Dirt Quake

Last weekend I had the pleasure of racing round Coventry speedway stadium at the invitation of the formidable Sideburn boys. 

Another typically wet day, I turned up to a ridiculously muddy track with leagues of professionals screaming round it on full race spec bikes.  I'm beginning to love that race fuel smell.

Drogo and son and bike

[No special effects here, just a crappy disposable film camera.]


The vintage speedway bikes were b-e-a-utiful!

The corpses from hell boys were out in force, pulling on their boots with pliers...

...and dominating the inappropriate road bikes class on their pit bike engined honda c90s.

Lovely sportster chop complete with compulsory oil slick and back up bottle.

Chopper class baby!

In my first heat I came 4th or 5th.  It wasn't a great performance.  The previous races had rubbed a thin dry line into the course but either side of it was big trouble.  I kept running wide and going all wobbly like.  But then I had a Eureka moment on the last corner, right on the dry line I turned the bike past what I thought was it's limit of grip but it didn't slip and just dug in.  Such an odd surface, the bike could skid but not completely fall away, like it would on wet grass, and there was a surprising amount of grip hidden away.

In the second heat I was starting on the front line and managed to hold pole despite having a French man right up my arse on a sportster powered krazy horse chop.  But then he fell and I cruised to 1st place.  To be honest if Dimitri hadn't have been outed, he would definitely have mopped up.

Heat number three I was stuck at 4th place until the last corner where I managed a super sneaky double overtake on the inside and just claimed 2nd place.  Heat number four and everyone was getting a lot more confident and a lot more cocky.  There were three or four of us in close formation battling at the end and I managed another last minute overtake to grab 3rd place.

Me with the red scarf, above, and on the far right, below, dangerously close to the deep mud.

I was leading on points into the final (God only knows how) which meant that I got to line up first and chose my starting position.  Front row, right on the dry stuff.  I was pretty fucking nervous, my whole body was cramping up (especially from holding my left leg out with a heavy boot on) and I knew it was all in the start.  So the starting line went up, I dropped the clutch and had instant traction, no wheel spin, it just dug in and chugged off the line. 1000cc suzuki inline-four powered chops were spinning out behind me and I just jumped into the lead, cut straight into the corner, closed them off and then managed to hold pole the whole way.  It was glorious, transcendental riding, I was so zen I even managed to employ Drogo's keep-your-elbow-up tips and was forcing the bike down in the corners.  It wasn't seriously speedway sideways but the rear end was certainly squirming.  And I came first, by about half a lap.

Dimitri and Ben

Dimitri's race bike and my sausage finger.


New Davida helmet


Gracefully modeled grey Davida helmet was my prize

and I got a mean Dirt Quake trophy.


Thanks to Gary and Ben for putting on a truly memorable day!