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BAC thoughts

Ooooh, Australia’s getting its own Brompton National Championship (BNC) in October! From the ad it’s listed as a Brompton Australian Championship so I guess that makes it the BAC? The announcement probably created a lot of excitement, especially so for anyone already having done a BNC or BWC event. Very quickly my thoughts turned to what outfit to wear? Before long I started wondering what makes it such a great happening…

One year ago today we were at the Brompton World Championship (BWC2013). It was wonderfully memorable & even with lots of videos watched beforehand of previous events, the weekend was bigger than expected. Leaving aside the historic Goodwood Motor Racing circuit setting & ignoring the excitement of arriving to pick up the race package, seeing 600+ Bromptons of all configurations & colours along with a huge array of rider outfits was rather overwhelming.

The main event was the BWC race; 4 laps of Goodwood after a “Le Mans start” run to our folded bikes arranged on a grassed “grid” & a frantic unfold before wheeling them onto the asphalt & riding onto the track itself. All this was undertaken in “waves” or groups of about 150 Bromptons, with 90 seconds between, & the race timing (from a transponder fitted to each bike’s race-number) to start from the point of crossing the start line on the track. (This method for the race start gave an equal chance to all the contestants & made for a safe & less hurried chaotic scramble.) Yes, we knew about the untimed fold but did that matter? Knowing that we didn’t need to race our unfolded bikes between those still getting their act together, made for a less stressful, gentler, almost chivalrous start?

Onto the track & we all pedaled away furiously; my pace as usual, rather slow courtesy of my restricted heart capacity. Yes, I was flat out, or so it seemed, but my mid-track position kept me out of the serious rider’s race-lines & placed me ideally to watch most of the field hurtle by (& to be lapped twice by the leaders). The starting gap between the waves didn’t last long & the track soon became an endless stream of colourful Bromptons piloted by nattily attired riders. (The only time I saw Mrs Aussie was when she came alongside suggesting a “team finish”, but sadly I had to inform her that I still had another lap to go!) Across the finish line for the last time & the riders turned off the track, into the arms of many helpers ready with our medals & shepherding us to the after-race snacks & onward towards the post-race tea party.

So, with a heavy heart we’ve missed out on today’s BWC2014 – our fault, but maybe next year? In the meantime, BAC2014 is on the way & there’s an eager anticipation of the event details in a few days. Will we get a good course? Will the unfold be timed? What to do about the outfit? Truly a National Championship for all – don’t miss it.