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A year’s worth of magic motorcycling moments

Published: 30 December 2001

We asked for your personal descriptions of the moments that made your motorcycling year in 2001.

Here are some of the best we received. One will receive a signed copy of Neil Hodgson’s new book, which one, is up to you.

E-mail the name of the writer of your favourite magic moment to david.cushman@emap.com.

Here are the runners and riders:

Alan Goodman, from Hemel Hempstead: " Very easy to pick a magic moment: My first ride for a year!

" In April 2000, I had what started out as a simple ear infection. It turned nasty, and caused me to have a seizure. Because of the seizure, the DVLA took away my licence for 12 months. Because of that I lost my job, and even worse, had to sell my bike which at the time was a ZZ-R 600.

" Just to make life really interesting, while I was in hospital, my wife was

in the maternity ward giving birth to our son! Although I had fully recovered soon after (I completed the London to Brighton Cycle ride six weeks after the seizure) and had letters from the consultant at my local hospital and my GP, stating that the seizure was entirely due to the ear infection, and that the ear was fine, DVLA refused to reinstate my licence, or even to allow me to speak to their medical advisor.

" I tried to appeal through the magistrates court, but DVLA simply failed to turn up to court, prolonging the case to the point where it was costing me too much in solicitors fees to carry on.

" Anyway, I got my licence back on April 28 this year. I collected my new Honda Hornet from Lloyd Cooper in Hemel on May 4, and that was without doubt a MAGIC MOMENT.

" The old saying that " you don't know what you've got until it's gone " is definitely true when it comes to riding bikes.

" The picture is of Aaron (my son - yes he was named after Aaron Slight, a hero of mine after returning from head problems!), on the bike, taken on the day I bought it.

David Jamin: I had my 1998 spotless and fairly personalised R1 nicked in May of this year whilst working in Brussels. Imagine how the insurance company coped with getting a Police report in French to go with my insurance claim!

Still, just as the year was looking up weather wise and with me no 'Billy no Bike', I was not waiting around for the insurance to do its thing and letting the thieving scum spoil my year from word go, so....3 days later I

bought a brand new 2001 R1 and threw a load of goodies at it to make it that personal experience again.

The new bike was Christened with riding bliss when I went for a four day biking trip with the boys from www.redlinetours.co.uk in Germany. This included 4 days of the maddest riding with +20 other guys all into the same thing and taking in the Nurburgring track as the finest moment of an unforgettable few days riding the R1 in the way it was designed to be ridden. Following the mad tour guides, I learnt more than a thing or two about safe riding at 'throw the key away' speeds!

Mark Toynbee, St Albans, Herts: What makes a magic moment? A twisty road, not boring and straight, but with smooth fast bends. Good surface for getting those foot-pegs down. As few side turnings as possible to stop Volvo drivers trying to kill me. No speed cameras. Light traffic. No cowpats, diesel slicks, half-bricks or other surprises. Dry and sunny.

Every year me and some mates head off for Cornwall. There are some good moments as we go down. The long fast section past Fovant Badges. The A30 through Devon – particularly round Yarcombe, where I fell off one year on a nasty hairpin while being a little too enthusiastic. The bridge at Saltash as you enter Cornwall, looking up and down the river Tamar. The last dash to Looe and down to Polperro on familiar roads, with soaring hearts at the thought of a few days’ good riding, and a few evenings’ good drinking in some of the best pubs in England.

None of these quite make it though. My absolute magic moment has got to be on the way into the beautiful, tiny harbour of Boscastle. Imagine, six bikes, burnished and shining, growling and snarling up a steep incline on a winding Cornish lane. The sun is shining. Blue, blue Cornwall sky. Hedgerows pink, purple and yellow with flowers. The scent of warm summer percolating into your crash helmet. Then suddenly you crest the rise and you see the topaz blue sea before you, the hillside falling below you in the steep descent into Boscastle, the harbour nestling in the rough, rocky, north coastal landscape of Cornwall

Man – that’s heaven.

Paul Fawcett, Blyth: " My magic moment was when I was club racing in the 250cc to400cc class, and it was the last round. I needed to secure 4th place in the championship and fifth place would do it.It was the 2nd last race of the day,and I needed to stay in front of a fellow competitor. He came past me on the last lap on the back straight going into the 2nd last corner.

" I was able to outbrake him and ride round the outside of him and pull it across in front of him and hold it to the line. It was a fist in the air. He was on a FZR 400 and I was a 250cc TZR. "

Guy Parkes, London: " Back in March 2001, myself and 12 other riders, set off on a 3000 mile sponsored ride around Europe that I had organised in aid of The Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust. Not only did the trip raise nearly £40,000 for the charity, but it also produced some of the most magical biking moments of my life.

" It was while I was considering which was the best moment of the trip that it occurred to me what an absolute crack touring can be with a bunch of like-minded mates, whether it be blasting across Spain on sportsbikes or taking things at a slightly more sedate pace cruising through Italy. Anybody who has never done it should!

" Anyway, after much consideration crossing the Alps above the snowline in near perfect sunshine was edged out as the best moment, by the style of our arrival in Rome. One of our group, Brian, works for Mastercard fraud division and has good contacts with the police in Rome.

" He had managed to arrange for a police escort from Rome's equivalent of the M25 to our hotel in the city centre. When we arrived at our pre-arranged meeting point we were not really sure what to expect, but after a few minutes two BMW police traffic bikes pulled up. One was ridden by a very attractive red headed policewoman who handled her beemer like it was a priller RS250.

" We had expected a fairly sedate convoy into town just to make sure we didn't get lost on the way to our hotel. However, we had forgotten that the police in Rome and our own boys in blue come from very different moulds and what we actually got was a full high speed escort that would have made President Bush happy had he been in town.

" With sirens, lights and whistles blaring we managed to run every set of traffic lights, travel the wrong way up one way streets whilst regularly hitting speeds up to 60mph through the centre of Rome. The policewoman led and was even stopping trams to give us priority, she was virtually kicking mopeds off the road. What the local Italians made of all this is anybody's guess but they must have figured we were very important British bikers.

" The whole journey lasted about 30 to 40 minutes and was an absolute riot. We were riding in a way that would get you instantly nicked in this country and the best bit was that our two police outriders were having a great time themselves. It was with out a doubt the most bizarre, unique and magic biking moment I have ever had. The adrenalin rush was the same as I would normally only find at a trackday. It's no wonder that the Italians produce so many GP Gods, their attitude to biking is like a breath of fresh air compared to the jaundiced view you normally encounter over here.

" Please find a couple of pics attached, unfortunately her picture does not do her justice! "

Tyrone Moreton-Williams, Southampton: " Brands Hatch trackday in April with Tracktime Promotions. Only my second ever trackday and by the last session I was put in the fast group (standard ZX-7R!!).

" The track was bathed in sunshine all day and as the last fast group session was called… nobody appeared at pit lane exit! So out I went and completed three whole laps of Brands on my own. Yes, my very own super-pole including a warming down lap to take in the applause from the HUGE(!!!) crowd.

" I'm not gonna say what happened once the racers came out; but suffice to say

I'm looking for more tuition and a good plastic welder.

Now’s your chance to rate our finalists. E-mail david.cushman@emap.com with the name of the writer you think best deserves to win our signed Neil Hodgson book.

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