Spectator-Friendly Spills Abound On Tight, Tough Indoor Racing Circuit.
Hi, Wheel! (All photos for this piece are courtesy of Liz Seabrook.)
The Brooks England team was visible at the The London Bike Show earlier this month in various capacities. Aside from manning our own stand for the duration of the event, we were also on board with our good friends from the IG London Nocturne who were hosting a series of races over the weekend.
For the past few years we have been enthusiastic sponsors of one of the Nocturne’s most popular spectacles, The Brooks Penny Farthing Race. Smithfield Market is a superb outdoor location for the event which attracts thousands of visitors each summer, and we were delighted to answer the call again upon being informed that an indoor track had been constructed for a Nocturne racing event at the London Bike Show.
The roster of events mirrored that of recent Nocturne instalments, with Brompton enthusiasts, Juveniles, and Elite teams taking to the track in search of glory.
The tight corners and fast surface of the course caused predictable challenges for racers in all categories, but perhaps most obviously for those straddling antique machinery with a tendency towards wobbliness at the best of times. And no conventional brakes.
After an opening five laps, our Penny Farthing riders had twenty minutes to clock up as many more laps as possible in a race where the big keys to success are moving along at a good clip while managing to avoid any big crashes.
It was Richard Thoday who was ultimately proved to have the best mix of speed, luck and carefulness.
About ten minutes in, he found himself one half of what looked like a two-man race for victory with Joff Summerfield, and when Summerfield became unluckily involved in a nasty three man pile-up which catapulted him from his saddle, bookmakers trackside immediately shortened Thoday’s price to a prohibitive 1/33.
Sportingly (and worryingly for the bookies), Richard did slow up to establish whether Summerfield might be in a position to continue racing, but closer inspection of the bike revealed damage that required more than just a quck blitz of cable ties and gaffer tape to set right.
Frenchman Alexandre Voisine who had made the trip from across the Channel thus found himself in second, and managed to hold this position till the finish, with Peter Semler rounding out our podium. All in all, the series of race events proved a fine diversion to the main business of the London Bike Show. We look forward to being of assistance again next year.
And in the nearer future this coming June, it will be interesting to see if Peter, Alex and Richard have maintained their strong form when we take things outdoors again for more High Wheeled Mayhem during the 2013 London Nocturne at Smithfield.