On Yer Bike: With Cregor Elliot!
July 1, 2012 by Cregor
My Mondello weekend starts on Saturday afternoon when I head down to have a look at testing in the afternoon, support the Formula Sheane sponsored walk for the Make A Wish Foundation that was being held that evening, and to shoot the first real racetrack for the ‘On Yer Bike’ series (having done the Bavaria route in Dublin). I had been trying to absorb Mondello facts for a few days. I borrowed a bike at the track as Kildare was a bit far to go on a Dublin Bike never mind what the rental fee would be for such an expedition, and taped a clipboard with my notes to the crossbar.
Testing finished just before six and I got to work lining up on the grid for the off. Leo operated the lights and I was underway. I had the opening spiel in my head but a heckler had me all at sea before I even got to the bridge and I forgot my lines. It was surprising how quick the lap passed in relation to what I had to say but I get most of it in. The bike started giving trouble in the Esses but I nursed it up the hill to Dunlop and rolled it down the straight to the finish where the walkers are lined up for their lap of the track.
There’s a good crew for the walk including some of the ITCC lads who are pushing a car around but the star of the show is Ivan who has offered over the internet to run the lap in Speedos if €500 is raised. The fee was donated in minutes. I follow his on the bike and film his exploits. My Gopro has seen some rough stuff in its short life but nothing like this and I’m hoping its not too offended to stop working, thankfully it isn’t. Fair play Ivan.
The race card isn’t too packed and everyone seems happy with it as most want to get home to watch Ireland v Croatia in the Euros. Football fever is a rare thing in Mondello. I arrive later than I usually would for race day as it took a while to get up because of my cracked ribs, and head for the sign on. There’s a lunch sheet for the marshals where the sign on usually is. The chicken curry proving twice as popular as the tortillas with only a few choosing the pasta bake. Not too many of the track team are vegetarians it seems.
One cup of tea later I take a stroll around the paddock taking some photos of people for Facebook and stopping for a natter while qualifying is on. I’ve posted the video of Ivan on youtube overnight and people are having a good laugh about it.
Racing starts early but I’ve visitors to entertain at lunchtime so I skip the first two races and get some food. Normally I bring sambos but the Canteen this year is under new management and the food is much better, I’ve a quick feed before heading to get some shots of the 1st ITCC race where Rob Butler takes the win.
Car mad Alfie arrives into the paddock with his Mum and Dad. I give him a badge on a lanyard and bring him round the paddock as he sits into a few race-cars (thanks folks). He must be from the Superintendent Chalmers school of thought and can’t understand why anyone would take the H badge off their Honda. Race winner Butler (Bieber) has the badge and Alfie duly dubs his car best in show. After a visit to the tower I’ve arranged a spin round the track. I think dad Simon is more impressed and the pair pit with beaming smiles before heading to the grandstand to watch the afternoons racing. Leo gives a big shout to them over the tannoy to cap a great day out for them. Alfie apparently now wants to live in Mondello.
The afternoons racing flies along as football fever takes hold and everyone wants to get out early. Kevin Sheane wins the Sheanes after a great battle with Hearty before he retired, Moore delivers his on his promise and beats Newsome off the line staying in front for the whole race despite serious pressure. Butler takes his 2nd win of the day in the ITCC’s this time from well back after the reverse grid format leads to a thrilling race.
Back in the paddock “Well Ard” gives me a sambo, and I have the bike warming up for a quick exit as the drivers get their prizes on the podium then I’m out the gate and it’s almost Miller time. Olé, Olé Olé Olé….
If you are of a weak disposition, you may not want to watch this next clip- you have been warned……