Motorcycling Australia Elite Performance Academy (EPA)
The inaugural Motorcycling Australia Elite Performance Academy (EPA) intake have set the bar high for future squad members according to the program’s Exercise Physiologist Tim Cole.
The three-day EPA camp, which wrapped up on the Gold Coast on Sunday, has seen 16 of the nation’s best young riders pushed to the limit throughout a number of gruelling physical and psychological testing sessions.
Cole said this year’s initial camp had been blessed with a ‘great crop of athletes’ that each had the potential to excel in their respective racing careers.
“This is a whole new three-year pathway that will be getting our kids ready and helping them get to world championship level,” Cole said.
“Being a selection camp, this has been the first step in that process. We’ll go away and assess after having a really good look at each of these guys, and we’ll pick those that we think are the most likely to become world champions some day in the future.”
Cole also praised the facilities at the squad’s home base for the weekend at Pizzey Park, with coaches and squad members alike making the most of the top class resources at their disposal.
“It is the best place to train in Australia. We’ve got everything from the canals right next to us and the beach not too far away either,” Cole said.
“We’ve got a 400 metre running track and what I think is probably the best gym in Australia here as far as a high performance centre goes.
“As well as that, we’ve have access to some really good mentors- people like Jason Crump and Troy Bayliss are based up here- and the aim is to have them more and more involved as the program goes on.”
Motorcycling Australia National Development Officer Laurence Miller said there were a number of impressive testing results on the opening day, with Road Racer Troy Guenther registering a 13.11 on the beep test, Enduro rider Ben Kearns excelling in the core strength assessment and New South Welshman Tom Edwards coming out on top in the upper-body strength endurance test.
Motorcycling Australia Elite Performance Academy pupils engaged in a wide-ranging panel discussion with EPA mentors and three-time World Speedway champion Jason Crump.
Crump said the lessons learned at the EPA camp would give the next crop of Australian riders the best chance to succeed on the international stage.
“My role (in the camp) was just to be an advisor and pass on some of the experience that I have gained from 20-odd years of racing from all over the world,” Crump said.
“I think all of these young guys actually have the potential to become an elite athlete. The programs that MA are putting in place at the moment are obviously very important in their development and can help a lot.
“The opportunity to learn and understand what needs to be done physically and mentally here (in this program) is putting motorcycling in our country up there with other sports, so for all these kids in this generation it is a great opportunity to progress with correct and proper guidance.”
EPA Sports Psychologist Jacqui Louder, who led a range of psychological tests over the course of the camp, said she had been impressed with the squad’s application to the mental aspect of the camp.
“My role prior to coming to the camp was to profile all our athletes, and our hope by profiling them all is that we get a much better insight into how they cope under pressure, different stress conditions and what their personalities are like,” Louder said.
“From there, we will use these profiles to contribute to the rest of the information that we get from this camp to see what makes an elite athlete.
“The Silent Maze activity conducted on Saturday was a test of the boys’ communication, decision-making and teamwork skills, and it was interesting to see which of the boys took control of the activity and dealt with the obstacles put in front of them.”
EPA squad member and NSW road racer Tom Edwards said the lessons learned from the camp thus far would hold him in good stead in the future.
“I took a lot away from Day 2 about how to train and recover properly, which is something that I never knew a lot about,” Edwards said.
“It was a really tough day and there have been a lot of training sessions so far, but it has also been really good to learn about these things so I can take it all back to my training at home.”
From the weekend, a squad of eight will be selected for a follow up EPA camp in September.
Troy Guenther (Queensland, Road Racing): “I’ve learnt plenty about both the physical aspects and the mental aspects that can be applied to the sport.
“I’ve had a great time at the camp; there is a great group of kids here and there is a great group of coaches helping us. It was interesting to hear about all the psychological things and how I can apply them to help with some of the problems I have been having.
“Also with hydration, it was interesting to learn about how much we can drink and how much we can over drink, so overall I have got plenty out of it and I’m really hoping I can get invited back.”
Max Whale (Queensland, Dirt Track): “It’s been very tough and challenging, but I’m sure what I have learned from the camp will pay off in the long run.
“Running up the stair hills eight times was probably the hardest thing, but I have learned I need to train a lot harder and I’ve taken in a lot about the mental side of the camp.”
Tom Edwards (New South Wales, Road Racing): “I’ve learnt plenty about the body, and about how to actually train and recover properly. We learnt about a lot of stuff that I didn’t even know existed.
“It was a really tough couple of days and there have been a lot of hard sessions, but it has also been really good to learn about these things so I can take it all back to my training at home.”
Jaimon Lidsey (Victoria, Speedway): “Being able to train in the facilities we have in the past three days has been amazing. Learning from all the other boys in the other disciplines has been the most interesting thing; seeing the areas that I am the strongest in and the others that I need to work on at meetings for the rest of the year.
“I’ve never really done much training, but to train in these facilities with all the professional athletes training around you and seeing how much time and effort they are putting in coming up to the Olympics is amazing. The opportunity we got for this weekend has been really good.”
Rhys Budd (New South Wales, Motocross): “It’s been pretty fun. I learnt plenty about how the body functions and how to get fitter over the past few days. It’s also been great to meet a whole heap of new friends.
“It’s all about keeping your training at a high intensity like you do when you’re on a motorbike.”
Michael Driscoll (New South Wales, Enduro): “It’s been a really good experience. It wasn’t easy and we’ve done a lot of workouts, but it’s been good to work out what my weaknesses are and what I have to do to improve on them.
“It’s been a great experience and a great opportunity. This facility is really, really good; they’ve got an awesome gym, oval and meeting rooms, so I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Lachlan Taylor (Queensland, Road Racing): “The amount I’ve learnt about my strengths and weaknesses has been really good for me, and has helped me realize what I have to do to help me grow in the sport I love most.
“The three days have been really tough; the last day has probably been the hardest because we’re all pretty sore and we had to do 15 sets of 200 metre runs, but this is what you have to do to make it to the top.
“It (the EPA camp) is a massive stepping stone for me in road racing and also for all the other disciplines here. To get picked for this is massive, and I hope I can make the last eight for the next camp.”
Billy Van Eerde (Queensland, Dirt Track): “It has been very interesting learning about all the nutrition, hydration and diet information and the different ways to get fit.
“It’s a great opportunity to come along to this camp and learn a lot more about the sport. For me, learning from the motocross riders about their endurance, strength and fitness has been interesting, considering that their motos are 20-30 minutes long, which is a bit longer than us dirt trackers who only compete in four minute races.”
Wil Ruprecht (New South Wales, Enduro): “I’ve learnt a lot not just from the staff and coaches at the EPA camp, but also the other riders and how they deal with troubling situations.
“In the past, I’ve focused on what other riders are doing, but Jacqui (Louder) has given us some really good information that I will definitely benefit from in the future.”
“The facilities are second-to-none; they are certainly the best facilities I have ever trained in and everything is set out really well and easy to work with.”
Brody Eves (Queensland, Speedway): “The EPA camp has been great for learning off the coaches and other boys here, who are at a pretty similar level and are from all different disciplines.
“It has been pretty close to what I expected and I’ve learnt heaps from the talks in the classes.”
Riley Dukes (New South Wales, Motocross): “The camp has been amazing. I’ve learnt so much from the coaches and all the people around me.
“I’ve taken away a fair bit of knowledge from other disciplines; mainly that you require good fitness and a good level of focus no matter what type of rider you are.”
Fraser Higlett (Queensland, Enduro): “I’ve loved the camp. It’s been great learning about both the mental and physical side of things and just all the necessary components to being a good motorcycle athlete.
“This is my first time going through any of this type of stuff and it’s all new to me. If you’re going to take your riding to the next level, this (camp) is the way to go; it’s just great that I have been given this opportunity because it would be hard to make it without it.”
Nicholas Liminton (South Australia, Road Racing): “I think they’ve really pushed us mentally and physically to the limit. The coaches have taught us a lot about improving our riding and also what parts of the body we are using on the bike, so that has been important to learn about.
“I think my favourite aspect has been learning about the psychological side of riding. Jacqui Louder has been teaching us a lot about nutrition, how to think before a race, how to get to sleep better and all those types of things.
“I also think it’s been great that we’ve got all these different riders here. We all do things in different ways, but ultimately we are all trying to win races so it has been great learning from them.”
Mitchell Evans (Queensland, Motocross): “My EPA experience has been great this year. I had experience in the past in nutrition, recovery and exercising, but after spending a few days here I can go home now and not rely on my parents to push me and tell me what foods I should eat.
“Everyone here has pushed each other, and you learn heaps just talking to the other riders. Getting to know their disciplines such as road racing and speedway- which I didn’t know much about- has been great, and I now know how long their races are and what they do during the week to prepare for competitions.”
Ben Kearns (New South Wales, Enduro): “It’s been unreal. There have been a lot of new things that we’ve learnt and other things we knew about, but just didn’t have a deep understanding of until this weekend.
“All this sort of stuff is pretty new to me and most of the other boys too I think. I now know what it takes to get to the top of the sport, and the little things like diet that will go into the training for what I do.”
Broc Pearson (Queensland, Road Race): “It’s been a great few days at the Elite Performance Academy. We’ve learnt a lot about the body and what it takes to fuel your body correctly. I’ve learnt a lot after coming here not knowing much, and I’d like to thank everybody here for helping out.
“They have taught us a lot, especially in the class time, but we’ve also learnt a lot coming out for the physical activities and understanding that it is all about the quality and not the quantity of the training that matters.”
Students at the inaugural Motorcycling Australia Elite Performance Academy (EPA) camp included;
- Ben Kearns – Enduro – NSW
- Billy Van Eerde – Dirt Track – QLD
- Broc Pearson – Road Race – QLD
- Brody Eves – Speedway – QLD
- Fraser Higlett – Enduro – QLD
- Jaimon Lidsey – Speedway – VIC
- Lachlan Taylor – Road Race – QLD
- Max Whale – Dirt Track – QLD
- Michael Driscoll – Enduro – NSW
- Mitchell Evans – Motocross – QLD
- Nicholas Liminton – Road Race – SA
- Rhys Budd – Motocross – NSW
- Riley Dukes – Motocross – NSW
- Tom Edwards – Road Race – NSW
- Troy Guenther – Road Race – QLD
- Wil Ruprecht – Enduro – NSW