6 years ago we went to our first road race, in Armoy, during our Honeymoon travel. There we bought the “Road Racing Ireland” for the first time. There was a short article on a road race in Cork being cancelled on the day due to heavy rain and track unsuitable for racing.
Who would have told us then that 2 years later we would be living in Cork, and that 5 years later a small group of people would pull together to revive the Munster 100 on the same Glanmire track.
We actually came on board of the organisation late, when a big part of the job of fundraising and looking for sponsors was well advanced, but tried to help as much as possible over the last few months.
This was a lovely experience to become part of this group of passionate and hardworking men, who put a lot of effort and time to get the Munster 100 back on track.
So the racing week-end of our first road race in Cork was lived in a completely different way. From inside and mostly in the paddock. And with very few pictures. But seeing how much time and work has to be put in to get everything needed, the track put together, signage around and close to the track, protections all around, paddock organised, work on entries, passes, lists of stuffs to be done, finding people to do a million of small or big tasks before, during and after the event…
Comes Friday before racing. Paddock is still very quiet, podium is being finished with all sponsors.
Many people working around the track from early morning until late that night. It’s early evening now, paddock is now filling up. I’m there but only baby sitting while Juan is doing his little bit with signage.
For the night we had booked a “VIP” place to stay on the track, very handy with a little girl.
Saturday morning I started “working” while Juan is baby-sitting. I’ve been given a task in the scrutiny tent handing over to the riders or their assistant/mechanics/helper/friend the document that will be signed by the scrutineers. A couple of “moments of panic” lol. Hope I didn’t do too bad.
When I’m finished with my task I get back to my baby-sitting role and Juan is helping at one of the gates.
Practice starts with a slight delay. It’s raining most of the day, practice is untimed.
We are under a tent most of the day, where the merchandising is being sold.
Emma was so nice all day. She had a few “laps” on the carrousel just in front of us, a lovely man taking care of it. And when the rain gave us a break we walked a little around the paddock. One of the riders is selling very nice tracks maps carved in wood to help financing his racing: 108 Art . Giving us ideas for home decoration. 🙂
Practice ended, and they could run the first 2 races, “non championship.” When I heard through the speakers that the first race of the Munster 100 was on, I felt a little emotional to be honest…
After the racing was over, we regrouped for preparing the big day, then Juan, myself and Emma went for some food in Glanmire and we headed back to the B&B for the night.
An early wake on race day for me, back to the scrutiny tent, this time a little more prepared, but also with a slight moment of panic. Lol.
A particular mention there to marshals and other people who came to help over the week-end from other Clubs from different points of Ireland. This IS what makes us so proud of the road racing community, and gets it to move forward. A big “family” in which people always pull together in difficult moments and help each other when needed.
After the job was done, the races order was announced.
and given the forecast, the idea was to get as much racing as possible between 10am and 2pm, as by 3pm there was a huge storm announced…
So I went back to my baby-sitting tasks while Juan was going on duty at one gate.
I tried to get Emma to see some racing as she had enjoyed it so much in Faugheen 2 weeks earlier. It was the Open race, and we went to the gate next to the start/finish. They are very fast there.
So we saw them pass by twice, but she got upset 🙁 . So we had to turn back and to the paddock again.
So for us the rest of the day was spent between the merchandising tent (there were a few showers), the carousel, walking around the paddock, playing with other kids, chatting with the neighbours (the West Cork MCC, Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind and Road Racing Ireland).
I couldn’t see any racing, just listening to the comments (which were great by the way!). But racing went smoothly all day. The Grand Final was advanced from programme and after a first start was stopped because of rain (typical!). It was restarted a little later and went perfect!
Just around 2.30pm the racing was over!!!
The podium ceremony started shortly after as weather conditions were starting to deteriorate. I was able to stay at the podium taking pics for the first time of the week-end, while Juan had to pack up with a wrecked Emma.
I joined them back to the B&B to load the car shortly after, and after a while we were on the way back home under pouring rain. Juan on my bike in front got soaked, mainly his waterproof jacket…
But we were SO HAPPY that the rain had waited until racing was over.
This was such a great reward for the people who put so much effort and time in getting the MUNSTER 100 back on the calendar.
I have very few pictures of what I feel I can now call “my local road race”, but I really don’t mind as it was such a lovely experience to live it from inside, and give something back to the sport we love, even if it was not much.
Hope we’ll be able to help a little more next year.
ROLL ON MUNSTER 100 2020!!!