Racing Reminiscences Part 2
I finished Part 1 by relating how I fell off in my first race meeting with another meeting the following weekend.
This was on my nearest circuit, Croft (Dave lived in Middlesborough at this time). This was an improvement as it was a 15 mile ride home instead of a 250 mile ride the previous weekend. I had also spectated at the circuit but I hadn't realised that it would look completely different when I was riding round it.
I was organised this time with a mechanic and a van from Teeside. I was scrutineered early in the morning but by midday I hadn't gone out for practice; it was raining so hard that the track was under water in places. Since I was worried about falling off in the wet the previous week I did not start in my first race even though I had practiced. It meant that I had paid for a race and so lost money but i was getting very scared.
I was positively terrified by the time I got onto the grid for my first race, a 175cc to 1000cc race. I hadn't realised that I had entered the club's big money event and some of the machine round me had been featured in "Motor Cycle". Also I had only push started the Trident once before.
The flag dropped and we all pushed; machines roared into life. I couldn't hear my motor so I had to watch my rev counter. When it moved I nearly stopped to get on; old habits die hard. I tried to go quickly but just about everything left me standing. It wasn't very nice but I didn't know my way round. Also if I tried to change gear going round a right hander I found I couldn't get my foot under the lever and people still passed me on corners.
Some idea of how fast the quick riders are is given by the fact that I was lapped on lap three and it was only a six lap race. I suppose I must have looked a right berk.
My last race was a production event. If I remember, not only had the rain stopped but the sun was shining. I wouldn't have gone that fast if it had been wet. I nearly fell off going from the paddock to the start; I was going along with the rest of the entry when I forgot to tuck my size eleven in. It hit the ground so hard that I ran wide and nearly ended up on the grass.
In the race I got left by the quick guys and so I picked up a little Yamaha to play with. However he knew where he was going and I only had the advantage on long straights and two of Croft's eleven corners. He beat me to the line but I did try to outbrake him at the end but I misjudged it.
I panicked and braked like mad, tyres squealing. I made so much noise the marshals started running and the Yamaha pulled over to one side so he didn't come off as well. Was he annoyed when I didn't fall off. Trouble was I had forgotten to change down. Ever tried trying to pull away in a hurry from 30mph in top gear?
The idea of these articles is to show that anyone who is interested can take up racing if they are prepared to make the effort. Also you may have guessed by now that no-one could make such a mess of their first year as I did.
if you do intend to have a go then do have a chat with Dave Smith, Phil Freestone or myself. At least we can stop you making the same mistakes as we did.
If you would like more of this type of article please let the editor know.