Over two days (25th & 26th March), The Army Endurance Motorcycling Race Team proudly took their places on the track at one of the world’s most iconic sporting venues, Silverstone. Formed in 2010, with the help of some generous sponsors, including Team Army sponsors, it has successfully engaged serving soldiers and veterans alike to build a committed, enthusiastic and talented team of motorcyclists. Team 1 this year riding in the ACU National 1000 championship is Sgt Richard Spencer-Fleet, WO2 Wayne Morgan and Captain Pep Brown. The National trio rode together last year and narrowly missed out on the podiums. Team 3 this year is again made up of some super fast veterans; the trio of Loz Williams, Darryl Hodder and Lee Parker. The 5-team line-up was completed by a brave rookie team with both WO2 ‘Carl’ Goodchild and Sgt ‘Soph’ Ellis from the RAPTC; in itself a first.
Team Army, (Tim and I) went along with Revision sponsors Mark Gilbert and Claire Stroud to show our support, we left our homes at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning lured by the promise of a slap up breakfast at the track! We weren’t disappointed as a full English was produced on arrival – lovingly prepared by the indispensable WAG’s of the team. They then excelled later with lunch for all the team including cupcakes with sponsor logo icing. Eat your heart out Mary Berry and ‘Bake-Off’!
As I walked into the pits at Silverstone and smelt the engine oil I had the most enormous rush of adrenaline and excitement! ….so my secret’s out! I love motorbikes! I couldn’t wait to hear the deep growl of motorbikes whizzing past me.
The weather was superb and the sun shone the whole day. Great conditions for the riders on a dry track. Qualifying rounds of Sprint Races and Endurance Races started at 9am and continued throughout the day. Our Army boys were competing against at least 30 other private teams and did well overall. In his qualifying round, Pep Brown from Team one had a close shave with another competitor on the track and this caused damage to his bike’s engine and tail. After some swift repair work the bike was patched up in time to be on the starting line for the main Endurance Race at 3pm. Unfortunately, when the lights turned green, and with a Le-Mans style start, all the the other riders zoomed off leaving Pep trying to kick-start his bike. A big team-push managed to get the bike off but Pep came off a short way ahead. Frustrating to say the least as the team carried on with Rider two, Spence, taking up the baton. Thankfully nothing seriously bent apart from ego although the pit crew found themselves physically tested having to recover the team’s transponder from the crashed bike on the circuit before Spence could set off!
It was a thrilling day for both spectators and participants. The teams all improved on their times and being at Silverstone created a huge buzz of excitement and made the Endurance Team feel so proud to be representing the British Army. Roll on the next race!
- Team 1 finished the race with heads held high, having made up 10 places and all set their own personal best times. The aim of endurance racing is to finish and that’s what they did, they have gained points and ready for the next round.
- Team 2 finished in 8th place and 21st overall.
- Team 3 hampered by leaking tanks and faulty fuel lights,finished the race early by a few minutes.
- Team 4 Team 4 Finished 17th overall and 5th in class (within 13 seconds of 4th place and a lap of 3rd place). An amazing effort!
- Team 5, the Rookies, were sadly just pipped to the top placed rookie team spot by one other team and came 2nd by only one position across the whole grid. They also finished 6th in Club 1000 class, and 14th overall! What a great start to the season
From your Roving Reporter Apprentice – Usha Chadha