Guess Who Came For Dinner?

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Guess Who Came For Dinner?

Post by Henrik on Mon Jun 17 2013, 14:22

We had an absolutely fabulous weekend, full of two-wheel events and meetings. There was obviously the MotoGP in Barcelona, but even though Vale had been showing some promising times on the Friday, the race ended up being pretty much the same as the rest of the races this season. 

Saturday started out great, as the summer weather has finally decided to join us. It was fairly warm, but quite some clouds in the sky. Not very menacing though and more like some morning fog clouds that were bound to dissolve as the sun began to shine. I got the bicycle out, and started up the mountain road that goes up just behind our house.

I have mentioned this road in the past, and it is famous around here especially amongst motorcyclists. It is a magnificent succession of pretty tight corners, rising fairly rapidly, and with a well maintained surface. A real challenge for any motorcyclist and the source of sheer exhilaration as you tilt from corner to corner trying to get that perfect flowing line. Well today I took out my bicycle instead, since the road is blocked of a couple of hundred meters up behind our place for the bi-annual Retro Moto de St Cergue. This is a fabulous event for anybody who loves motorcycles, especially older racing bikes. It takes place every other year, and sees some 250 riders go up the road in succession on bikes ranging from the 20’s to some pretty modern MotoGP bikes. The majority are racing bikes from the 60’s and 70’s though.

They run the ascent a number of times during the day, and this year because of the perfect weather they ended up doing something like nine or ten ascents, although only four were originally scheduled. I cycled up to the start line around 8 in the morning as I was hoping to catch up with a friend who was to ride a Honda CR750 Daytona replica. I also wanted to get to see some of the legends who were to be present such as Freddie Spencer, Phil Read, Christian Sarron. Troy Corser was also there, being the first to go up on a modern BMW 1000RR. 

Well, I only managed to see them from a bit of a distance, because there is no paddock at the bottom of the hill. Instead they all come down the hill slowly some fifteen minutes before they take off for the ascent, and gather in a huge and very noisy bunch at the bottom. It was seriously loud; especially some of the roaring MV Agustas and the screaming little two stroke Kreidlers and other Yamahas. I couldn’t help but having the thought “the hills come alive with the sounds of engines”! I should say that it is not a race as such since the ascents are not timed, but how do you get a racer to not go flat out?

So, after they had all gone back up, I took off to home to pick up Greg and drive to the top so we could get in to the paddock. Walking from the car park (yes, we took the Mini cabriolet up instead of my bike…) there was an amazing collection of bikes as many of the bike enthusiasts of the area had gathered for this meet. Often on weekends bikers do meet up here for a coffee and a chat, but today it really was something else! Getting in to the paddock, we quickly found our friend, who was at the time chatting with Phil Read. Well, we sort of joined in the conversation, and also had a chance to meet his girlfriend Wendy. Pretty soon we suggested that they come over to our place on Sunday afternoon for a swim in the pool and a BBQ afterwards. I figured that was not going to happen, but then you never know…

As it happens, by the time we got home, I got a message from my friend saying that Phil and Wendy would love to come over, and he gave me Phil’s number to call up and set the time. So there I was, calling up 8 times World Champion Phil Read on his mobile phone!

They showed up yesterday afternoon as planned, and we just had the best of times! Chatting about a bit of everything, and obviously motorcycle racing, with a living legend is just not something you get to do every day!! Now we have made some new friends that we can look forward to meeting up with again in the future at some race track. 

That was quite a weekend…

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Henrik
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Re: Guess Who Came For Dinner?

Post by da silva on Mon Jun 17 2013, 22:32

Very cool! Seriously jealous. shamusmile
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Re: Guess Who Came For Dinner?

Post by PLAYLIFE on Sun Jul 07 2013, 04:12

Wow, what a story!

I vividly remember one of my dad's photos from Spa in the early 60s, Phil Read on a Gilera. He was one of my dad's favourites, I'll have to tell him this story!
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