Milton Keynes Bowl, May 12th 2001
by Rob Hague
Travelling to Milton Keynes by train with the GLR was rather an adventure. The first train was running half an hour late when I caught it and was running over an hour late by the time I got off. This meant I'd missed my connection... This is the UK rail system in the 21st century.... But I got to Milton Keynes on Friday evening and found my overnight accommodation easily.
A strange town... the land of dual carriageways and roundabouts. My directions from the bed-and-breakfast was to go straight on and turn right at the 6th roundabout... Hmmm... I think navigating to Eastway was easier...
So race day was bright and warm. Really warm. Finding the first few arrivals unpacking their vehicles I was comforted that I'd arrived in the right place and in plenty of time. As race time approached the number of attendees increased dramatically. By kickoff there were over 40 riders!
To my surprise I was entered in the 2nd race, the 'fast' race. Having usually ridden with the slower riders it was rather a privilege to race with the faster riders and the fully faired machines. Having drunk the 2 litre contents of my camelbak whilst watching the first heat I made sure to get a refill before the start.
The race course descended gently from the start line through a pair of corners to the open stretch of the track. Here the faired machines became noticeably faster than the other machines. After the fast level section the track climbed gently. On the first lap or two this wasn't too bad but it gradually became more tiring as the race proceeded. After a left hand turn through a wide gate the track topped out and began the descent back down to the start line. This took in the most exciting section of the track - a gentle downward slope following through a 90 degree bend before dropping back down to the start line.
As I gained confidence during the race I began taking this tight bend faster and following the line of some of the bikes. The GLR, being an extremely low trike, kept all three wheels on the ground but I felt the need to lean hard into the corner in order to limit the slide. I finally built up to taking this corner at 23mph in a full three wheel slide. The 'g' in the turn was amazing. The tyres were sliding and fighting for grip and yet all three wheels remained level and in contact with the ground.
Having been warned that Milton Keynes was a 'boring' circuit I completely enjoyed the day. The opportunity to push the GLR all the way to the edge of its envelope was excellent. To clock my highest average race speed to date was a bonus. And still Bob Knight is faster! Well done Bob, and many thanks to the BHPC crowd for organising the event.