Sometimes you get that stand out moment where one skill makes a huge difference in someone’s riding. That is a real buzz, made even better when the rider is someone as genuine as Derek Skaife.
He was quite the rider in his earlier years. On mentioning that Tony Cooksley did a lot of the track building at our Drury venue, he was able to tell me that he and Tony had actually raced in Hawaii together- and not just any race- this was a Supercross held inside a shopping mall!
After many years away from motorbikes, he simply woke up one day with the decision to get back into it. So he did. Then one of the tradies at his job site mentioned that he was a rider, who turned out to be the same person he was doing the session with.
The two of them specifically asked for extreme enduro type training, stuff that would help them with the tricky parts you might find on a trail ride. Derek said he was probably the more aggressive out of them both, but he was doing well at playing the part of being just another fast trail rider.
We worked on standing, especially down and up steep hills. Corners played a big part too, where using his front brake deep into a rut helped Eddie out. But it was near the end of our session that one skill really stood out for Derek, enough to get him really excited.
He was struggling with the front end washing out in the soft stuff on the exit of a turn, which sounded like a common problem for him. To tackle this, I gave him two things to try.
The key was straighten the bike up so he was turning less by then. But this was helped a lot by pushing hard on the outside footpeg- and it was this part of the tip that made all the difference. He came back raving about how much it helped, like he almost couldn’t believe it.
It turns out he remembers having read about this skill in one of my articles a while back, but something about how I explained the physics of it on the day made all the difference. If nothing else, it was a good advertisement for personal coaching. I was just happy to help!