An overabundance of minis, a new venue and an American film set. And that is not counting two stunning days at one of the Worlds Southernmost MX tracks.
Avoiding ego clashes and nurturing the youngest riders in their riding are some of the main ideas behind the Canterbury MX Club, and in a very short time their numbers have exploded, with the fire spreading to the coaching day we set aside for them.
Employing the help of two young riders was very necessary. While I took up the job of the group talks, they were helping keep on top of individual needs while the riders tried out the new skills, all two dozen of them.
All the usual skills were worked on, along with the older group getting some more advanced hill work. The boys did the demos, while I buzzed from one location to the next on a quad bike courtesy of James’ dad. It was a good day.
On the morrow Brodie and I checked out the track that is the official home of Tex MX.
Situated so close to the town of Christchurch, this track gets off to a great start and the good news keeps coming. Made of a sandy soil that keeps the turns forgiving and useable through the wet months, it is challenging without being dangerous- the perfect combination.
This was to be the first time I met Joseph, the 13 year old who was to join us later that month for our April Bootcamp. Joined by Jordan Greville who was also new to our coaching, we only moved onto the track itself after completing many loops around a barrel racing type circuit in order to help the skills sink in.
A more familiar face was next, who I finally had all to himself as it was whips that he really needed to learn.
Able to jump most of the Backflips Dirtfarm in Timaru and yet not confident at moving the bike around, I felt much better about letting him loose once he got the hang of whipping the bike to either side.
That same evening and I was magically down to Invercargill courtesy The Air NZ Express where I had another session of minis the following day, one made much more sane with six riders to focus on this time. Now this was just a coaching session but that didn’t slow down the epic battles, especially with the one lap sprints we held to see how well the new skills were locking in.
After a fun night of backyard cricket and banter with the Esplin and Morrow families I was back at the Sandpit for the adults turn. This was the first time I had worked with Stuart Ewing’s younger brother, who stepped right up to a 450 for the day after his 85cc machine gave him trouble. He looked like a natural on the big bike, especially once we had showed some tips that helped him throw it around in the air like a toy.
The man who joined him on that session, Luke Close, helped me get partway to my final destination of the trip, the milling town of Tapanui where I was in for a surprise. Lined up down the main street of what should have been a very kiwi town was not one but six American flags hanging off a light post each. My patriotism bubbled to the surface as I wondered what was going on, only to find out that the town was being used as a film set for an American movie. Named Pete’s Dragon no less. I forgave them instantly.
With Campbell King helping, we spent the morning with an excellent group of locals, exploring the foothills of the Blue Mountains once the essential skills were covered.
Previously unsure as to how much I was going to be able to help them, their feedback was brilliant as they showed just how much better their riding was going to be after our session. Hopefully we will be back to progress them even further and explore those hills once again.