This year with our involvement in motocross, I encouraged Dave to do training sessions with experienced riders. These days are called Race Pace and are held by a variety of manufacturers.
They are well run, safe, (as safe as you can be), with the instructors dividing the riders into groups based on engine capacity, ability and age. They teach the fundamentals of riding e.g. entry and exiting corners, how to jump and land, seating and standing positions and, of course, the race start which is a drag race to the first corner.
Learning to jump uphill and not flip.
Sadly , this year we have witness some horrific accidents at a variety of tracks. The first was a rider who was trying to do tricks- he leapt into the air, let go of the bike and could not gather the bike back. this resulted in him spearing himself into the ground, breaking his legs and spine. He had to be helicoptered to hospital.
The second accident was an experienced rider doing a "whip" over a table top jump. This is where the bike is whipped sideways in the air and you try and land it straight. It all looks very showy. Sadly, the track had just been watered, (to keep the dust down), and when the bike landed the front wheel was gripped by the mud resulting in the rider and bike cartwheeling several times.
Getting the balance right for fast entry and exit
Fortunately the rider did not hit any objects and was ok. However his bike was completely smashed-frame, forks, radiators and front wheel.
Perhaps the most tragic was last weekend, when a young man missed a hard left hand turn. His bike ran over the top of the tyre barrier, smashed through a 5 feet high steel and wire fence before smashing into a tree. In witnessing this, I fear the top horizontal rail which was snapped in two by the force of the impact had hit the boy across the back of the neck. Again he could not be moved until a helicopter arrived and is in a coma in hospital.
This accident left us stunned.
One thing I will say is- in doing the race pace training, Dave has learned to ride to the conditions, and to be smooth- no "stunts". Smooth is quicker that being showy. He has also learned to do a track reconnaissance. That is- a few laps slow to get a feel for the conditions. These can change throughout the day. Reading the track is vital to keep safe.
I really do hope the lad who crashed on Sunday will make a full recovery. I fear he may be broken, and my thoughts re with his family
If anyone is reading this who has a son or daughter wanting to ride, I really urge you to consider the Race Pace programmes. Unlike a play station you just cannot pick yourself up and dust yourself down if you hit a fence at 100kph. Of course the course does not guarantee you will not be injured but it certainly improves the skills.