It was my birthday at the end of last month and, as is his usual want, the Big Green Gummi Bear bought tickets to an event for us. Much to my enormous surprise these tickets came inside a birthday card! I don’t think I’ve had a birthday card from him since my 21st– a long time ago! (He did confess to having to ask a work colleague where you went to buy birthday cards!)
So what event had he chosen for us to attend?
My face lit up in a huge smile when I saw the tickets. We were off to see the British Superbikes race at Knockhill Race Circuit in Fife.
I love watching motorcycling. In fact, I love almost all motorsport but bike racing is my favourite. My all-time hero is the late great Barry Sheene. This is a love that goes WAY back – even further than when the Big Green Gummi Bear last bought me a birthday card!
Visiting Knockhill was also a bit of a nostalgia trip. Pre-children we used to go there a couple of times a year to watch the likes of Formula 3 or the British Touring Car Championship. Somehow we’d never gone to a bike event before.
Both of us share fond memories of Sundays spent trying to shelter from the wind and rain at various corners round the circuit. Treasured memories of being soaked to the skin and frozen to the bone as you watched the drivers battle it out on track. One vivid memory of getting myself locked in the ladies loo – that’s another story.
Yesterday was race day. We headed off just after eight o’clock to drive through to Fife. Much to our great amazement it was warm and sunny!
We timed our arrival nicely (by design or default – who knows!) and were directed by the parking attendant to head up across the hill to park at an obscure angle on the grassy hillside above the circuit. (Cue the Big Green Gummi Bear panicking a tad about how he would get his rear wheel drive car back out if it were to rain heavily.)
With the sun on our backs we walked back down the hill to the circuit, grabbed a coffee and made it to trackside for the start of the first race.
This was the start of eight leisurely hours of wandering round the track, watching each race from a different vantage point and enjoying a fair amount of people watching as we went. You’ve never seen so much leather in one place! It was more of a family affair than I’d expected with lots of little kids around and older ones hurtling around on pushbikes. One little girl caught my eye as we walked up past the hairpin. She had to be about three with her hair neatly up in a bun with a glittery pink scrunchie round it, her little leather biker jacket and tight black leggings set off with purple glittery pumps. A little biker princess in the making! Too cute!
Knockhill is a short undulating track with many good viewing points. It was all a bit of a nostalgia trip as we reminisced about previous days at the different corners but we both agreed we preferred to watch down at the hairpin or at the dip just after the first corner.
Our tickets included access to walk the pit lane during the lunchtime break just before the first of the two scheduled Superbike races but when we saw the length of the queue we opted to give it a miss, heading instead across the bridge to watch the race from the mound in the centre of the circuit.
The sun shone down on us for most of the day. Wandering round Knockhill in t-shirt and jeans instead of being wrapped in about five woolly jumpers and a thick anorak with the hood up was a bizarre experience. There were a few short showers of rain later on in the afternoon – well it wouldn’t be Scottish racing without them!
Rain stopped the second Superbike race part way through which led to a re-start a few minutes later and a cracking 11 lap dash.
We meandered round the back end of the circuit for the final race of the day, the juniors (13-18 year olds) before being allowed access to walk the circuit in the early evening sun.
For some reason, we ended up walking round the course counter clockwise, spotting tear-offs from visors at every corner and noting the chunks of half-melted race tyres (marbles) that were scattered about. It was incredibly peaceful. No PA. No engine noise except a dull throbbing thrum from the surrounding bike parks as most of the crowd headed home. Down at the hairpin, a Blondie tribute band were playing. Least said about them the better. Suffice to say, the huge inflatable Dainese man was attracting more interest as spectators posed for photos in front of him. (Yes I did too)
Having completed our lap, we walked wearily back up the hill towards the car. As we passed the campsite some folk had their BBQs lit and the cooking smells reminded me just how hungry I was.
Finally we reached the car, sank down into its sumptuous leather seats and headed for home. As we drove home I began to notice something. It was a completely alien concept in relation to a trip to Knockhill.
I was sunburnt!
No, definitely not frost bite or wind burn as you’d usually expect. Most definitely sun burn!
Our day had been fabulous. Great racing. No serious crashes. No major injuries to the riders. Good weather. Rounded off with a huge pizza and a nicely chilled beer. Happy Days!