Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The greatest road trip

First of all sorry for the delay in writing this . . .  I don’t know if I’m coming or going at the moment.   Everything just seems to be flat out!    One thing I do know however, is that in years to come when my Hot Rod racing is a long forgotten thing of the past I’ll look back at the Easter of 2012 safe in the knowledge that it was one of the best and easily one of the funniest weekends of my life!

This is one of those entries where I don’t know where to start.   There is so much to say, so the best place is at the beginning and the annual Good Friday meeting at Northampton.   Ever since I’ve been racing a National, Northampton has been my problem track but I’m pleased to say I have finally managed a race there that I’m actually happy with.  The first two heats went well with me picking up a 7th and an 11th, but it was the final where it all seemed to come together.   Starting on the outside of row three I managed to move up into second place pretty early on and stay there till the end - a couple more laps and Paff would have been round and away though.   Although Steve Burrows won by a mile I was still pleased with second, had picked up points all day and finally managed to overtake some cars around the outside.   It was a great meeting and I think literally all my friends were there so it was great to catch up with everyone.    However, once the car was back in the trailer the fun really began!

I headed straight from the track up to Scotland with John for a few days of Lightning Rod action.   I do love my trips north of the border and have made some great friends; the only problem is the 400 or so mile trip to get there.   Luckily with four of us in the car having a laugh the trip flew by and we were back at John’s, beer in hand, before we even knew it.   Before heading off for some much deserved sleep we managed to build a track round the living room floor and were racing a little kiddie’s bike around it.  Boys will be boys I suppose. . . . .

John and I had some things to sort out on the Saturday before loading the Lightning Rod on the trailer and heading off to Cowdenbeath for the first of his weekend’s meetings.   Although I have never actually raced there myself, I love the Racewall:  the atmosphere is completely different to any other track I’ve ever been to and everyone just seems to be there because they love Stock Car racing.  I will race there soon myself!   The first race turned out to be John’s worst all weekend with a gearbox plug coming out leaving him with gear oil leaking all over the place.   After a quality repair with a bit of sawn-off branch and some silicone it was soon sealed, leaving him to take a win and second in the final.

Saturday night saw us heading out to celebrate our friend, Saloon Stock driver and overall legend, Kyle Hegg’s birthday.   It was a quality night, a personal highlight for me being Hegg, Ashalee and Karen doing karaoke - my ears however didn’t agree quite so much.

Sunday morning saw us back at John’s workshop getting the car ready for the afternoon at Lochgelly. Things always seem so much worse with a hangover, and the thought of changing a Sierra diff really wasn’t that appealing to me if I’m honest.   But it was soon done and the car on the trailer again.

With this being my third trip to Lochgelly this year I have started to notice something about the place, no matter how cold it is anywhere else in the country it’s 5 degrees colder in the pits there - it is always absolutely freezing!   With only four Lightning Rods racing it was decided they would be given two races with John absolutely flying away with both of them, showing us some very impressive sideways driving on a very slippery track.   Not really being a fan of actually watching racing it’s probably surprising to hear me say this but I always really enjoy watching the Scottish Ministox, they are all absolutely mental and the racing is brilliant.  It almost makes me wish I was 14 again!

After a few hours resting we set off around midnight and headed to Northampton for John’s last meeting of the weekend.    We took a quick trip into Glasgow to get the main man Richard and then drove through the night to miss all the traffic and get to the track nice and early.   With six of us in the van that trip could very easily be a blog on its own.    It’s the best road trip I’ve ever been on and undoubtedly one of the ‘best nights of the year’, too.   I honestly don’t think I have ever laughed as much in my life, and I’ll certainly never look at Glenn’s vodka the same way again!   I definitely think what happened in the van should stay in the van though guys, especially a certain new saying....

Northampton was a complete contrast weather-wise to three days earlier, the sunshine being replaced by rain, and being a fair weather fan I hid in the van with Ashalee and Richard - only venturing out to watch John race.   He was flying again with a 3rd in the first race and two more top ten finishes in the other two.  The rain couldn’t detract from what was a brilliant weekend and although I was stupidly tired and feeling generally sorry for myself I still loved every minute.   I was sad to see the van drive away bound for Scotland once more leaving me standing at the gate getting soaked!   I wasn’t so sorry two hours later when I was in bed and they still had five hours travelling ahead of them!

After a weekend of fishing and relaxing last weekend, it’s well and truly back to the real world now, getting the car ready for Aldershot this weekend.   Things are still looking extremely tight and I’m sure it’s going to be an exciting end to the season for everyone.   I look forward to seeing you all there.

Thanks as ever for reading.

Until next time.


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