A wonderful time at BWC2013 was surely had by all who travelled to the Goodwood Motor Circuit, Chichester. For our first BWC trip & to this new venue we took a cottage at Pagham nearby & drove Kanga up each day. Our cottage location incidentally, used to be the home for Derek Bell, the multi-winner of Le Mans & his early racing career at Goodwood was for the family-run Church Farm Racing Team. Staying near Goodwood & seeing light aircraft doing aerobatics overhead, reminded me that Goodwood also has an aerodrome in the infield. At the circuit there were historic sights aplenty: the buildings & infrastructure, famous racer names for parts of the track, “Goodwood Revival” pre-1966 historic support vehicles, bronze statues of renowned racers & flyers & also the regular take-offs (with the occasional aerobatics) & landings by an assortment of aircraft, including Tiger Moth & WWII warbirds. An atmosphere that just seemed so appropriate to the BWC?
Our late-afternoon Friday attendance was intended just for BWC registration & race-pack pickup but the setting & atmosphere was very entertaining. Some hours were spent cruising the exhibit area & we fielded countless enquiries about aspects of Ralph & Robinson’s setups – eg my small luggage bag, bidon cages, MKS pedals, Alfine 11-speed, etc. Perhaps I’d better start a Brompton-modding business?
Saturday & day 2 for us was to spectate the Sprint & Eliminator events & start meeting many of the Facebook group London Brompton Club members – & especially Mick, LBC co-founder (thanks Mick, for those Facetime chats for advice on pre-trip matters). So many (& too many?) LBCers to put faces to names & Brompton pics? A great day & I was starting to suspect that the non-Brompton events at this “Orbital Cycling Festival” were a minor player – & that “Brompton-Sunday” was going to be massive?
Day 3 & Sunday dawned bright & exciting, headed off early for a fast-paced, blur of a day? Bromptons galore being unloaded at the car park & starting to see some wonderful outfits for this “business-attire dress-code day”. Off on a sighting lap & a familiar face pulls up alongside: “World’s Fastest MD”, Will Butler-Adams – & a very productive chat? (more news later?) Endless pre-race chatter/meetings with LBCers & others, before a “Field of Folded Bromptons” are assembled on the grid.
Bromptons aligned in rows by race numbers, in groups of about 160 bikes each, to start in 4 waves 90secs apart (wave 1 for us). The rider briefing confirms the sensible start procedures; running(?) to the folded bikes, unfolding & walking them to the road, then riding onto the circuit & over the timing mat to start the race – no panic & far safer than an all-in scramble? (& avoiding a near riot at the briefing when it was suggested that we should carry the bikes to the track?) Retreat to await the Le Mans start & then an air horn blast signals the off…
Who can run in such congestion? Stayed calm & got it all together, dodged through those still bums-up unfolding & clipped in & away! Kept off the racing line & watched swarms of Bromptons continually coming by – & then the later waves just kept whizzing through! With my heart rate “digitally restricted”, I was headed for a steady (but flat out?) ride – although the head winds were tough & the Alfine trigger shifter got a work-out to keep my cadence up. Certainly jolly hot work; new outfit next time? Had a marvelous “grandstand seat” in watching never-ending Bromptons circulating. Got lapped twice by the leaders (such a fantastic pace & legs a blur) & once by my wife (creditable 36:54 for 11th in class & her first race) – but still a lap to go for me? So tempting to “take the medal & end it all” but I soldiered on – & even managed to chat with a fellow sufferer from the Netherlands before crossing the line & stopping my Garmin at 51:16 (race timing spot-on!). Now that’s how you get your “money’s worth” in racing – before getting stuck into the recovery food & photo sessions.
You had to be there to enjoy the afternoon tea – with Brompton staff wielding endless tea pots – the Gin & Tonics, & finally the exuberant presentations. Was there a brief shower about now? I don’t think too many noticed. Beforehand, some said that the numbers would be down because Goodwood lacked the hills & atmosphere? I feel Goodwood was an excellent location (even with the head winds?) – & I suspect lots more will think that next time?