Go Fast Speed Days
Eastbourne is a quiet seaside resort on the southern coast of England.
The beach is lined with hotels.
The town has its own pier and a very rocky beach.
Just to the west of the town is world famous Beachy Head. Beach Head has the largest concentration of suicides in the country,
and is manned by a crew of chaplains.
Beachy Head is a chalk cliff rising 162 meters above the ocean. Not far from the top of the cliff is the Beachy Head Pub.
A bit downhill from the pub is the start of the course. The course starts at a small car park with a gentle left hand sweeper. The road starts to dive and speeds pick up,
as it passes through another small car park and heads into a right hand hairpin.
After exiting the hairpin there is about 20 meters
to set up for the left turn.
This turn isn't really a hairpin, but it is more than a ninety degree turn. The turn ends with a slight turn to the right. From here to the finish is a very long left hand sweeper.
Friday, August 31
I got to Eastbourne a bit early, I figured I would spend some time on the beach, catch some rays. The sun was cooperating, and instead I went and visited a nearby 2000 year old castle.
On the way back into town I passed a banner.
It wasn't as nice as the banners that were in town though.
I wanted to check out the road, and see who was in town, so I went up to the course late in the afternoon. I knew there wasn't going to be tech tonight, so I left my equipment at the hotel. I got up to the course and discovered a half dozen people were riding!
A news crew had shown up and wanted to get some action shots.
And since they had the road closed for the evening, they ran a few runs for the camera, then a few more for fun. Meanwhile Tom was still building the ramp at the top.
I tried to get a few pictures, but it was getting late and there wasn't much light left.
was right next to the Beachy Head Pub. There were some public restrooms available and a large grassy field. After grabbing dinner in town, I went back to the pub, figured that is were everyone would be hanging out. About 10 minutes after I showed up, they kicked us out. The pub was closing at only 11:00!
Saturday, September 1
We started with registration early in the morning.
After everyone got their Go Fast Jet Pack bibs
we had a short riders meeting.
Tom emceed the meeting from the drop in ramp. The ramp was built, in hopes of improving the speed. The ramp looks too short for luge,
and a bit steep for buttboard, but we'll see.
As usual we stood around for a bit,
waiting to get started. Our pit area was a small parking lot on the side of the road, with a trail head to the top of the cliff.
Looks like we will be sharing the race with some "soap box" derby style cars.
I heard that the government is starting a soap box program with schools across the country.
A few people believe that the soap box races will be popular in a few years.
I don't think this one qualified as a gravity vehicle.
We will run practice in the morning, and qualifying in the afternoon. The road is real rough, looks like it was chip sealed, but the speeds are low and you don't need to break in the turns.
We used a city bus as our chase vehicle.
It had to drive a ways down the road to turn around. Yorck ran tech inspection during practice.
Since standup qualifying was going to be first, I figured I'd wait until later. We got in several practice runs before breaking for lunch. I was starving, but it looked like the only place to get real food was the pub.
The pub is fairly large, and was completely packed. Apparently it is a popular weekend getaway.
After lunch we got another practice run as they tested the timing system
Standup started qualifying. It wasn't raining yet, but it was threatening to rain at any moment, so they were trying to get standup done. I took the opportunity to walk down the course, and watch qualifying. There weren't very many spectators,
I am hoping due to the weather. With the rolling hills, the site is great for spectators. You could easily get 10,000 around the turn. I saw a few of the soap boxes come down the course. This isn't the fastest course, we were barely hitting 40 mph. But the cars looked incredibly slow.
Just before the two turns was a small parking lot. The lot was turned into vendors row.
There were a couple of food vendors and a couple of other vendors, including Go Fast's booth,
displaying a Speed Days skateboard.
I watched a few of the skateboarders, but it wasn't long before I had to head to the top for buttboard qualifying. On my way, I wandered by the cliffs.
The edge of the cliff was about 100 yards from the course.
The lighthouse was not far from turns.
Street luge was next.
I didn't have a good run, still tapping in the first turn. The timing at the bottom was a fairly nice set up. There a timing clock,
a timing booth
as well as a photo finish camera!
Buttboard finished up qualifying.
Apparently the road we were using has road turtles
running its length. The city had them removed for our race!
They did a great job of removing them. I didn't even realize that they used to be there until I spotted a warning at the bottom.
Qualifying was over, time to get ready for Saturday night's party. Go Fast was hosting a party for us at Bolton's
We had free drinks, as long as the drinks had Go Fast in them, as well as chicken and hamburgers.
I walked from my hotel to the bar, but I wish I had skateboarded.
Once again we got kicked out at 11:30, they had to close early!
Sunday, September 2
Today is race day, but the weather hasn't improved any. It doesn't look like it will rain, but it was very windy.
Buttboarding started racing.
I had a good run and made it into the finals. I was pretty excited and just wanted to podium. I got a good start and was in second entering the first turn, but got passed and was in last place. But I got behind the third place and drafted him. I was in third and happy, I would podium. But I was getting closer to second and pass him to take second place! Serek was out in first, and as I took over second position I realzied I had a chance to catch him. I was drafting him towards the bottom, and as the finish line was approaching I tried for the pass. I got him just as we hit the finish line. He beat me by about 4 feet! But I took second!
Eimer, who was the race director wanted to try something new. So next up we ran part of the standup race.
About half of the standup race was run.
The wind wasn't dying down though.
We also did practice runs behind the standup heats. There has to be a better way to watch the video.
After the standup was about half way finished, it was time for street luge.
I managed to make it into the semis, but just edging out Eugen. I came from behind to catch him at the end, by inches. I think I left the draft too soon though.
In my semi heat I got a bad start and was in the wrong place entering the first turn, I had to burn off too much speed to avoid a collision, and didn't make it into the finals. In my consolation heat, I was the last place qualifier, so I had the worst position. I wasn't getting good pushes in, couple with a bad start I started in last place. But coming through the turns I second and third were battling it out side by side, giving me a large wall to draft behind. I flew by them like they were standing still. Will was WAY out in front, and I managed to track him down and pass him at the finish line, by inches. I beat him by 2 hundredths of a second! But we weren't the closest photo finish.
The photo finish camera was pretty cool. But it was in black and white, so we had to put these large numbers on our helmet. We also looked pretty squished due to the way the camera worked. De Wit was racing well all weekend and took the win.
I was starving. I ran back to my car to get out of my leathers, and to pick up a bite to eat from the snack bar at the pub. Unfortunately the pub was out of hot dogs. I thought maybe I could grab some fries (err chips) from one of the vendors. And then I can always watch the last couple rounds of standup.
I got down to the turns, and the vendor was out of food! So I joined the other riders
to watch the rest of the race.
The girls also ran their own race.
We were still allowed to practice after each heat,
although most of us that weren't racing were on the hill watching.
The spectator turnout was a little disappointing. They had "expected" 20,000 spectators. We probably had a couple of thousand over the two days, although when I was down there it seemed like half the spectators were other riders. Of course the weather wasn't the most spectacular, and the advertisement in town was less than stellar.
The award ceremony was held almost immediately, and the wind was still blowing hard. .
Round, Richards, Lambie
Jaggard, Gemperle, Stephenson
Serek, McBride, Tournissac (no he isn't holding onto the check!)
De Wit, Weber, Tournissac
Hodel, Fluck, Gemperle
Lundberg, Lins, Haller
The award was a small podium, with first place getting a check for £150. Third place got a case of Go Fast. Second place got a skateboard.
The race was over and most people were in a hurry to try and get home.
A few of us hung out in Eastbourne to take off tomorrow.
Speed Days was a very fun little race, although the course was slow and not technical. The countryside was gorgeous and is a great place to hold a race.
The rolling hills and green grass make it a great place for spectators. It is too bad that the weather wasn't cooperating as I think more spectators would guarantee the race would return next year. I was also a little surprised that the town wasn't plastered with posters. I saw a couple of banners and a poster in the tourist office.
I don't think anyone got injured.