Typical Thursday, all the kit prepared Wednesday evening to load in the car Thursday morning. Leave for work 06:30 to get to Mk. Full on day just hoping that everything goes to plan, all planned vehicles get back on time and unloaded in time for me to get the next day’s schedules sorted, 16:30 rolls around, skin suit on and into the car in approx 2 min. Pedal pretty much to the metal to head to the Rockingham (over an hour drive) speedway for the evening racing action along with a whole host of other local club racers.
It was looking like a wet evening, good for me and my fellow club racer Paul Southern, we like to think the weather will put quite a lot off, narrowing the field, more chance for us old veterans to get in the placing. We’d had a chat beforehand and decided to go into the race with a bit of a calculated plan. We would attack hard at 45 min into the race, a 2 up effort to get away from the main group.
As with all good plans, it went wrong before we started, we were told on the start line, the race duration would be 45 min + 3 laps due to the conditions. We looked at each-other, laughed and agreed instantly, we’ll go at 35 min. The race got underway, usual fashion, fairly steady start out on the oval circuit for safety reasons, the track was marginally damp, still no rain. As the attacks started, two guys break clear, 4 guys chase them down drawing the rest of us back to them. We’re all back together, 2 min later one guy attacks hard and goes off alone making a decent gap on all of us, time will tell. Sure enough, the headwind was too much for him, took its toll and the group finally caught, all back together again.
All of a sudden 4 guys come flying down the outside and bang, before you know it, they’re way ahead! That’s it, they’re gone, there’s your winners right there, eventually the main group decided to chase, combine this with a fairly hefty headwind all back together again not forgetting we had a plan. Not easy watching all this happening around you but at 35min I looked around to Paul who nodded and I launched an attack. Paul sat comfortably on my wheel as we started to put some pain into the legs and push on hard, after 30 seconds I flick the elbows and Paul takes a turn so I can recover briefly. Unfortunately this was along the start finish straight where the headwind was strongest but we looked round, we’d made a huge gap on the bunch and no one was joining us! We continued to work hard to stay away, in the meantime our team mate Jamie was putting the blockers on the main group chasing, riding in our defense, helping us get away.
As we progress thinking we’re making time on the group, a quick glance over my shoulder and they were closing in on us a little! C’mon Paul, we got this! ‘I shouted! Sadly for Paul, he had raced the night before, so the effort he was doing was in fact sacrificial. I was feeling pretty fresh, a few more turns Paul shouted “Go” having increased the gap on the main group even further, this was my chance with just over a lap and a half to go.
I concentrated and put myself in that pain place you do when you’re on an individual time trial an unpleasant feeling but required to fend off any late push from the bunch. I keep looking round to see if the main group are catching me! No! Wtf!? What is going on!? Is this actually happening!? Looking round every 10 seconds, nothing! No reaction! Just keep pushing on! How many laps do I have left ? Can I keep this up ? Just keep pushing on! As I pass the start finish line I look around still in disbelief, I’m in agony now, but I know all I have to do is hold this power for one more lap!
All I can say is, those last laps were incredibly painful! A last look round to see where the rest were! Not near me! I pass through the chequered flag, one hand fist pump, still in disbelief an out an out win! Big help from my team mates, something I would have struggled to do purely on my own. A win for me, backed up with a 4th place for Jamie Tuttle.
by Paul Hardy