GP Juniors recently benefitted from a visit to Garry McCoy Coaching Cooyar
Stay tuned for Part 2 with on-track training at Morgan Park, followed by Part 3 that covers the Morgan Park GP Juniors Round

Gary McCoy and the GP Juniors at GMC Cooyar
Gary McCoy and the GP Juniors at GMC Cooyar

The young up-and-coming hopefuls of GP Juniors Australia recently had an amazing week of training, learning and racing that culminated with the combined round of the GP Juniors Australia race series at Morgan Park (Qld) on June 17-18.

The GP Juniors class was held as a support to the Southern Downs Road Race Series, promoted by the Motorcycle Sportsmen Club and was a resounding success with the youngsters demonstrating remarkable skills in very testing conditions, particularly on the Saturday.

During the weekend there were three junior classes with 14 riders taking part. Eight riders took part in the fledgling GP Juniors Cup, while there were three each on the 70cc and 85cc machines, with ages ranging from 11 to 15-years-old, including a few who made their road racing debut.

Zak Pettendy at the GP Juniors training camp at GMC Cooyar
Zak Pettendy at the GP Juniors training camp at GMC Cooyar

Before the racing commenced however, there was four days of coaching and training by some of the best coaches Australia has to offer. Garry McCoy with his GMC Cooyar training organisation joined forces with the GP Juniors Australia to provide the training for the aspiring road racers. 

This included two days at the GMC Coyaar facility, where camping is available for those undergoing training, followed by two more training days at Morgan Park Raceway, before racing itself commenced. Those taking part in the Morgan Park round were legible for the training, which was provided for free thanks to GMC Cooyar, Dave Fuller from Advanced Rider Training and Motorcycle Sportsmen of Queensland.

Racing start simulation
Racing start simulation for the GP Juniors

The training program and partnership with Garry McCoy of GMC Cooyar is a major development in the aims of GP Juniors Australia, which is to establish nationwide training facilities to nurture and develop a new generation of road racing champions.


GMC Cooyar with Garry McCoy

Naturally the first stop was the property and training facility of three times MotoGP winner, Garry McCoy at his GMC Cooyar establishment, and what a sensational setup it is.

Registration at the GMC Cooyar GP Juniors training camp
Registration at the GMC Cooyar GP Juniors training camp

Situated on 1800 acres of rolling farmland and bush, about two hours inland from Brisbane, McCoy’s property is the perfect place for training. Consisting of a number of tracks including natural terrain motocross, speedway, a PeeWee track, junior MX track, and a flat track,  the facility has to be seen to be believed. The flat track is just over a kilometre long and meanders though the valley floor mimicking a road race track in design with corners, contour and cambers .

Gary McCoy and Mark Bracks at the rider briefing
Gary McCoy and Mark Bracks at the morning rider briefing

Nine juniors took up the offer of the mid-week training with many camping out on the property for the duration. GP Juniors Cup series leader, Tom Edwards was joined by regulars Harry Khouri and John Lytras, along with brothers Travis and Joshua Hall.

Newcomers to GP Juniors Australia also present included Zak Pettendy, Glenn Nelson and Rhys Williams. Making up the nine was 10-year-old Taylah Morris whose keenness for motorbikes is palpable.

McCoy prefers plenty of track time and practical instruction to lengthy classes, with the Juniors receiving instructions as a group on the bikes much of the time
McCoy prefers plenty of track time and practical instruction to lengthy classes, with the Juniors receiving instructions as a group on the bikes much of the time

Most had arrived the previous night to camp out on McCoy’s property, or stayed at the local pub, giving time to settle in to the two days.

McCoy instructing John Lytras, Tom Edwards, Glenn Nelson and Travis Hall
McCoy instructing John Lytras, Tom Edwards, Glenn Nelson and Travis Hall

Proceedings commenced with sign-on and registration, before Garry had all the junior racers sit down to outline the property and what he had in store for them. This was hard as like any kids they were keen to get into it.

Gary McCoy and Taylah Morris
All the GP Juniors riders also received one-on-one instruction, ensuring advice tailored to their needs – Here McCoy is instructing Taylah Morris

There was not much classroom instruction in the traditional sense as Garry is more relaxed, preferring to give participants as much bike time as possible in an effort to hone their skills in a practical manner.

McCoy led the Juniors out for some introductory laps of each of the tracks available
McCoy led the Juniors out for some introductory laps of each of the tracks available

However, before any training started, Garry led the juniors on a couple of laps on each of the tracks they would be riding. Unfortunately the speedway track was a no-go due to a heavy deluge of rain overnight that made the track too slippery to train on.

Garry McCoy giving some on track advice
Garry McCoy giving some on track advice

Everyone went through a variety of different exercises, including body positioning, different lines to experiment with, feet up cornering in an effort to better understand a slide, using body weight to load the pegs and assist in steering the bike, and locking the front wheel while applying throttle to understand front wheel sliding, just to name a few.

McCoy leading the Juniors
The riding sessions on track were broken up by a lunch break and afternoon break, to give everyone a bit of a rest period

The day was filled with riding and instruction, broken up by lunch and an afternoon snack, with riders allowed the freedom of free riding time to implement and experiment with the advice that McCoy offered. All the GP Juniors riders also received one-on-one tips and feedback based on their riding and needs.

Some of the Dad's spectating and having a chin wag
Some of the Dad’s spectating and having a chin wag

Besides plenty of riding time for the kids, it gave the parents a great opportunity to get to know each other, with no better time than after the day was finished, when the BBQ began sizzling and the camp fire was lit.

McCoy leading John Lytras
McCoy leading John Lytras in one of the sessions – There was also plenty of free track time to test out newly learnt skills or experiment with advice from Garry

The following morning there was a quick briefing before riders were allowed to pick their favourite track to put Garry’s continued advice into practice. The skies progressively became darker and when a few drops of rain started to fall, it was an opportune time to pull up stumps to reconvene at Morgan Park the next day for the track training days.

Garry McCoy presenting Tom Edwards with his certificate of attainment
Garry McCoy presenting Tom Edwards with his certificate of attainment

All involved picked up many vital tips and all came away beaming at the experience and presented with a certificate of attainment by McCoy. While there may have been a few minor moans at stopping the day, the enthusiasm soon returned as everyone packed up to hit the road to Morgan Park, two hours away.

The whole GP Juniors Australia group with Gary McCoy at the GMC Cooyar training camp
The whole GP Juniors Australia group with Gary McCoy at the GMC Cooyar training camp

Stay tuned for Part 2, where we head to Morgan Park Raceway for two more days of on-track training, followed by the GP Juniors running as a support class to the Southern Downs Road Race Series.