Goodwood Tally-ho

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?

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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.

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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.

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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?

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3 thoughts on “Goodwood Tally-ho

  1. Mick Blackman 30/07/2013 at 19:07 Reply

    It was a truly amazing day, with hindsight, I wished that I had been involved with the race, next year I will be racing.
    It was excellent to meet you both, and well done for your good race times, I will have to try and better Naomi’s time next year, but somehow, I don’t think I will be fit enough to get such an amazing time, a very well done.

    I’m really looking forward to this coming weekend and the ride in London, be sure to look out for us, and maybe we an arrange to meet somewhere around the circuit, I’ll see if we can all arrange to meet somewhere for an LBC gathering.

    Be safe, have a great week, and I look forward to seeing you both again.

    Mick.B.

  2. Peter Mac 31/07/2013 at 00:59 Reply

    Hello you little Roo’s.
    Read ya blog prior to the day and could not find you @Goodwood to have a chat.
    Yes mate, do a Brompton mod section as the Shimano hub is nice.
    In fact, I was blown away by the whole Brompton Thing. My friend drafted me in at the 11th hour to ride for his ill buddy, who unfortunately missed a fabo day.
    Never been on one of the little beasties until arriving at the carpark.
    Must admit to having a wee bit of a love affair with my loaned little red bike.
    I now want to build one to challenge the front runners at next year’s Race.
    Look out all you old coggers…..!!!!
    Say hello to the sunset when ya back home.

  3. The Brompton Diarist 02/08/2013 at 23:23 Reply

    Congratulations to both of you, and thanks for the excellent report. “Swarms of Bromptons”? Oh yeah! Love the shot of the two of you and Ralph and Robinson, with smiles all around. And you do make a case for Goodwood, though I’m still one who is sorry that Blenheim is no more.

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