The Yamaha VR46 Master Camp students took on not one, but two new disciplines yesterday, trying their hand at soft cross at the VR46 Motor Ranch and taking the Yamaha EX Deluxe WaveRunner for a spin at the Joe Amarena Sunset Beach in Pesaro, Italy.
Tavullia (Italy), 6th September 2019
The hard work continued for Yamaha Motor Thailand’s Sawapol Nillapong (16) and Suttipat Patchareetorn (18), Yamaha Motor Malaysia’s Muhammad Alif Ashraf Bin Tahiruddin (16), Yamaha Motor Philippines’ McKinley Kyle Paz (18), and Yamaha Motor Canada’s Jake LeClair (18) on the second day of the eighth edition of the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp. They stepped up to the challenge to show how quickly they could adapt to new machinery and surfaces, taking on soft cross with Moto2 rider Stefano Manzi at the VR46 Motor Ranch and going out to sea on the Yamaha EX Deluxe WaveRunner at the Joe Amarena Sunset Beach in Pesaro.

The riders picked up training where they left off on Day 1, returning to the VR46 Motor Ranch, but this time they would be riding YZ125 bikes on the soft cross track. In the clear morning sunshine, the riders were asked to hop off the van as VR46 Rider Academy’s Manzi was waiting to teach them the ins and out of soft cross, which can get quite intense.

Manzi, the VR46 Riders Academy expert on soft cross, explained:

“In the morning we had two hours to ride the motocross bikes. For some of them it was their first time trying soft cross, so I wanted to teach them some tricks, but we know it’s difficult to learn how to ride this type of bike and track in such a short amount of time. That said, we got a lot of riding done today. We just started and I gradually gave them tips on the correct riding position and how to change their riding style.

“I myself started riding motocross when I was four years old, because my dad was a motocross rider. I later switched to road bikes, but for a long time I was learning on motocross bikes. I’ve been doing it for 16 years and I have a good feeling on it.

“When riding motocross bikes, your physical level is much more important compared to when road racing, because it’s harder on the body, all parts of it. When you finish riding motocross you feel pain all over, because when you do it well, you use every muscle of your body, making it good training.”

After a quick lunchbreak at the Joe Amarena Sunset Beach, the riders moved on to yet another new discipline for them. The Master Camp had organised its second jet ski event, in collaboration with Yamaha Marine Europe and Yamaha Marine Italy, and with special permission from the local authorities and coastal guards. The programme also got a personal invitation from the Joe Amarena Sunset Beach owner to use the facilities and waters.

MotoGP rider Franco Morbidelli was waiting for the riders on the shore, having just tried the waters himself. When the students saw the Yamaha EX Deluxe WaveRunners that they would be riding, they couldn’t contain their excitement. They quickly changed into their special Yamaha wetsuits to start the training.

The instructor of the day was none other than legendary Italian surfer Alessandro Marcianò, who is also a highly experienced jet ski rider. He had the students racing through the waves on their Yamaha EX Deluxe WaveRunners in record time, letting the riders enjoy this new experience.

“We had a different approach today, because the condition of the sea and the waves were quite different from what we had in May, at the first Yamaha Marine event”, said Marcianò after his final run. “When the waves are choppy, we have to amend how we ride the WaveRunners. We used a different technique to approach the sea circuit, that suited this type of conditions. At first, we went quite slowly, so they could get an understanding of how to ride in these bumpy conditions, and then we went faster and faster. I saw that all the riders were competitive and handled these conditions well, which really wasn’t easy if it’s your first time on a WaveRunner.

“We also worked on turning and did some 360’s just for fun, but it’s also good because it teaches new riders how to handle the WaveRunner in critical conditions. In the second run I organised a small contest: they each had to complete the sea circuit one-by-one, individually, like a shoot-out. The times were really similar, but it was Sawapol Nillapong who set the best time. At the very end of the day we went a little crazy, it was like a rodeo, a crazy-horse race!

“In a way, riding soft cross is similar to riding a WaveRunner. The position of the body is the same, especially when you go fast, and the turning is similar too. The only difference is that the WaveRunners don’t have breaks, the surface is water, and water has unexpected bumps. In this case you need to stand, almost like enduro.

“Everybody had fun. Considering that this was their first time trying anything like this, that’s the most important thing. It was a great success, and I’m happy to be able to be part of this event.”

Relive all the action of Day 2 by watching the review video HERE.
Jake LeClair

Jake LeClair

“The soft cross session was good. I do quite a bit of soft cross at home, but it was good to try it on a different surface. The surface there is a lot harder than what I’m used to. It felt good to have the bike sliding around a bit. It’s always fun to ride at the VR46 Motor Ranch, so I didn’t mind that at all. Standing up is very important in soft cross, and cornering is also key. We had a jet ski session in the afternoon. I had never driven a jet ski before, so that was a good experience. We had a lot of fun on Day 2. Like with soft cross, you don’t want to sit down whilst riding the WaveRunner, because it gets tiring. The waves hit so hard. The turning was kind of like the flat track style of riding, with some road racing mixed in, which was interesting and a lot of fun.”
McKinley Kyle Paz

McKinley Kyle Paz

“I already trained riding motocross in my country, but on Day 2 at the VR46 Motor Ranch I learned how to do it properly. My first time riding the WaveRunner is really a memorable experience from this Master Camp for me. I discovered that riding it was a mixed feeling, it felt like riding motocross on the straights and like flat track in the turns. I will surely apply all the things I learned today to the races that I will be competing in. I can say that I’m able to control the motorcycle better now.”
Muhammad Alif Ashraf Bin Tahiruddin

Muhammad Alif Ashraf Bin Tahiruddin

“The motocross practice was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it a lot. By testing different track conditions, I improved my confidence on various soil types. Again, I focused on the correct position on the bike, which I understand is crucial. In the afternoon I tried the WaveRunner for the first time in my life. It’s so much fun, and surprisingly it’s easier to turn than to keep it straight, because it jumps on the waves like a wild horse. Very funny!”
Sawapol Nillapong

Sawapol Nillapong

“Riding soft cross is very different from the flat track, but I want to keep doing both, because these two disciplines are very helpful in training your body, the way you position it, as well as cornering and throttle control. Riding the WaveRunner was really exciting. It was fun and not tiring at all, like motocross. It was my first time, but I found it very relaxing. I want to use the soft cross skills I gained by adapting them to road racing. I want to keep doing it when I go home to Thailand.”
Suttipat Patchareetorn

Suttipat Patchareetorn

“In the morning we rode on the motocross track of the VR46 Motor Ranch, and I noticed a clear difference from the feeling I had riding the flat track. We learned a lot: entering the corner, how to exit, how to jump, and how to get around the track – it’s all different. It was my first time trying the WaveRunner and it was so much fun. I got so excited, I really loved it!”