My 100th Blog. A once in a lifetime evening.
100 blogs; blimey, who would have thought?
A few weeks ago, I was persuaded / coerced into to signing up for the Motorrad track night at Knockhill. They were also doing ‘Dirty Demos’ off road, I bet that was lots of fun, however, out the question for me. Being 5’4″ short means that having a play on the big boys’ toys was just out the question. Ed had fun though, by all accounts. Splattered with mud, sweaty and a big grin plastered on his face. Job done. A safety briefing and on with the gear. It was starting to drizzle, however, nothing like the rain I rode through to get to Knockhill.
I would like to thank the folk that didn’t turn up tonight. I felt for David, the organiser, it was so disappointing for Motorrad that so many people opted to stay in their dry, cosy living room, watching re-runs of BSB, when they could have been gaining experience riding a track in the rain. It’s sad that it cost Motorrad a great deal of money, and people just didn’t turn up. Oh well, unlucky, your loss was certainly my gain.
Why have I called this blog ‘once in a lifetime’? It’s simple really, I will never, ever have another evening like this one. How often can anyone say they spent 2 hours on Knockhill and virtually had the entire track to themselves? I can. I did. It was fantastic. Don’t get me wrong, there were another 8 people there, however, not all were on track, some were throwing themselves into the mud off road. I was just happy getting wet.
Most of the laps I had were completely and utterly on my own. My occasional bubble was burst with David and Ed whooshing passed me at break neck speeds, seeming to have a ball. Wee Smoggy did me proud though, singing the evening away in 2nd and 3rd gear.
Through this winter, I have been working on my riding in the rain and generally skittery conditions. My mentor has been giving me numerous techniques to work on, and tonight was the ideal opportunity to put them to the test. I was working on moving my body more for the corner, head in line with the mirror, it’s been a good practice session tonight. How well I was doing, I have no idea. What I do know it my ride home in the rain tonight was much more fluid. All this practice in the rain has been worth it.
I can feel it tonight, I am aching a bit. My neck is sore, probably from constantly seeking the next target cone in the distance. I worked hard at that too. All in all I couldn’t be happier. Don’t get me wrong, I could have gone faster, however, I was happy as I was. I had one truly magnificent tank slapping, butt clenching moment (don’t tell my Mum). Coming up to the first corner, I did everything wrong. Well, not quite everything, I didn’t land in the kitty litter. Phew. Brake, brake, gear change, into corner….. power on. Nah. Don’t try to do it all at once, Fi. Idiot. That was a bit of a moment. A wee bit of a back tyre twitch in the hairpin, was the only other dodgy bit. Maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough. Hey, it was raining.
In the 2 hour session, I had 3 wee 5 minute breaks. Note to self, must drink more water the next time. My two mugs of tea haven’t quite been enough. Slightly dehydrated.
There was one guy there. White leathers, white bike, all stickered up. He looked the part; paddock stands front and back, tyre warmers, the lot. He certainly had all the gear. I spoke to him at the beginning of the session, and said to him, “Hey, you look really organised.” He didn’t look very happy, he said, “Yeah, but it’s raining.” No shit. Get yer posing ass out there on the track. So he did. at about 7.30pm, with half an hour to go. I think he did a couple of laps, nearly wiped himself out undertaking someone, when, frankly he shouldn’t have. I don’t think he listened in the safety briefing. He should have been a bit more patient. That was the busiest time on the track, rain at its heaviest. He could have collected a couple of bikes. Shortly thereafter, he seemed to disappear. You can see his bike in the picture, behind a panting and smelly, Smoggy.
What truly stunned me, was how many people just didn’t feel comfortable riding in the rain. Even though there were very few people on track, they still didn’t make the most of what I see is a perfect opportunity. The only thing I could have done with, was some guidance tonight. David did give me a tip, “Stop doing everything so IAM!” OK, then. I did get a thumbs up later on. I might not have been the quickest, but I was determined to make the most of it.
What an educational evening. It was just ace. It seems we used a substantial amount of petrol too. Both of us needed to fuel on the way home, so went home via Stirling to guarantee a petrol station. It lashed with rain on the way home, however, I was content. I’d had a memorable evening. Just spot on. Looking forward to the IAM Skills Evening. Lots. Even if it rains, I can’t wait.