Arriving at the track for our official Taumaranui club day was a little surreal. What had been little more than an idea mere months before had blossomed into two fully packed half day sessions.
Our track for the day offered a multitude of options. A track built into rolling hills of pumice meaning we didn’t have to venture far.
First up were the adults who were surprised with the skill of not taking their leg off the peg for a turn. Of course this is only possible when there are no deep ruts to catch your lower foot, but can be a big advantage in the slippery corner we were faced with.
Not putting their leg out was a weird feeling for all the riders, but I think they would agree that this technique helped them sit forward on the seat. It also gave their tyres more traction as it keeps the wheels from suddenly sliding individually, similar to the benefit of gripping the seat with your knees when standing. They felt quite vulnerable without having their foot ready to touch the ground, but in reality they were still able to stab the ground just as quickly when the need arose. Whether they run with it or never use that skill is up to them, but will be a potent weapon for some.
Jumping was next, mainly focusing on carving their way gently off the lip of a jump. Knowing which way the bike was going to kick in the air made their jumping more predictable, especially when staying low to the bike is also compulsory.
Jake, probably the most noteable of the many Taupo riders who joined us, had his CR125 on the pipe in the turns and throwing impressive whips. Front brake and throttle control in the ruts were his main lessons, skills that will help his speed and consistency if he continues to master them.
The adults that stuck around were also able to catch some of what we did with the younger group who were next.
The Key to Speed
These kids were quick learners and we moved quickly from skill to skill. Soon I was pushing them to enter the first corner at extreme pace because they were going to either make their speed faster or safely run over the top- the latter option not being needed by any as they simply increased their speed. Good adrenaline firing stuff.
Needing to lock in the benefits of gripping with their knees we ventured out to a particularly bumpy downhill where they blew me away with how much speed they gained once they clicked with how hard to squeeze their seat. A few of us were buzzing about the potential that some of them unlocked.
Finishing the day safely we smashed out some solid starts skills, going through a number of skills from using the slipping point of the clutch, to finding their balance properly before the gate dropped. The start straight races were good to watch and finished off an excellent day in style.