A brief meeting with Ross Matheson, Marketing Executive for ASSOS UK & Ireland and before I knew it, I’d signed us up for the inaugural 2017 Red Bull 25hr Time Laps Race in Windsor Great Park.
Think ‘Le Mans 24hr’ and you’ll have a pretty good feel for what was involved: teams of four, one rider on track at any time, most laps wins. Three obvious categories of team: Men, Women and Mixed. We were Mixed: two boys, two girls and no prior experience of anything like this, besides Everesting (the notable similarities being the lack of sleep, the need for shelter, a supply of food and drink, a ‘what if?’ game plan and the need to be able to recharge lights, Garmins, phones, etc).
The unique twist was the 25th hour, since the race was run over the last weekend in October, when the clocks changed, thereby allowing Red Bull to market it as ‘The World’s Longest One day Race’. I never really knew exactly how we gained the extra hour, but now I do: if you watch your clock carefully, at 1.59am, it goes back to 1.00am. Simple. Laps completed in that hour would count double. Lovely.
Things got off to a bad start: with 150 teams of four riders, 150 people were on the track at any one time. An unlikely mix of competitors ranging from Elite category racers to weekend warriors, led to a big pile up on lap three and a race stoppage for an hour and a half! Thankfully, the restarted race passed without further incidence and Team 28, the ASSOS Equipe Team, made decent progress without mishap. In all, we completed 113 laps, a total of 735km and came 50th overall and 11th in our category. Well done to Therese Coen, Lucy Mannall and Tom Townsend – very impressive all round and it was a pleasure sharing the madness with you! A very big thank you also to our sponsors, ASSOS UK and in particular to Ross, who stayed with us throughout the event, bringing us coffee, food and welcome encouragement!
SGL, Oct 2017.