On the odd occassion it is the younger ones that takes the ball into their hands to get a coaching session happening. This time it was Nathan Palmer, a 12 year old from Wanganui who not only helped us work together with the local MX club, he also jacked up a place to stay with his family that would make many hotels feel rather small.
The Wanganui Motorcycle Club got right behind our visit, discounting their club members along with giving us access to their excellent track – something other clubs are doing more of now too.
We added Nathans bike to the Broxy van and made our way to the Wanganui club track. It had been a full decade since I had been there, my last hurrah raising to the heights of racing Daryl Hurley and sinking to the depths of a DNF due to a faulty kill switch.
Coaching was centred around an area closest to the motorcycle speedway track that also shares the wind blown cliff top overlooking both river and town. A lack of noise complaints no doubt helped by a very supportive council and the row of industrial buildings lining what used to be a major port.
Nathan was up first and we wasted no time increasing his speed in very large chunks. Whether that buzz will continue depends on how well he can overcome the temptation to blip before corners and stand with legs well bent- only determination will make the difference.
Simplifying things, the next pair of keen riders got their first practice time on the starting straight learning lines and perfecting technique before putting it to practice on the track.
It was the same for young Hawera lad Cullen Hurley, related to the man I aspired to be, at this track those many years ago. To the casual observer there was nothing to show that this was indeed his first time on the big track. He has an incredible ability to put in to practice each thing I ask, which of course means I had to be careful what I asked him to do!
Two days after the casual ride that became an “Extreme Enduro” with Colin the club president and friend, I was still discovering new muscles even into Tuesdays coaching. That ride was an eye opener to what people like Chris Birch must go through, the only difference being their rides would be ten times tougher and they probably wouldn’t have ended up in the creek like I did.
Overnight the track, which had only improved as the first days coaching went on, suddenly got very sodden again. Fortunately it was only good news for Seth, Lachie and Nathans cousin Phillip. Much the same as my one on one with Dylan Hollenback after them, it was a case of them trusting my techniques enough to start entering corners faster, staying lower on the jumps and eventually nailing the rollers.
Anyone who has ridden there over the past year or so would have noticed the excellent improvements to the track made by Darren Patene, owner of our normal Wanganui venue which we let have a rest for once. Darren has an excellent feel for flow and shaping which makes me think he will be kept happily busy improving tracks over the next few years.
There were a few standouts over those sessions, proved by excellent results in the Labour Weekend Extavaganza the following weekend, good job guys!