On Friday I took part in a charity event for Balls to Cancer, a cycle speedway race at the Wednesfield Aces track. That’s me moving faster than light, in the black track suit in the picture above. We were all novices, with each of us having only a few minutes on the track in the preceding fortnight. Props should go to Glyn Rowley for organising the event and getting the riders together (especially as he ended up receiving one of the most painful looking injuries of the evening), although I’m sure there were many others behind the scenes who made it possible (the event, not the injury). The event consisted of 16 riders racing in 20 heats. Each heat pitted four riders against each other, and after the first four heats, a handicap system was used, meaning riders started at different points behind the start line. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd places were decided by two two-man races.
Riders collectively raised £2,000 for the charity, although you can continue donating through JustGiving accounts of James Clarke
(of WV11 fame), Glyn
, or myself
It was a great night. Aside of the riding, there was a good turnout, local radio Signal 107 came along and broadcast from the races, adding to the sense of fun. The usual refreshments were served, including the obligatory bags of sweets. Claire brought Joseph and Ewan along for some of it at least, Joseph insisting on bringing his bike too, nice to have my family cheering me on too.
As far as the racing itself went, I can report I didn’t fall once and I came joint second from last. I left it until the very last of my five heats to actually manage overtaking anyone, but was happy with that. The action was possibly not as fast as it could have been, but often quite hairy and mere inches away from disastrous collisions. I’d like to report that there was a chance I might have continued to lead my fourth heat if it hadn’t been restarted
, ahem. Of course, watching the videos afterwards, it all looks comically slow compared to how the pros do it. The first is me in a race with James Clarke (his dad fantastically recorded all 20 heats
), the second is an example of the Aces in action. There’s also a brief writeup here
Finally, here’s a set of photos that Steph Jennings
took on the night.