Despite pouring rain and a slippery track it was obvious that he was not shy of powering hard and leaning right into the turns, the latter of which being the most important in determining someone’s potential. He also proved the highest degree of toughness when he got back up from a few falls including an “endo”. Where he lacked was in the area of braking and setting up wide for a turn.
Sure enough his ability to stand while braking was hampered by an ill fitting neck brace so I began by getting that to sit nicely. I checked to make sure that all of his finger and foot levers were easy to reach, and then got stuck into showing him the style he needed.
We practiced the difference between standing while powering and standing while braking. Those knees needed to grip the seat and then be prepared to move forward quickly when sitting for the turn. But first he needed to learn some ballerina skills.
“Point your toe to use the rear brake and change down a gear while standing, without the arch of your foot coming off the footpegs. Then twist your toe to the side before sitting to avoid changing down a gear or locking the rear brake.” He was willing to learn so I am expecting good things in this department when I see him for our next session.
“The other thing you need most is to open your corners up by getting wide before the turn. You will need to trust your ability to put the wheels where you want them to be as you will be using the very edges of the track, but you should be able to do that thanks to the work we just did.”
This skill took us from one end of the track to the other. I wanted him to figure it out for himself, so after showing him through the first couple of sections it was up to him to suss the next two out for himself.
Sure enough our work at building up his braking confidence paid off, able to get it sorted despite the slippery clay and continuing rain. We finished the session with some whoop and start work but it was these two things that helped him the most. A little front brake can go a long way.
I am looking forward to seeing how far we can help this fella go.