Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Go Fast!

Over the years racing, I have got many “Be careful”s before swinging my leg over a bike and heading out onto a track. Being careful goes without saying on a race track. The primary objective is to NOT get it wrong, to NOT fall off and NOT get hurt. Especially around one of the most unforgiving tracks in the world - the TT Mountain Course. Although I have a strong sense of self preservation, I am out there on track to push to the limit. To the limits of the machine and to my own limits. This is what the competition brings out. This is why we race. It’s quite a personal thing.

TT Legend - Dave Jefferies

As a result, I will always give encouragement and say to fellow competitors before a race “ Have a good one”… and if I wasn’t out there with them on track I’d normally add: “Go fast!”. This is what we are trying to do out there… have a good one and go fast.

TT Legend: Joey Dunlop

Robery Dunlop
During my nine campaigns on the Isle of Man since 2005, losing fellow competitors and race buddies to the TT Mountain Course is a reality. We, as riders, all know the dangers. We’ve all been affected by the loss of fellow competitors and friends. I had often thought; What if I encouraged a mate to “Go Fast” and then they landed up going flat out on the big race track in the sky?

 Simon Andrews

Martin Finnegan
Richard Britton

As per my last post, David Taylor, an Isle of Man race buddy of mine was killed in September while competing in the Manx Grand Prix. David was a seasoned veteran of the TT Mountain Course, having competed since 1996. Due to other commitments, David wasn’t at the Manx in 2013 and 2014 but was back this year to ride the most incredible race track on the planet.

Together with other friends competing at this year’s Classic TT/Manx GP, I followed David’s progress through his online FB updates and timesheets every night of practice. He was struggling for his usual pace in the beginning of practice week through the trying conditions that all competitors on the Isle going through. Maybe he was a bit rusty after two years away. But... by the final practice he was a lot faster and getting to where he wanted to be.

On the Thursday night before the Senior race, he posted this on FaceBook:

“All prepped and ready for tomorrows Senior Manx GP. Weather forecast looks OK so fingers crossed for a good run - let the madness commence :-)”.

I hit the ‘like’ button and replied: “Have a good one Dood... GO FAST!!!”. On Friday morning before the race, David hit the ‘like’ button on my comment.

A few hours later, David crashed out of the Manx Grand Prix Senior race on the last lap at Brandywell up on the Mountain section. On Saturday evening, David passed away from his injuries.

Race face...

David sets off on his last race

David going fast!

Now it’s happened. I’ve had time to reflect.

David was out there doing what he loved. I believe that I helped in a tiny way to add to the courage needed to take on the most fearsome, dangerous and awesome race track in the world. He was going to do it anyway. When I am encouraged, I feel stronger and as a result am more confident and focussed… less likely to hesitate and make a costly error. I can only assume it is the same for everyone.

I feel fine about it.

So, to my good buddy David, and all who are out there challenging themselves and taking it to the limit on the race tracks of the world... and above: Have a good one… and Go Fast!. 

"Have a good one Dood... GO FAST!!!"

1 comment:

  1. Very well said! It is an encouragement that is very hard to put into words and almost impossible to make understandable to those who have not experienced the thrill and pure joy of living so full. The more I think about why some people choose to live what most call a "reckless" or "selfish" lifestyle the more I conclude that life is short no matter how long you live so we should cram in as much good into every moment. When I lost my riding partner at the hill this year I can only think about how much he was enjoying himself that morning. The last conversation I had with him was about how I could sometimes take the corner he lost his life on flat out with out chopping the throttle on my 450. Whether my words were in his head as he took that corner or not are not something I should worry about. Living my life as full of quality and with as little fear as possible is what I feel I should worry about.
    Have a good one and go fast Paul!
    After all, it is the ride that is the destination :)