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Video: following the Madison action at 70kph

Dave gets the best seat in the house for the track demo at Geraint's track day.....

Everyone's good at something. And I'm good at the 500m TT on the track. And by 'good', I mean 'pick of the puffing proles list but five seconds off the pace of the real cyclists'. Anyway, my prize for topping the podium in that particular race at the Geraint Thomas track day was to get the best seat in the house for the Madison demo, the seat in question being the back seat of the following motorbike...

I've ridden track a fair bit but not surprisingly I'd never been out on a motorbike on one. In fact, it was the first time I'd been on a motorbike at all in about 15 years, so the first five minutes were spent trying to remember how not to fall off, a task made more difficult by having to hold a video camera. Cue lots of gripping with the knees...

Off we set, and the pace immediately picked up. With a pace bike on track too there was plenty of shelter for the guys doing the flying laps, and after a few minutes the speedo was up to 60kph and it stayed there for the rest of the 15-minute session. At that speed you're completing a lap every 15 seconds, and you can feel the extra G-force pushing you down into the bends. It's no bother for the four riders on the boards though: Geraint needs no introduction, and Luke Rowe, Jon Mould and Owain Doull are all coming through the ranks of a system that's produced some of the world's finest track riders of the last decade.

Watching the dynamic between the two riders behind the bike, and the timing of the handovers, is fascinating. At the beginning it seems like a random sequence of events and you're wondering how they don't end up in a heap, but as the laps tick by the routine becomes obvious: changing up behind the bike, handing over into the gaps: you can tell they've done hours of this. It's still mighty impressive and there's a receptive crowd to cheer them on; they're rewarded by the riders on the rest lap high-fiving the balcony as they wheel past.

Towards the end the pace picks up, and with a few laps to go it's Luke who goes off the front, sprinting round the pace bike and setting off up the boards at over 70kph. Owain and Jon's best efforts to catch him come to naught, and he hands over to Geraint to take the win, fitting given that it's his track day. We can't film the last few laps; with the riders doing 70 on the sprinter's line we'd have to go even faster than that up the bank to keep pace, and 70 is about as fast as it's safe to go on the bike...

Dave is a founding father of, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

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Colin Canski | 12 years ago

Whilst I would have preferred to have been on the back of the motorbike, I don't have a video camera and your footage equally makes amends.


PS. The 2 second gap will not be so big next time.  1

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