go astray, surprising everyone when Mr Whippy turned up giving everyone a free ice-cream- yum! Best of all though was the fact that there were no injuries despite riders pushing their own limits and doing jumps that might have scared them before. I enjoyed being able to spend time with the great bunch of people and share some of the tips that have helped me on race day.
All this would not have been possible without the help of Jeremy McKnight of Backflips Clothing and his family. Thanks also to Craig who came down from Upper Hutt to be team mechanic, and finally to each of the parents who helped for the two days. We wish everyone all the best for the upcoming nationals!