This coming Saturday, I've organised a Cycle Speedway day at Astley and Tyldesley cycle speedway club. They're letting me have the track for the day and organising an afternoon of racing. It's not for the mag, just for fun. In order to race less (it's hard work!) it's in my interest to get a few more riders along, so if anyone is free Saturday afternoon and fancies some cycle speedway racing for a laugh, then come along...
If you don't know what cycle speedway is, it's an odd form of bike racing, held on a short (80m or so), flat, cinder track. Bikes are a little like track bikes, but with sit up and beg handlebars, a single freewheel - oh, and no brakes whatsoever... The idea is to race round this track four times and the winner is the first over the line. A lap is only about ten seconds, so a race is over in under a minute. It's not necessarily about flat out speed either as if you go too fast, then you won't make the next corner (no brakes, remember?) - and I've been soundly beaten in the past by a 12 year old and a pensioner, just due to them racing strategically (i.e. always being where the rest of us wanted to be...)
Here's a video of people doing it well:
Our friends at the Astley and Tyldesley cycle speedway are letting me hire their track for the day. They'll let us have the whole place, with staff and bike rental for a fiver a head.
http://www.astleycyclespeedway.org.uk/ - it's kind of near the M6/M62 junction. It's that little oval on this map.
I've done it a couple of times and it's very, very fun, with huge heckling potential. With enough people there, you can mix it up so you get a good rest too. The day is not about the racing or who's the fastest. It's going to be about having a laugh and getting a bit elbows-out drifty for fun.
The club will get the flags out, the proper 'knicker-elastic' start gate, stripy shirted referees and there will be a catering/burger place there too. They're going to arrange the whole day so that everyone gets lots of chances to race. Spectators, non-racers and hecklers are also welcome.
And now for a crash video... Make sure you wear long sleeves, long trousers and gloves or you won't be able to race. There is a bit of crash potential, but most of them are merely funny, rather than painful.
As I said, bikes will be provided, you just need to turn up in fully covering gear - so tights/sweatpants and a sweatshirt and long finger gloves and a helmet. Old skate shoes/trainers are the thing to wear on your feet. If you want to wear cycling knee/shin pads, you can too.
It'll be a day of racing, but more like 1pm - 4pm. There's a very subsidised Miners' Welfare Club next door with super cheap beer to make a proper afternoon of it.
Let me know if you fancy coming along and we'll save you a place. Ex-cycle speedway champs not allowed, we need more numpties racing to make me look less crap...