Over the course of this season I’ve spoken numerous times about the depth and speed of our current Intermediate class. Riders like Marco Cannella, Austin Watling, Casey Keast and Tanner Ward are currently riding at pro speed and look to have a very bright future ahead of them. By the sounds of things, of this big four only Keast will be making the full time jump to the pro class in 2017 as the other three will spend one more season competing as an amateur. As we saw in the opening rounds of the 2016 Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals, Keast ran as high as 5th in a few motos in the MX2 class, so you can understand why he wants to take the next step. The other three riders haven’t lined up for a pro race yet as they still want to race the “B” class at next summer’s Loretta Lynn’s National. It’s hard to find fault with any route chosen to the pro class. As long as you truly trust your decision you can‘t go wrong. Obviously, our Intermediate group is lightning fast and ready for the next step in their careers, but what about the other side of the spectrum and our current class of young kids? Why are they so darn fast?
Over the past few years we’ve witness some unbelievable speed in the 50cc and 65cc classes. Riders like Preston Masciangelo, Ryder McNabb and Sebastien Racine (to name a few) have not only had success in Canada but have also proven themselves in the USA. Watching the success that these kids have enjoyed has definitely made the rest of our young rippers step up and take their training programs to the next level.
Yes, I just used the word “training” when talking about our 6 to 10 year olds. In the past two seasons I have personally witnessed an increase in the amount that our young kids have been training. Actually, I’d like to change the word “training” to “preparing,” simply because that’s exactly what they’re doing, and preparing sounds a lot more kid friendly. From training facilities to private lessons, parents have enlisted all the help they can get so their kids have everything they need. These trainers have not only given these young up and comers tips on how they can go faster on the race track, but more importantly they’ve given these kids exercises they can do off the bike as well as how to set goals, both long and short term. If you can teach a young child about setting goals, whether at home or at the track, then your child is way ahead of the game in my mind. All summer, even our youngest of riders like Ben Kongmany, Brenner Lammens, Crayden Dillon and Thomas Munro have enrolled in training (preparing) programs as they got themselves ready for their nationals.
The hard part when dealing with any rider is how much is too much? When do you push them harder and when do you pull back and let them relax? When we’re talking about young kids, fun should still take precedence over anything else. However, this is where the trainers come into play as they should know what is needed and when it’s needed. Of course, you don’t necessarily need a trainer to tell you what your kid should do and when they should do it. These days we still see a lot of fast kids who do stuff on their own and just listen to mom or dad. There is no ‘right’ way of doing things in this sport or any sport for that matter. All that I know is that today’s young riders are faster and better prepared than ever before and it’s fun to watch. As long as we all remember that kids still make mistakes that is what kids sometimes do. Also, I’ve learned over the years that you can never make a kid twist the throttle harder until they’re mentally ready. In their mind they’re wide open and riding as fast as they can go. All you can do is give a young rider the guidance for proper technique and actual race tips such as picking better lines. A young rider will only twist the throttle when he or she is ready. Good luck to all of our young riders as it is definitely fun watching all of them grow and get faster. Finally, thank you to all of the trainers out there who give their time to helping make our young riders the best they can be. See you at the races.