Tour Series blog #6: James Stewart in Oldham

Three weeks into the Tour Series you start to run on robot mode. 

As many of the other riders will tell you, as hard as the racing is, it’s not the competition that drains you, it’s all the travel, lack of sleep and general preparation which takes its toll.

We started the week a little drained having ridden 125 miles on the Sunday doing the Rydale Grand Prix.

Following Sunday’s race we had a long car journey back down into central London, bumping into other teams going through the same services routine en route. 

Burger King worryingly becomes a regular pit stop given it’s all that seems to be open and stocked with food after the evening’s racing!

Not ideal but since the last time we ate was about 2/3pm before the race you’re just about glad of anything, to the point where tomato sauce and vinegar sachets almost seem appealing!

As we arrive in central London Maggy [Backstedt] shows how he can now add ‘Expert Trailer Parker’ to his palmares.

Bleary-eyed mornings

6am Monday morning, the team drag themselves down to breakfast. We all look pretty tired but this is where having kids for me and Maggy starts to show its advantages having been used to early morning rises!

Whereas, sat opposite, Hank (Lord James Lowsley Williams) is usually holding his head two centimetres above his Muesli bowl.

Conversation around the table revolves around (……….silence…….) or how the coffee just isn’t as good as Big Maggys!

The PINCH YOURSELF moment starts here for the team. We arrive after a stressful drive through rush hour central London to our departure point near Hyde Park for our recovery ride of the day.

Sat awaiting Team UK Youth are fifty classic Jaguar E-Types ready in formation for their procession through central London via The Mall and Buckingham Palace.

Meeting Mansell

Nigel Mansell (financial provider for Team UK Youth) awaits his squad ready in GSG kit to lead the Jags with a police escort through the city.

Nigel is the President of the Charity UK Youth and a keen cyclist, soon to ride London to Paris. 

The press take their photos of the team, together with Nigel, on a wet morning straddled over our Kuota Bikes.

The ride to MotorExpo at Canary Wharf took a little under an hour at steady pace (except for when Nigel felt like putting the hurt on, jumping away from the lights).

As the lads ride alongside each other, we laugh as we can see where Greg Mansell gets his kick from.

A year ago, if somebody told us we would be riding past Buckingham Palace under police Escort alongside Nigel Mansell and Magnus Backstedt with 50 classic Jags in tow, we would have responded with something unpublishable!

UK Youth was the charity being promoted at Motorexpo, raising money for supporting young childeren from donations via the Formula 1 Racing simulators.

Needless to say Nigel won race one, Maggy won race two and in race three I recorded the second quickest lap. Competition was fierce but a tight schedule meant Maggy and I had to walk away with a sense of unfinished business to knock the former F1 Champ off the top of the leader board!

Normal life resumes

Life resumes to normal in the team car with reflections on the day and anticipation of the weeks coming Tour Series rounds.

Along with racing I’m a sales agent for Upgrade Bikes and Kuota so during the time away I’m catching up on as much work as possible via email whilst on the move in the back of the team car.

I’m also going through finalising the purchase of our first home at the moment. Note to self: don’t buy a house during Tour Series month in future, it’s a nightmare.

The team has had a strong Tour Series, the key for us being consistency, placed around the 4th, 5th, 6th mark each night. 

We currently lie sixth overall just a few points away from moving up a few positions.

We look forward to the final round of the Tour Series at Canary Wharf: the UK Youth offices are based on the circuit and Greg Mansell will make his debut in the event, with Nigel spectating on the night.

Related links
Tour Series 2011: coverage index