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December 2019 Club News

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Looking from the Other Side

By Marshal Steve Collins Pics by Andrew, Steve, John and Drew

Steve riding down the hill.
Firstly, congratulations to all the club for the very impressive bike display and well-organised poker run on the Saturday, great job all round. Sunday it was the Hillclimb, and I must admit it was a strange start to my day seeing John Davis at five in the morning, heíd stayed overnight at my place. After that
shock I knew things could only get better. We headed off to Middleton Beach to help with setting up, all was well on the way with scaffolding being erected, the time keepersí cable being run out and the fences up.

Waiting for Steve to go down the hill: Graeme Woolcock and Tim Hesford.
Before long the entrants were setting up in their designated places. Loose Bruce was there and in fine form making sure everyone was in their right spots. Then it was time for breakfast, cooked by the gorgeous
pit girls, Trudy, Raelene, Antoinet and Petra, they were calling us over for egg and bacon rolls, what more could you wish for! By seven we called the entrants over to give them a safety talk and rules run-down.

Steve telling 'em.
As you know I speak better after a few beers but I got my point over and everyone seemed to understand. After one sighting lap and two timed practice runs everyone was ready to start at 8:30.

Ambulance at the ready.
The ambulances and firemen were all in place, and timekeepers ready.

Bernie flying up the hill.
I checked the track, letís go, the flag was dropped and up came the first two riders. Then some wood duck on a pushbike flew past me heading towards the bikes coming up! I screamed at him to stop but he kept going. Chester in the time trailer shouted some words Iíve never heard before trying to make him stop! The cyclist kept going!

Bill on his Manx Norton.
We couldnít stop the bikes, theyíd already left, my heart was in my mouth, and then the bikes arrived, phew what a relief! Turns out the firemen got the cyclist off the road at their safety point. Some people are just so stupid, ignoring all the safety signs, road closure, barriers, flashing lights, marshals. What was he thinking?

Not a bad spot to wait to go down the hill.
Thankfully everything ran smoothly after that until lunch time. Chester and his team were exhausted pressing their stop-watches and passing me a piece of paper. Meanwhile I was chasing up and down the hill clearing the track, checking on everything. On my way down I passed on Chesterís message to the firemen
ambulance crew that we were stopping for lunch.

When I got to the bottom there were bikes lined up on the start-line ready to go! Bruce said ďNo-one told me about lunchĒ oops! So, I explained that the time keepers were shattered and couldnít continue without lunch. Bruce eventually agreed. It turned out that stopping then was a good call, because it rained for that half hour! It messed up the times for the first lot of riders on a wet track, but it's not all about winning!

Two riders on 1978 bikes from Suzuki and Yamaha.
I am always amazed at the speeds the really old bikes get to, their times arenít much under the newer bikes and the ridersí ages donít seem to be a hindrance. I really enjoyed chatting to the riders at the top of the hill while I was holding them for the end of the run. I really love hearing their stories of their racing days and breakdowns.

The only time I messed up was the last run when I came down on my trusty Trident and found there were no gorgeous pit girls waiting for me to take my time sheet. I could see them chatting away, luckily my lovely Chrissy was nearby and I gave her the time sheet to pass on, but in my excitement, I forgot to take an empty time sheet up with me.

Raelene got a radio message sent to me and back down I went, whoops, much to the laughter of the timekeepers. Next year Iíll use my Ariel Leader, thatíll keep everyone amused.

I would like to thank everyone in the club for putting on such a great event, and especially Bob Whittingstall who did a really great job organising it. Letís look forward to next yearís Hillclimb!

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