Go Fast Speed Days
is a small seaside town about an hour south of London. It is mostly known has a retirement resort, and hosts a widely popular air show. Just outside of town lies the famous white chalk cliffs of Beachy Head.
The course started just up the road from Beachy Head Pub,
and higher up the hill than last year. A large ramp was built for the start.
Almost immediately at the bottom of the ramp was a slight left turn leading into a chicane. Exiting the chicane sets you up with the only difficult portion of the turn, a right hand hairpin. The hairpin leads into a left hand turn, that was almost as hard. A slight right at the exit leads you to the finish line. The road was repaved, and the finish line was at the end of the new pavement.
The bus was waiting for us at last years finish line, over a quarter of a mile down the road.
Thursday, September 11
I spent most of the day checking out a nearby castle.
Unfortunately most of the morning it was wet and drizzly. England has been pretty wet the last few weeks, and things don't seem like they will improve. I drove by the race site to see how things were going, and see who has shown up.
The construction of the ramp was underway, although it seemed far from finished.
After grabbing a drink at the pub a few of us headed into town for dinner.
Friday, September 12
People were allowed to camp on the grass in front of the pub,
and the pub served breakfast. I had breakfast at my hotel, and got up to the race in time to check in.
Sometime last night the front of the ramp was painted with the logo.
I think it was a little crooked, but it still looked pretty cool. As usual things were a little slow getting started, but we finally had a quick riders meeting.
We finally got underway.
The handle bars almost seemed like an afterthought. It doesn't look like they'll last through the weekend. The stairs to the ramp were quickly packed, as everyone tried to get inline.
Unfortunately the stairs were fairly steep, I almost got clocked in the head several times by the luge in front of me.
As we got ready to go, I noticed that there were a few cameras around.
quite a few media were on hand,
plus the BBC was doing a documentary.
With a smaller field than other World Cups, and a short half mile course, practice was moving along fairly quickly.
The morning started off fairly overcast, but the weather was improving.
If the weather holds up over the weekend, we should have a decent sized crowd.
Because of the late start, there was no lunch break. IGSA is also trying to move to two days of qualifying, with one qualifying run one day, and second run the next day. Even though Speed Days is a three day event, it will still follow this pattern. With standup qualifying running immediately after lunch, a few of the standup guys skipped the last practice run for lunch,
I took as many runs as possible, figured I'd have lunch while standup qualified. Lunch was provided by the Beachy Head Pub and was included in our entry fee.
Bangers and mash, how much more British can you get?
Standup was the first group to qualify.
A host of a British talk show (or kids show?) decide she was going to qualify.
I'm not exactly sure how Dean got to give her pointers, but she took her run and got a qualifying time! Unfortunately she had to take off to do a canoe shoot over the weekend, or something. Street luge qualified next. After each qualifying everyone else was allowed to free ride.
Classic qualified last, just in time for the BBC news.
The nightly news did a live broadcast with the riders riding behind the report.
After the live broadcast the dirt surfers took their qualifying run.
The Beachy Head Pub provided a special menu for the riders. Most of the riders packed into the pub for dinner. Unfortunately this meant it too a while for everyone to be served. After dinner, for the brave few was night riding!
The course had a few lights on it.
There was a light near the start line, but until the turn it wasn't well lit. I took off with Loic, and realized just dark it was. There was enough ambient light to see the center line, but that was about it. I figured I would follow the line, and not take the optimal line through the chicane. As I settled in I realized I couldn't see Loic in front of me. In fact about the only thing I could see was the white lines flashing by. As we neared the turn, the light at the turn would blind you for a second. But the turn itself was well lit. As you exited the turn we would enter the shadow of a hill. Entering the shadow was scary as it was pitch dark, and you knew that you were drifting wide towards the other side of the road. Once you made it through this section, you would turn the final corner heading towards the finish. There was a light at the finish line pointed up hill. This caused a wall of darkness right at the finish line. It was impossible to see through, you would shoot through this wall completely blind. It was dark from here to the pickup spot, with just the moon to light the way. It was one of the most terrifying yet exhilarating things I have done.
I got three runs in, when they decided to shut the night runs down. This will be interesting if they get a few more lights on the road next year.
Saturday, September 13
The morning started off incredibly beautiful.
There was barely a cloud in the sky, and not even a breeze.
Things got a late start again. We got in several practice runs in the morning.
that brought us back to the top, when drive up the road, then take the back way and meet us at the bottom. Some times though, we managed to get everyone down before the busses made it to the bottom!
At lunch time people checked out the results from the first round, before they prepared for the second qualifying run.
I took the last practice run, and managed to miss out on the free lunch. I walked down to the vendor at the corner, and picked up a cheeseburger.
It gave me a chance to check out the crowd,
as well as watch some of the qualifying.
A mini ramp was set up on the other side of the road.
I'm not exactly sure if this was just open to the general public, or if a group of kids were supposed to be keeping the crowd entertained. I heard that there was some issues with the kids trying to cross the roads at inopportune times. I listened to Tom
announce the qualifying for a bit before heading back to the top to get read for my runs.
I got a practice run in behind the last standup qualifying.
After our qualifying runs, a hand full of standup guys took advantage of the free rides.
The dirt surfers came down behind the classic lugers,
in order to try and get everything finished up early enough to give people a chance to prepare for the party.
I got to the party about a half hour late,
and things were already under way. We had a small bar, that had a small outdoor patio with a couple of tables,
so some people improvised.
They were cooking hamburgers and hot dogs. We had open bar, although I heard it didn't last too much longer. It was a good thing I grabbed to drinks when I made it to the bar. There was a short awards
ceremony for the top British qualifiers. Luge and Buttboard were the same.
Standup was led by Pete
(luge was also led by a Pete, coincidentally.) After the awards ceremony people started to leave the party, although a few partied until the bar closed at 1 AM.
Sunday, September 14
Race day started off as another beautiful day.
Norm, head of the Eastbourne Town Council ran out riders meeting.
Norm, Chris from Go Fast and Tom Worsely were instrumental in getting Go Fast Speed Days up and running. We started off with a few warmup runs.
Last year we shared the road with a large group of soap box derbies. I think they had a different race this weekend, but one group decided to come and run. They were shooting for a record. Their goal was 60 MPH, and they had to achieve it at an official event.
The car was designed and built by a high school class.
Street luge started off the racing. In my semi final run I was in fourth behind Wagner and Gilder. As we entered the turn, I had enough speed to overtake them, but it looked like they had tangled up and were going to slam into the wall. For me to pass them, I would be passing them about the time they rebounded from the wall. I slowed down to miss the wreck, when the two of them managed to untangle themselves and not wreck. The finish was close, but I didn't transfer. In the consolation I had a bad start, later someone told me that I had a late start. Not sure why I had a late start.
Classic ran second.
I was having trouble with the turn, I was generally carrying more speed into the turn than everyone else, but I was also catching them as we entered the turn. I always slowed down too much, I managed to make it through the turn ok, but just didn't have room after the turn to catch anyone, the course was just too short. After I got knocked off, I walked down to the corner to watch the rest of the racing.
There was a decent sized crowd at the corner.
I grabbed lunch and went high up on the hill.
The area is quite impressive, as the course is fairly visible from almost anywhere on the hill. The rolling countryside is quite beautiful,
and so is the view off the other side of the hill.
The hill can hold a much larger group of spectators. This race is quite a showcase for the sport.
Unfortunately, while the weather was relatively nice, especially for the time of year, and it wasn't rain, it was a little chilly. The racing ran late and people started to leave. Most people missed the standup finals.
The awards ceremony was held shortly after the racing was over. The awards were given away on top of the ramp, which looked good, but made it difficult to photograph.
Matland, Jaggard, Chapman
Bailey, Rulleau, Harrison
Serek, Labarthe, Zaccaro
Dean, Zaccaro, Wagner
Engstrand, Murgalo, Edwards
Smith, Connolly, Sanne
After the awards ceremony the winners were asked to autograph some jerseys.
Everyone else started to pack up and head home. I think most people wanted to try and make it home tonight, so there were only a hand full of us ending up at the pub for dinner.
Speed Days is an interesting event. The road itself isn't that challenging, we were hitting speeds in the low 50s with only one hard turn. This year the course was exactly half a mile. But the location is spectacular, with plenty of space for the spectators. It is only about an hour from London. With Go Fast behind the event, there was plenty of media. Footage of the event was shown on news broadcasts around the world.