My addiction found me as an impressionable 12 year old and has shown no sign of releasing its grip. Here I am eighteen years later, rubbing shoulders with eight kids the same age as I had been and watching AMA Supercross well after dark. I had seen hardly any of the races last year while in central suburbia, yet here we were out of cell phone range watching Sky TV out of a camper at the Waikaia Honda Kids Camp. Wonderful thing this technology.
I had been unable to make the camp for Friday coaching sessions, which meant we had masses of riders to guide and direct in the short time space of Saturday and Sunday mornings- certainly not ideal but enough time to keep the groups fairly small. The worst thing was my being the cause of an early morning wake up call as Greg made sure no one was going to be late to the first coaching session of the morning, and for that I can only beg forgiveness from any groggy campers.
Saturday night saw the talent quest go off as usual. Feeling the pressure to perform I piked but hopefully made up for the “Backflips” chant by setting up my horse truck style camper into an impromptu foam pit in order to help some of the young ones do the flips for me. It was well worth the T-shirts it caused me to hand out.
The Galt and Bennie families were a highlight of some past trips and this time had rung around and advertised in the local rags to help about a dozen keen locals spend some time getting coaching with us. We did a great job of tearing up one paddock and sliding around the next, with excellent results so far as learning went. That night I was shown up by a 10 year old girl on the hunting side of things, a story for a different kind of publication.
Tuesday morning started at 6am and saw non-stop action until 10.30pm that night, five coaching sessions and around 4 hours of driving time made sure of that. Working with old friends such as the Suzuki brothers and new ones like Travis McKenzie and Mitchell Morris was a real treat, especially in the knowledge that the Southland Motorcycle club had put a great deal back into their up and coming juniors with a substantial subsidy to help them on their way to the nationals.
The Balclutha reserve track was again venue for its local riders to up their skills. The different groups ranged from a six year old Logan Campbell to Mr Kong who was visiting from Malaysia, keen to learn everything from berms to whips.
As keen as ever was the Oamaru crew we have been getting to know rather well, with some new riders thrown in the mix. These included Natalie and Laura Preston who eased their way into action after the boys had their turn. Like their male fore runners they improved in many ways but it was their enthusiasm that left its indelible impression as I headed north to end another full on but rewarding trip.