Jackson was attacking Taupo’s mini track like a demon, not letting a lack of track time or the limits of his bike hold him back. That is not to say we were lacking things to work on.
Turns in the Spotlight
Like a moth to the flame, Jackson was gunning for the inside marker peg of most corners with little thought for the penalties. Once at the marker there was a great deal of turning to be done before he could get on the gas again, severely limiting his potential corner speed and ability to get on the throttle early.
I used plenty of turns as examples to get the point across, whether helping him use a berm from its very beginning or to stay wide for a while longer before sweeping back to the marker for that inside line. The benefits far out weigh the risk of getting block passed, as he went on to prove.
Mr Watson was another rider for our day at Taupo. He began regular sessions with me when he was around Jacksons age and yet there are still plenty of things to learn.
In particular I helped Brendon nail a whooped out berm section. This is fairly advanced, basically looping the bike out through the biggest holes to keep the rear wheel in touch with the ground while turning a corner.
In a surprising twist he actually found his own way of getting the job done, albeit a somewhat more risky style of jumping across the bigger holes. This was also fast but there is much more control in having the rear wheel follow the ground, so we spent some time in what is one of the highlights of this track- the sawdust section.
Building on the similar work we have done on the Valley Road track that we normally see him at, there were a few holes he could properly get that looping-out feeling through. His confidence at doing this is definitely growing and will continue to do so with significant rewards.
Getting the Lowdown
Then there was another Jack, this one we met at Pirinis. Having raced Awakaponga the day before, where he got first and second place finishes, we were working with potential talent once again. These situations are so satisfying, as a little shaping can go a long way.
Normally I wouldn’t go quite so advanced on my first session with a rider, but he had done well on the other essentials so we got stuck into staying lower on the jumps.
Jack was essentially getting maximum height off each jump, while his competitors were hitting the upramps at the same speed but getting back on the ground sooner and pulling time. There were a few habits that we changed to help this problem without the need to do massive “Scrubs”.
Rather than preloading and hopping the bike up to him over every jump like many people do to begin with, we simply had Jack stay low with the bike. This had the multiple benefits of getting him back on the ground quickly, giving him more control and still being able to move forward or back as needed.
Then we had him changing his line on the upramp from usually hitting the highest point to choosing the low points instead. That is when I could also add a small element of scrub into the equation as he was carving a small arc to get his wheels into that place, rather than hitting it perfectly straight every time. Not a scrub but encouraging him in the right direction.