• Cairo Walker

Go Hard in the Lead-up and Enjoy The Main Race

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

Kicking off this Year’s Series on Business Lessons from a Top SuperSport Racer

Tarbon with Missy and his Kawasaki ZXR6 Race Bike

In this series, I tap into the race strategy of my son, Tarbon - a New Zealand SuperSport rider, to see what businesses can take away from the track.


There's a terrible malaise that sets in when the season ends. Racing chases the good weather when the season ends winter sets in. It was worse this time round; the COVID Lockdown cut off the last rounds of Nationals and grounded riders destined for the US or the UK.

When the winter season opened up it was late in the year, and it caught people unawares. There are always hard decisions around chasing local racing around the country through the sleet and snow. It's a costly and potentially dangerous game racing in adverse track conditions through the New Zealand winter. Most riders stay home for the winter.


Tarbon Takes to the Track for Winter.

Never one to do things by halves, Tarbon raced a dirt bike for the first time, a Motard (also for the first time), entered the Hyosung Cup (also for the first time) and put the next season's race bikes, three Kawasaki ZX600s out on track to start dialling them in for the next season.

The dirt bike's reason for being was fitness but like any racer - it's go hard, or go home. A few races in, Tarbon came a buster and fractured a couple of ribs. The incident enforced a month's down-time, and a month stuck at home unable to train.

Tarbon went from his race-ready weight of 68kg to 78kg. When it comes to racing Tarbon's high bone density is both good and bad. The positive is hardier bones; the negative is a heavier body, and at 5ft 8" Tarbon is already tall for a racer.

Messed-up ribs notwithstanding, Tarbon made it to all the regional races.


Tarbon on Over-Preparing

"I do work hard; I still train. I broke ligaments in my leg last January; one month out. After three days training, I broke my femur. The team said: 'you ain't much use to us, see you later', but I went: 'hold up, I'll be back for the first test'. It was in three weeks, but I didn't care. Doctors said I needed 8–9 weeks. I didn't have 8–9 weeks! I needed three weeks to be back. That was my mindset. I could only just about walk, but I could do it." - Scott Redding.

It's all about racing and playing your role as part of a team, and not letting the team down - and BEING A GOD - or at least feel invincible.

There aren't many other top riders out on track in the off-season. I don't understand why you wouldn't train all year round, at the track, in the gym - wherever. Why stay home when you can travel through the sleet and snow and go racing in the lovely New Zealand winter conditions?

Riding through the off-season allows us to dial the bike in and keep working those lines, getting faster on the tracks. When the season hits, boom! We are right there, and the first big race is just another meet.

Training can be hard at first, especially after coming back from an injury. Anyone who has trained for anything knows you have to work through the initial bit; then you start to feel good, and the habit kicks in.

I 'overtrain' my fitness. By going beyond whatever level of fitness I need, there will be some left in the tank. And then race day is easy and fun.

Get into your peak fitness, and you have the reserves to make smart decisions for the race duration. When you are pushing yourself to the ragged edge, that's when the mistakes happen. You want to leave 5% in the tank for that last lap battle or needed dive on the brakes. That’s how you win races.


Business Lesson: Over-train the Habit

How do businesses go hard?

Initially prioritise and safeguard the 'habit.' Eventually, the habit becomes something more profound. Train consistently, work on your business consistently  and  form habits that become easy to maintain and part of the usual way of doing things.

Once the habit is in place, go hard to the point you feel ill;  that's where the breakthroughs come.

I loved the scene in the movie Gattaca where the two brothers challenged each other to swim out to sea as far as they could. Vincent (Ethan Hawke) even with his heart condition always won. The movie centred around Vincent's dream and the lengths he went to in order to attain his prize  of  the off-shore mission.

On the eve of Ethan Hawke’s character Vincent leaving this world, his infinitely more physically superior brother, Anton asked the question he’d been pondering his whole life:

Vincent, How are you doing this Vincent [beating me]? How are you doing any of this?
You want to know how I did this Anton? I never saved anything for the swim back.

Train the habit like you're not saving anything for the swim back.

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