Every year I like to take on a ‘Challenge Ride’. Something thats a little different, takes thought and planning to complete and gets me visiting places I’ve never visited before. Secondly it is always nice if I can raise awareness and a little money for a worthy cause!
This year I’ve taken up BadBoyBez’s MancRiders gauntlet. The challenge is to visit 40 former and current Speedway Circuits throughout the United Kingdom (whilst we still have one!).
The cause, to raise awareness of the Haemophilia Society. Why? Well thats where this particular challenge has me welling up, even as I type this Blog.
On September 2nd 2013 Lefty, a good friend and founder member of the MancRiders, took great pride in posting this on our forum:-
The New Manc Rider
‘the new addition arrived last night at 23-50. Welcome to the world Elliot’
The New Manc Rider
Elliot Henry Smith
Needless to say we were all overjoyed with the news. Lefty becoming a grandad was brilliant, it meant we could give him some stick for officially becoming an ‘old bodger’. As often happens I missed the initial volley of replies being out of the country on another ride.
As I read through the well wishes from all our members I was devastated to read this posted just 8 days later:-
‘short update on the new Manc Rider. Our Elliot has been born with a condition known as Haemophilia, its controllable but incurable. He will have to be careful in life, he won’t be as robust to damage as you or I. We're taking the positives from the situation as the negatives just make me twisted. If there is a god and he browses this forum………..’
What do you say to that? Jeannie and I were devastated but just being upset is not enough. You can read all about Elliot in his Blog, Haemophilia and Elliot. We wish you well "Little MancRider".
Luckily for all of us BadBoyBez was ten steps ahead and within the month he had the bare bones planned out.
When all else fails what do the MancRiders do? ‘We Ride!”
Bez worked like a trojan to get the ‘MancRiders Speedway Challenge 2014’ organised, planned, plotted and ready for a January 2014 start. Packs were printed, stickers produced, “as you know how bikers love a sticker or two” and with the initial ten MancRiders signed up it was all systems go. Well it would have been if the weather had been a little kinder to us that is.
After making the £15 Donation, every penny of which goes to the Haemophilia Society, I waited. A couple of days later my pack arrived which contained my number (#010 in my case) a few stickers and the Speedway Challenge Book containing location address’s. I took a whole day to plot each and every location into BaseCamp. I then cross referenced each and every location with Google Maps. Even down to street view level so I could plot the exact position of every Speedway Circuit, monument and sign, all to within a few metres. Pedantic springs to mind.
MancRiders Speedway Challenge 2014
Next it was time to plan a route. Now I’m not overly competitive but as there are 2 points per location with your, number and bike in the photo and 1 point if its just you and your number, this is so non bikers can take part with their car if they wish, I got carried away. 3 Days! Don’t ask me why but I narrowed the route down to three one day rides all in the region of 800 miles. Madness!
I do like my route planning
Bez has set up a leader board and there will be a prize for the person with the most points. However if there is a tie in number of points obtained then the ‘Overall Winner’ will be the person who completes the challenge in the quickest time. “Now do you see what drove me to plan a 3 day 2400 mile round trip?”
Certificates will be awarded for the following
Bronze Award for 15 Circuits visited in the Challenge Book
Silver Award for 25 Circuits visited in the Challenge Book
Gold Award for 40 Circuits visited in the Challenge Book
Dave was the first to get the MancRiders Speedway Challenge 2014 off to a flying start in January when he visited 5 Speedway Circuits whilst visiting family in the Newcastle area. As he was in the car he obtained 5 points over 4 days in the car.
Last week the sun came out and as the lads know all too well, “Sun’s out, I’m Out”
Monday 10th March
Day1, 9 Circuits, 225 Miles - 18 Points
I thought I would just sack the big three day rides and take it at a more sedate pace starting with the local circuits.
Belle Vue Stadium - Manchester
Hyde Road Speedway Circuit - Manchester
White City Speedway Circuit - Manchester
Ellesmere Port Circuit
Stoke Speedway Circuit
Buxton Speedway Circuit
Sheffield Speedway Circuit
Bradford Speedway Circuit
Halifax Speedway Circuit
Day 1 Nice and steady
Tuesday 11th March
Day 2, 582 Miles, 8 Circuits - 16 Point
As I’d already planned doing the ‘Northern Loop’ what better way to get stuck into the challenge than go for it! Riding out in glorious sunshine at Rochdale at 0945 after filling up at ASDA I rode straight into a ‘pea-souper’ over Saddleworth Moors. Being dressed in my leathers was a big mistake. By the time I reached York I was absolutely frozen to the core but I’m never one to shy away from a challenge. As soon as I was North of York the sun came out and the rest of the ride was ‘most agreeable’. Barring the mad dash back down the M6 from Glasgow as it turned dark and I had my tinted visor on. Not great but luckily for me ‘fate’ was on my side and I arrived home at 2015 hours just in time to say good night to Lilie Rose and Ben. Perfect timing if you ask me.
Redcar Speedway Circuit
Sunderland Speedway Circuit
Newcastle Speedway Circuit
Berwick Speedway Circuit
Edinburgh Speedway Circuit
Coatbridge Speedway Circuit
Glasgow Speedway Circuit
Paisley Love Street Circuit
Day 2 Not quite so steady
Wednesday 12th March
Day 3, 330 Miles, 2 Circuits - 4 Points
I had not planned on going out Wednesday but as the sun rose my eagerness to tidy up my BaseCamp Map was overwhelming and so I quickly donned my winter riding gear and headed North to Workington which is further from Rochdale than I last remember. Having to be home to collect Lilie Rose from her after school club added a little urgency to the proceedings. So out of the hours at 0935 hours I made good progress and was back in Fleetwood by 1340. Sticking to all the speed limits really meant I was up against it but by stopping for just one fill up and two photos I managed to arrive home at 1515 hours. I even squeezed 180 miles out of one take full of fuel, please don’t ask me how as I’ve no idea. Lets just say the ride from Workington to the Rheged Centre was a very nervous affair being as the low fuel warning light came on way before Keswick!
Workington Speedway Circuit
Fleetwood Speedway Circuit
Day 3 Rush Job
If you would like to take part in the MancRiders Speedway Challenge 2014 please drop BadBoyBez an email at Mancriderschallenge@gmail.com
All in all I had a brilliant 3 days on the Blade and managed to more than double my recent diabolical effort. The only negative would be the nagging pain between my shoulder blades which a week later is still giving me ‘gyp’. Top tip Raymondo, “when your planning on a fair few miles stick to the winter gear not leathers!”
So as things stand that is 19 Speedway Circuits visited with a further 21 to compete as soon as time and weather conditions allow.
To end on a happy note here’s a cracking video LBK of the MancRiders put together recently just to cheer us all up, I hope your not easily offend as a couple of the images within are for ‘adult viewing only ‘YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!’
LBK on the Tredmill of Life
‘Ride well & Stay safe. It's a jungle out there!’