Despite the freezing weather there was no stopping Max Crighton as he smashed through the skills one after the other. Because of this I was able to reach deeper into my bag of tricks than I normally would for a riders first session with me, so read on to find out how deep he got.The new lake occupying one corner of the mini track was not enough to deter him. Constant drifting and eventually a fall halfway down our start-straight speedway track only seemed to make him more determined. Max was showing promise by doing all the things I asked of him, seemingly giving me complete trust. Before giving him the reward of helping him nail the faster jumping sections, I wanted to test him with using the sweet spot of the clutch. Surely this would take him a while as he had been dropping the clutch until then.
Sending around a technical turn into a sharp little bank he over cooked it and needed help turning around the first time which proved that it was a challenge, but then he went on to nail it time after time with his engine sounding smoother than the automatic transmission in Sarah’s MPV. Finally we worked on gear changes and braking while standing up which took him a little longer to suss, but I can’t wait to work with Max next time to see just how far we can take him. I am expecting some whips and wheelies at the very least.
More one on one action followed the next day at the Wanganui MCC Club track. This was first time I had seen the place since they had extended into the bottom paddock, and aided by the maintenance of Terry Casserly, it has become quite the circuit.
Bum Forward = Head Back
Josh Pilet wanted the cornerspeed and jumping/whoops ability that he sees in his friend, without needing to take too many risks. This was easily fixed as we got his arms bent while standing, and body central while turning hard. Moving his bum forward further on the seat so he could lean his upper body back further made a very visual improvement, from someone with a twitchy front end, to a smooth and fast cornering machine. He, along with his dad and I, are now looking forward to how far it can take him at his next club round there.
You may have seen my next student on a facebook post from my last visit down this way as he held his CRF50 wide open with total disregard for how much sliding he was doing. Since then he stepped up to a more racing type of 50, however it wasn’t long before he was back on his Honda after fouling a plug on the new machine.
Knees Back = Head Forward
It was easy to see that he was having trouble with the bike trying to loop out over jumps. Any rider will agree that this is not an enjoyable experience, and was causing him to avoid powering off any upramps at all. The problem was him lifting his head while jumping, caused by letting his knees come forward while jumping. While it took some time and extra motivation, there is no doubt that he now knows what to work on and I hope this translates just as well to his racing 50 as well.
Our final session began had a brutal beginning, throwing our riders in the deep end. It is never easy to change the finger used on the front brake, but made all the difference to their ability to handle the rutted turn when combined with more skilled and patient throttle control.
Get In Line
As usual the hard work and patience to handle the odd casualty deserved a reward. Bumps, jumps and cornerspeed came together nicely on the very fun upper section of this track. I also wanted them to be able to turn over the top of a jump, in order to introduce them to small whips. These boys were not afraid to give it a go, including Wilson who eventually clicked with getting his body in line with where he wanted to go before landing, even if the back of his bike was still sideways.
This has been a good year for the Wanganui MCC with rider numbers keeping them and their facility very busy. Having a dedicated track groomer and many other helping hands, the forecast for the future is bright for this club, and a good way for the club to be celebrating their 100th anniversary.