I haven’t updated the site in a while and looking back over the past few months it isn’t hard to see why, things have been busy preparing for 2015! Things started earlier this winter with the Junior Motocross riders, and January was spent in USA and France. February in UK, then off to NZ in March before the 1st World Cup in France.
2014 was a great season and to have coached both 2014 Downhill World Champions was a big achievement. It was also great to see Martin Maes develop and win at Fort William, and Taylor win a world cup too – coming back from such a big injury to winning felt like reward for his hard work.
At the end of 2014 season I sat down with The Athertons and we immediately went in to planning mode for 2015. Rach had a hard year with a difficult illness and she really showed some grit to be right up there with the set backs she suffered. She is hungry now and wants to be back at Number 1 so training sessions with her at the moment are very rewarding and she had a great start to 2015 with a 2nd place this weekend.
Gee obviously has a big target on his back being World Champ and he came in to this winter after an extended period of filming and commitments, but injury free and he has stepped up again; to continue hitting personal bests each winter amazes me. He expects a lot of himself and knows his body very well. Lourdes was difficult as he injured his wrist, but he showed amazing speed and form on the bike, and also confirmed he is one tough dude- riding with a broken wrist to salvage points is beyond possible for 99% of the population.
Athy had a frustrating season last year with a broken leg – after such a great winter behind him. Something people won’t see, but this is the nature of racing and bikes. He has had a really focussed mindset this winter and is pushing himself really hard. We have done more on the road bikes than before, and tried to resist a drop on strength and power- in fact we are going the other way! Having Athy healthy and fit for EWS is an exciting prospect. New Zealand EWS was mixed for him – riding better than ever and right up there, but an unfortunate crash due to another rider being on his line forced him to retire, but he is fully fit and ready for races ahead.
Martin Maes is great to coach and is so mature for his age – he is still a Junior! He has more pressure this year, and this will be his challenge, but winning a pre season Enduro in New Zealand showed him he is still right up there and helped his confidence.
Taylor moves up to Elite for 2015 and knows it will be a big (but tough) year for him. Resetting expectations from Junior- Senior is a difficult transition and having been through it with Danny back in 2009/2010 I know it can be difficult but he will come in knowing that people don’t have specific expectations so he can ride with a little less external pressure perhaps. He has been in the gym and killing it so far, again having Gee in the gym with him must be motivating but sometimes frustrating- I think he works harder because of it and this can only be good. A broken thumb in NZ has made the first world cup very difficult, but he knows his speed and fitness are there.
At the end of 2014 I stopped coaching Madison team and started to work with RMJ motocross academy. I used to work with Richard-Mike Jones when he was racing and it is great to be back working with professional Motocross riders again. He is now coaching and has a great programme. They are of the highest calibre and will be racing British Championship and selected GP’s this year so to be developing young talent and seeing the rewards on the track is motivating and refreshing. They are a great group: Adam Sterry, Ashley Wilde, Matt Burrows, Nathan Dixon, Dexter Douglas and Jack Bintcliffe.
We have worked hard together every week and to buy in to this level of commitment straight away shows they are willing to go outside of what they have done previously, and we are already seeing the results on the track: Hawkstone International was the first big MX race of the season and Adam qualified 4th before bike trouble (MX2) and Ashley had a storming day to go 6th overall in MXGP. They are all continuing this form and Adam Sterry opened eyes with an 8th overall at the GP of Argentina!
Another new recruit to the programme is Mark Scott. The talented Scottish rider is on the Wideopen Enduro team and has been grafting this winter. He will be one to watch I am sure this year and it has been great to put together a good programme for him and coach him in the gym – he is a power house!
I’m also continuing with Andrew Neethling after a number of good years together. Needles has moved teams for 2015 to Hutchinson/Polygon and I think this fresh set up will be good for him. I struggle sometimes during the winter when he says it is hot and sunny, and sends me pictures of amazing seaside rides and sand dune moto sessions, especially when it is -5 here!