Finland is well known for its many motorcycling world champions. The national federation, and especially its recently created women´s commission, are now putting the experience of these former champions to work and using their know-how to train their riders. More recently, they have been concentrating especially on female riders.
Last weekend, Konnevesi, a small village in middle of Finland that is well known for its ice road racing traditions, hosted a women´s Enduro winter camp that was organised jointly by the Finnish Motorcycling Federation´s women´s commission and five times Enduro world champion Petteri Silvan.
“I have always liked to train women”, says Silvan, who also has won the FIM International Six Days’ Enduro four times with the Finnish team.
“Girls listen way better than guys and you don´t have to spend time explaining or showing why things are done in a certain way as you have to with the guys, who question everything”, he laughs.
During the one-weekend training camp, the girls practised riding in the snow, They concentrated on correct riding techniques and finding the proper balance in a curve. On Sunday morning the weather was a bit colder so Silvan decided to hold a technical lesson that included adjustment of springs and suspension, while the group waited for the temperature to increase a bit from -17C!
“The camp was a really brilliant way to learn how to ride on snow and have fun together. Petteri gave us really good tips for bike maintenance and for riding. The weather got colder on Sunday so the track was totally different than on Saturday, which gave us really wide range of riding experience”, said Minna Kinnunen who took part in the camp.
“I didn´t really have that much experience of riding in snow as I come from the coast of southern Finland, where we don´t always have snow. But now I just had to give it a try and in the end with Petteri's tips I managed to find good balance for the snow and on Sunday I even realised that my riding was way better and therefore really fun”, explains Nelli Elo.
In the future Finland will also host Enduro, Cross Country and Motocross training camps for women with former champions like 13 times Enduro world champion Juha Salminen and 125 Motocross world champion Pekka Vehkonen.
“For sure it´s important if we can make things easier for the other riders”, says Enduro legend Juha Salminen. “You can gain a lot if you get good tips from the people who have experienced so much in the field. In the end, the same teaching techniques apply for beginners and for professional racers, with just some slight adjustments”.
Even if there is no snow to practise on, perhaps other Federations will be inspired by the Finnish example to tap into the talent of their former champions in order to help women riders to up their game and acquire news skills!
Photos © Mr Jarkkola & Pentti Korhonen