From deep in the Waihopai Valley of Blenheim to the realm of Otago’s Waitaki Boys I scraped more footpegs than ice, coaching my way down the country with the goal of helping others to do the same.
A Few Challenges
These are some lucky kids. Sure, it is a fair way from town and can often be windy (as we found out). But they truly have the outdoors as their playground, along with a great network of friends to enjoy it with. Especially when upskilled with some new riding skills.
I actually challenged them quite intensely, having them stop halfway up a slope that began as slippery mud. Navigate the mud, stop the bike while keeping the engine running without falling over, then use the slipping point of the clutch to power their way back out without flipping the bike. Difficult skills that most of them got fairly dialed.
The next morning Daniel Morton and I stopped for a quick moto at the Wadsworths house, riding with Moston and Evan, which was simply prime before we carried on to our “secret” location in Nelson. The up and coming Cross Country rider named Keegan Anglesey had my sole attention.
The goals were corner speed and jumping confidence, which we attacked by keeping his arms from straightening in the air and leaning into turns with the bike. We also enabled him to ride his front wheel high on the wall of a rut when his lower footpeg was going to dig into the ground, made possible thanks to the control of using his front brake deep into the rut.
Skipping from there to Christchurch, it was Tex MX and his track in Brooklands that we hailed upon. This fun facility keeps getting better, this time with more flat tracks that we made good use of with Nikau and Sam aboard their smaller bikes, along with a section using logs and skidder tyres for some hard enduro skills. Both Ben Wood and Charlie Baker showed impressive skill and confidence by getting through them with style.
The Boys Have It
From there it was a trek down to Oamaru for our annual large group with Waitaki Boys High. Our work handling kickers and braking bumps turned into something more with work helping them handle slippery sections being well worthwhile. Flat turns and ruts were where the throttles really got opened and the battles heated up. Ryan Mason got a faceful of dirt and block passes were shared between machines that could be called farm bikes, except that today they were being used to great effect.
As I left to catch my flight home it was to the ear pleasing sound of bikes being wound out on both of the sections we worked on. Mission accomplished.