Finally made it to my first round of 2023, and a really enjoyable day amongst my heroes in the pits, although my track return was infinitely forgettable. However my personal highlight was meeting up with great friend and rival, the very unfotunate Phil Hemming, today's Guest of Honour who presented the trophies. Illness forced Phil's retirement from racing a while back and I miss him a lot, on and off the track.
Our hosts Albert Bentley and my old mate Bob Prince and their compact team of helpers had the place looking fit for a coronation. Recent wet weather had made the inside metre-or-so of the track soft and subject to lifting, which did cause a few tensed buttocks, but the brilliant sunshine, slight breeze and a bit of brush work made it much drier, and grippier, come Final time.
Unfortunately I forgot to bring my 1936 toytown wind-up videotape recorder and as usual my recollections of most races are now rapidly fading, nothing new there. However there were some standout encounters across all FIVE classes, one in particular, potentially having a massive influence on the final results. Principally though I think today's highlight was provided by our Women racers Final which had the whole place lit, such were the frantic pursuits going on up front and especially behind the lead pair with passing and re-passing. Great to watch (that's from someone who does NOT like watching CS!).
Once again two riders claimed overall success at the end of proceedings, with the amazing Lukasz Nowacki and Phil Gard capturing all four Men's "A" Finals between them.
Not for the first time I must heap praise on our long-distance and now very regular travellers, from the amazing Exeter CSC, our friends from Norfolk and Newport and as ever, though a bit closer to today's action, the Leicester Monarchs crew.
Well done East Park, a great job today boys and girls. Still to come - some embellishment with the odd photie from the ever watchful lens of Andy Whitehouse.
***as always I appreciate any corrections you might offer if you spot any false news 🤑