The arse end of racing | RETRO SPORT
I love living in the north east of England. You get more for your money house wise, a beautiful coastline and gorgeous countryside. The only downside is it’s bloody miles from anywhere that you may need to visit.
As it happens on this occasion I needed to be at Castle Combe racetrack for my ACU racing license course. It means I’ll be allowed out on the track in what might be termed as an ill advised attempt to start racing in my middle age.
So this means a 280-mile trek southwest to Wiltshire (where they speak kinda funny) on our pitiful UK road network. The scourge of the 50 mph average speed limit sections of motorway which permeate our land did nothing to ease the monotonous journey.
I arrived at my first (yes first) hotel for the evening with an uneasy feeling. As I walked towards the reception I passed numerous signs alerting the unwary motorist to the presence of thieves. As I had my newly built race scooter in the back of my van, plus additional associated paraphernalia this concerned me somewhat. I asked at the hotel reception what the area was like for crime. To be told by the lad behind the desk “Oh yeah it’s quite good, I manage to subsidise my wages pretty well on a good evening!”
After dumping my overnight bag in the room I decided to see if all was well in the hotel car park. I was met with a sight that immediately sent chills up my spine. I had only been parked for ten minutes and there were already five unwashed, unshaven and unsavoury smelling characters hanging around my van drinking. One of whom had his face and hands firmly pressed against my rear windscreen peering into the back of my van!
Decision made and hotel number two for the evening was sought. Here I could park with the van in sight of my room, directly underneath CCTV cameras and the back of the van backed right up to a brick wall. I felt much more confident that I would still have a scooter to do my track time on the next morning. So I made my way to the bar for a couple of beers…
I arrived in good spirits after a restful and early night courtesy of Lenny Henry. Castle Combe racetrack is situated in a lovely area of the country, where I was constantly amused by the local accent (I’ve lived a sheltered life).
I parked in the allocated area and unloaded my scooter. No sooner had I got it out of the van and I was met by a friendly fella asking if this was my Lambretta. Shaun as it turned out to be, had brought his Lambretta along too and mentioned he was waiting for his mate (Jer) to arrive on his TS1 powered Lambretta to take part in the training day. They were planning to build Production Class scooters to compete on this season. I breathed a sigh of relief. Glad to be amongst other scooter riders and jolly nice fellas they are too.
It’s been an awfully long time since I spent any time in a classroom. I spent most of my school years playing truant and honing my pool skills down at the local Greek cafe. Yet here I was choosing to sit in a classroom. How times have changed.
The ACU representative met us with a glum face. “I’ve got some pretty awful news” he said with a somber tone. I thought he was going to tell us someone had died. He continued “The doctor who’s presence is necessary for insurance purposes for the track aspect of the course has phoned to say that he won’t be available today.” Which meant that the track part of the race license course couldn’t proceed… What a bummer! Two days off work, two hotels and a 560-mile round trip for nothing!
As it happens the organisers were frantically trying to find another doctor for the lunchtime session. As there was an on-going track day for bikes we were allowed an hour slot of track time during the track day lunch break. It wasn’t looking promising though.
The morning proceeded with a Powerpoint presentation of the general rules, regulations, flag meanings and instruction on track etiquette. The monotone delivery of the training instructor was almost too much to take and if it hadn’t been for the one and only tight pant wearing, fit and attractive young lady sat on my table keeping my attention I would have probably nodded off.
At the end of the morning there was a 20 question multiple-choice test. I got 18 correct answers. I think I lost the information for the other two incorrectly answered questions due to my distraction with staring at the previously mentioned young lady’s arse.
Is there a doctor in the house?
By the end of the morning there were a few leads being followed up with respect to finding an available doctor to attend the track at short notice. Eventually the welcome news came that a doctor would be available to attend after her hair appointment at 2.00pm. This meant we would miss our lunchtime track slot. But on a brighter note we could have half an hour on the track after the bike track day session had finished at 5.00pm. The track had to shut at 5.30pm so it was going to be tight getting the full session in.
The intervening hours waiting time were spent chatting in the sunshine. Marveling at the young lady’s toned buttocks and generally having a laugh with the other classroom attendees. At one point when said young lady started to get her big throbbing motorbike off the trailer, a good natured group of ten men helped her to unload it. At no point did any of those men try to help me load or unload my scooter despite my wearing of a tight leather gimp suit. Bloody sexism!
Anyway as we went out onto the track after our briefing the scooter ran beautifully. Being newly built I didn’t want to give it the full beans but on the other hand this would be an opportunity to make sure it wasn’t going to go bang.
Several laps were undertaken which became progressively faster… I was getting into the swing of the riding position, gearing and power-band of my scooter. With each lap my confidence grew and I really began to enjoy myself. We had to observe some flags and act appropriately, demonstrating our ability to ride at a good pace without causing a hazard or hindrance to other track users. All that was left to do was demonstrate our safe race starts, making sure not to panic on the line and do a false start.
All was completed in time and I’m happy to report that I gained my ACU race licence. A top day with some top people, some exciting first track time, a scooter that I hope to be competitive on and all with the bonus of beautiful sunshine and a nice female arse to ogle!
Words and photos: Kirk St Moritz
Some of the costs so far…
BSSO membership: £35
ACU training course: £120
ACU clubman novice licence: £48
Of course correct protective riding gear is necessary. I got a deal on my RST leathers, Spada boots and gloves, also an AGV helmet all for £650 (20% discount for local competitors) all from MSG bike gear.