From the new MX track you could look out on to the Tasman sea in one direction, all the way around to another spectacular view across the harbor of Western Auckland on the other side. While the airport looked within spitting distance, it would take a solid hour to drive there from our Awhitu haven, but why would you want to be anywhere else when there is so much to play with here.
A fast and flowing track had been groomed atop rolling paddocks with a sandy base, which Rhys, Josh and Brodie were soon tearing up. While Josh showed exactly why he is now ready for the 85 he has moved to, his younger brother Brodie learned how to change gears and Rhys showed how much faster top gear could be.
Back for more training in preparation for his Romaniacs bid later in the year, Phil Cheater was joined by the father and son team of Mike and Paul Mason. While those two got their head around their new style, Phil worked on speed, both around corners and between them. Which he continued to do the very next day at Ardmore where we were also to be.
Three 85 riders Scott, Patrick and Daniel got in before the masses, where we smashed out some serious cornering work. The difference in speed that a little patience with the throttle produced was incredible. Then keeping them low to the bike into and off upramps also made a big difference, mainly to their jumping ability and confidence. So with the future pros completed, I was then able to spend an hour with some new friends of ours, Michael, Carole and Jared, a great trio that we were to get to know much better over the next month or so.
Whoops and Trials
Woodhill was next for an excellent day at the Sandpit. While Roger played the role of responsible adult, Josh, Cade and Zak were the young guns. We started in the old carpark area but it soon became apparent that they were all very capable and moved onto some sandier berms and hills capable of challenging their skills. They were followed by Keri and Ethan, a father and son team who learned the ropes on the flat sections around the trials area. One hill was calling out to Dad, who had a great time conquering and being conquered, while Ethan improved in his own way.
Finishing off the trip was a night at Maungaturoto, an hour north of Woodhill to the McCallum family homestay, before coaching a bunch of keen riders at the local MX track. I had been looking forward to this session for months, as Ethan Crawford was joining us aboard his new puppy; a CRF150R that replaced the smaller bike that saw him heading home early the last time I had seen him. He was joined by James and Ivan, and as a team they did some serious speed work with laptimers adding extra motivation. While it must be scary for their mothers to watch, they were looking quick.
To finish the bumper trip was an epic session with four mini riders on the kids track, alongside Jo and Lance on the big bikes. Having the laptimers in full swing showed a massive speed increase with the young ones, both in straight line speed and around the turns. I never get sick of how much improvement we can make through just a few key points on how to sit and stand.