Set on the East Coast of NZ’s North Island and most commonly known by its multiple award winning Bakery (of all things); Wairoa is a place, as one local put it, where “In one day you could catch a breakfast of snapper before work, a lunch of whitebait and then head to the hills for a venison dinner.” What they also have is a very strong off road motorcycling community with more than five tracks to choose from and support that sees their young up and comers regularly showing up at all corners of the North Island for events like the Inter Schools motocross championships.
Hence it shouldn’t come as a surprise to have our coaching numbers double when we decided to visit their shores. Before we knew it one day turned into two, even with the wet weather raining us off the clay track we were hoping to use. Instead, I had the rare chance to ride a sand track; something which I made the most of with a solid 40 minute moto.
Saxon kicked things off with the North Island Mini Champs in mind, followed by Keegan Taylor. The coaching was going great with both boys charging; the problem came when I decided to do the same halfway through Keegan’s session. I was blasting down a whooped out straight and adjusting where my feet were on the pegs when disaster struck. Not being quick enough to get my ankles locked in evenly, a bump kicked me out extremely far to one side and then instantly spat me off after it sprung back the other way. I had time to put my head down and relax into what was about to happen as I flew through the air before slamming into the ground.
My first thought was “Well that is America over”. I had knocked
my head enough that it took around an hour to get my vision fully back to normal but the initial worry was a hand that hurt at any kind of gripping movement along with some swelling. Well the show must go on so I picked the bike up in time before Keegan came blasting back through again with hardly a look my way, then cruise back to the pits to straighten up my mangled bike while we had a ten minute break before getting back in to the coaching, without me riding this time. Progress was great as you can see from this video; and from there the training rolled on to our next group; albeit about as smoothly as a car with a flat tyre. They are three 85cc riders which would have been great except it took 45 minutes for one to arrive and that long to realize how much better off one of the other riders would be on my 150R. From there it was a race against the fading sun; one that we narrowly won thanks to start practice in the growing darkness and my newly revived Risk Racing start gates.
Our fishing/ book reading (whitebaiting)/ hunting friend and his family were excellent company and nursed me back to life. Did I mention that the last session was in rain and wind cold enough to coat the mountains in snow? Well it was definitely worth it. The next morning we were treated to beautiful blue skies and white capped hills; which I made the most of with the odd glance in that direction before half of it disappeared as the day wore on.
Two pairs and a lone 250 rider were my lot that day in the form of Malcolm and Murdoch, followed by Jack and Keelyn before Christian Te Amo capped off a very pleasant day with more of the enthusiasm and good attitude we have come to expect. There was only two downers for the day; one rider going down hard while practicing some hard braking which ended with a cast on his arm and the other negative seeing me leave my best white TCX motocross boots at the track. There is always the hope that the person who found them may hear about this story of woe and get in touch with us.
We will certainly be back and I will be bringing more pocket money to spend at the local bakery. Be sure about that.