Waitoki school near boxes way above its weight for producing good dirt bike riders. You could probably point out five different tracks on one short stretch of road. This month we used the closest one to Waitoki itself, and were absolutely spoilt.
A balance of quality and variation is what makes for a good location. Nice berms are good, but you also want some decent off cambers and flat turns for those all important ruts. Safe jumps are a must, and one section of well spaced rollers are the kind of thing that really caps a track off nicely. But this track goes even further with options for a tabletop landing running one half of a jump, with the other half scooped out for when you are ready to experience the confidence of clearing a double. Some next-level planning was obvious right here.
The way that a track handles a larger group of riders is the real test, especially when they are adults. I threw my first group of them straight in the deep end- not with big jumps but onto a long, slippery off camber to make sure their enthusiasm was kept in check. Their hard work here was rewarded with an epic little circuit incorporating nice berms and fun little tabletops that were ideal.
This session was the realization of a postponement from the month before, as predicted rain caused us to move the session on. Three weeks of regular rain made the coaching look a little suspect, but all it took was one day of fine and windy weather to dry it out nicely. Our coaching took place under blue skies without a breath of wind, a confirmation that we had made the right decision.
Saturday morning was the crucial moment as I took the riders through the real reason why we were here and not in the sand- they wanted to improve their jumping. At least half of the session was spent with the wheels basically on the ground until they were ready to do those skills in the air, work that really paid off.
What really makes a jump work is the combination of nicely curved upramps with rounded and long landings. A lot of dirt had obviously been trucked in to make this possible, no doubt with more on its way as the riders grow.
I was even able to coach a very capable and keen Ollie Smith through some cool skills before moving on to my largest group, one almost totally comprised of people I had not coached before. It was a bit of a juggle as I separated them into two different groups running side by side, but this venue gave us the options we needed and there were some very happy riders afterwards.
The generosity of this track owner is quite incredible and I hope that my efforts in keeping the noise down kept the neighbours comfortable. We really hope to be back to help more Auckland riders through crucial skills like these.