Thursday, 12 June 2008
Last weekend I immersed myself in the awe-inspiring world of flat track racing. Having seen some racing on 1/4 mile speedway tracks it seemed wise to slope off to South Wales and enjoy the spectacle laid out on a full 1/2 mile oval. This facility was purpose built for the equally hairy sport of trotting, is blessed with fancy new floodlighting and enables us to witness full ton-up dirt racing as has been keeping our friends in The States on the edge of their seats for years. Interestingly enough, the track layout used on Saturday left a little to be desired because as darkness fell it became apparent that chucking the bikes sideways at 90-odd miles an hour into turn one would have to be done blind - didn't seem to put anybody off much. Having spent the day in the pits and pointing inquisitively at patches of oil and broken bits of motor cycle I came away with the fuse lit - this has to be what motor sport is about. Quite apart from anything else, flat track bikes really do epitomise bike style, this is what proper motorbikes ought to look like - the Dutch Brothers' Harley XR pictured here says it all really.
I was particularly struck by the way a bunch of the most approachable interesting and friendly people you could wish to meet hurl themselves, at the drop of a flag, into five minutes of the most violent, bone shaking, grit chewing, spleen wrenching and down-right terrifying maelstrom - as would a quiet infantryman going "over the top" at the Somme. This adrenalin fueled frenzy is followed by a few minutes recuperation in the pits, an opportunity to evacuate the mud and grit from mouth, nose, & ears, rip through a Marlboro or two and, in the case of our pit neighbour, bandage a swollen knee and fettle a new footrest from a lump of wood and some gaffer tape.
I include the pic of the blood waggon in honour of poor Johnners who spent most of the night in a Swansea hospital, he's now had steel-work installed in his knee and is off games until further notice. MORE SPEED.