Weekend full of action. Both sides of the scales.
Saturday was my biggest test to date on my speedway bike. I have never felt so unfit during my 20 year career.
My legs were gone after the warm up and the Wednesfield track have never been so punishing to me.
I have been riding my mountain bike a lot, but have not touched my Archie since the last match of the season at Horspath against Ipswich.
Nevertheless I have promised to be a part of the South West and South Wales team in the Battle of Britain event ending the 2014 season.
The team have changed so many times since the start of organising that I have given up on keeping tracks.
On arrival I have been told that we were one short and we were to “borrow” a Wednesfield junior.
Semifinal was a one sided affair, the South East team had only two original regional riders in, so they had to draft in some riders in hand.
It was good to start the day with stretching those legs, I actually managed a maximum.
Final was some hours later in rather chilly conditions. We were up against the much fancied Midlands team.
We have had a much more, let’s say, experienced side. with Gavin Wheeler, myself and Steve Harris well in our thirties, the leg factor was definitely on the Midlands side of the pits.
The team spirit was favouring us though. All the guys were pretty determined to make the most of that cold and dark evening.
Once more I was at number 1 in the home team, which meant I was out 3 times in the first 7 heats. A task rather challenging in the middle of the season when fitness isn’t an issue, let alone on the longest track in the UK on the season’s last day…
To add to that I had Lee Aris on my case in both races. I’m sure all of you know how competitive Lee is, especially at Ashmore Park. Four laps later I was reduced to a legless wreck, but managed just to hold off Lee’s challenges, but it was thanks to all of my 20 years of experience rather than anything else.
Heat 4 was pretty much similar, once again Lee not giving in an inch but once more I have crawled over the line in first. Before heat 7 I had nothing left. I was lacking recovery time and had no power going into the gate. Virtually stood still of the start and only capitalised on a mistake to get myself onto 2nd and get my partner through and shield him home.
By that time we were winning by a small margin so every race was important. After the interval it was a different matter though. My races were more spaced out and I had a good recovery, I was back to normal.
I won two last races and finished the match with an impressive 18+1, but what more important South West had won the Battle of Britain.
The idea of this event is great. Shame it wasn’t as well supported as originally planned. The usual suspects pulled out… no surprises there, hopefully with a more weather friendly date it will be a bigger success, as the racing was fantastic.
A good pint down the pub and off back to Cheltenham I went.
Sunday was just around the corner…