Dave Tooley's Early Lydden Page


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Fond Memories of Lydden in those early days

5 hour convoy drives from Fareham along the southern coast road (averaging 25 mph)
Incidents on the way. Someone always seemed to break down, or have an accident.
Very welcome breaks at a Hastings seafront cafe.
The pitch darkness of Lydden at night.
Trying to put up a tent in thick frost. in the middle of the night, when you couldn't see a hand in front of your face.
Ground so hard, the tent pegs wouldn't penetrate.
Giving up and trying to sleep in the van.
Fellow passengers farting, snoring, and generally keeping everyone awake.
Ice on the INSIDE of the van first thing in the morning.
Toilets with no doors, no seats, no loo paper & broken flush. Cubicles with doors had no locks.
Being continually woken through the night by new arrivals.
The 5am racing engine alarm clock. (There's always one)
Lack of sleep.
Early morning pea-souper fogs.
Wash and shave in ice cold water.
Running around the track at 6am to warm ourselves up.
Moaning about the horrendous state of the circuit. (It appeared to get worse at every visit)
Chalk, mud and stones everywhere on the track after an autocross meeting.
The wonderfull smell of coffee and bacon first thing in the morning from the tuck shop.
The lovely old couple who ran the food cabin.
The tramp who lived in the woods.
Arguing with scrutineers. Bikes never seemed to pass first time.
(n.b. There was no favouritism, most of the scrutineers came from my own club, The Hampshire Union. Les Rafferty was Chief Scrutineer, along with Pete Hockley and Alan Crickmore. They were VERY thorough in their examinations)
Bump starting the bikes in the pits. There never seemed to be enough room.
Horrendously packed pits.
Trying to retain a modicum of decency whilst changing into your leathers.
The first nervous slippery practice laps. More moaning about the horrendous state of the circuit.
Rabbits running across the racing line when you were right on your ear.
Oil all over the track at the top of the hill 180 degree bend. (EVERYBODY falling off)
The adrenillin pumping as we queued in the pit lane for our race.
Nev Frost's horrendous sidecar tank slappers at the bottom of Hairy Hill.
Those epic battles in the 200cc Class between Ron Moss, Ray Kemp and Nev Frost.
Sidecar engine strips between races. (The 225cc engines would ALWAYS seize up)
The elation you'd feel when you finished a day without breaking your bike.
Finding a spare driver to get a van full of riders home. (Someone would often be injured)
Beans on toast and HUGE mugs of tea on the way home early evening at a Romney Marsh cafe.
Returning hire vans at some ungodly hour of the morning.
Getting to bed as the sun came up.


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