Handy rain the weekend before meant we could live up to our promise of the Taupo track for some serious one on one sessions, starting with recent 9-11 65cc champ Brodie Connolly as Broxy started his trip to the south island via Wairoa and Waipukurau.
Having watched Brodie closely at the mini Nationals, I badly wanted to help make him more consistent, hence why we started with the testing saw dust section. Both Brodie and Jason who was after him were a bit lucky that the saw dust had been recently groomed so were able to work on their techniques and feel like pros before too long, but only when gripping hard enough.
They also did the same turn section as each other, Brodie starting to form up some nice lines once he began changing down an extra gear into the turns to help get the weight off the front wheel, with Jason working on consistency afterwards. Unfortunately my new timer technology was hindered by a flat battery, so once we knew that Brodie was a full second faster over the 30 second lap, that was all we were to find out.
Scott’s session was a bit different but ended with similar results, finding a much more consistent way to jump and avoiding some bad habits that were getting in the way of his turning ability, such as a straight inside leg and getting on the gas too early in ruts.
All of that didn’t leave much time for me to ride, and I didn’t end up putting head to pillow until well after midnight. That was entirely my fault though as I also stopped for a quick mountain bike, then couldn’t put Jeremy McGraths book down after opening it to read what I intended to be just a few pages. Wairoa, the friendly town south of Gisborne is where we were at, Logan and Keegan Taylor joined by their friend Thomas and followed up with Christian Te Amo.
The boys apparently had a ball learning their skills, and followed it up by digging around to eventually find the lap timer that I managed to lose off my handlebars in an unscheduled corner mishap.
Christian Te Amo’s session was cut short- for the very good reason that there was another track we could finish at, a recently ripped Mangapoike club track that proved too great a temptation. It lived up to expectations also, making for something similar to sand riding but with an awesome flow of ups and downs mixed with a small number of nice tabletops and corner jumps. We were spoilt!
Then there was one more groomed track for day three of this trip south, the Ashtons place at Waipukurau, southern Hawkes Bay. This time the day started with me getting some coaching, thanks to James “Jimmy” Ashton who is to be my mechanic for 2013. He is one switched on cookie, having spent the years beginning with the Monster Energy Kawasaki GP team, helping their rider Joel to consistent podium places until Jimmy had to come home early, much to the dismay of the team and his rider.
Fortunately all this meant he could pass his training techniques on to me and as it turned out, I learned three major things that had not been clear before, all helping in putting together the bigger picture.
I wasted no time in passing one or two of them on to Josh Masemann, the techniques making a big difference to his bump handling skills. Every time you saw his ankles come out away from the bike, which meant his toes were in giving him more grip on the bike, you instantly knew it would be a good run.
Bruno and George were next, joined by their Dad who just couldn’t bear to watch them have all the fun. The younger son struggled with the bigger hills on his TTR90 but it was no fault of his riding style or guts, which are both top notch.
More motos and training with Jimmy were followed before a shower and drive down to Upper Hutt before an early morning ferry to the South Island for even more adventures!