Yes friends, my first sick day in all the years I’ve been on the tools here at The Weekend Australian newspaper and multimedia platform, but concussion will do that to you. Note to other weekend racers and rally drivers: wear your Hans device even when testing.
OK. All your favourites are back today: Hamo, Sebo, Chucko, Micko and Neilo. Neilo? A couple of weeks back architect Neil Campbell from Little Horkesley, Essex, set a new world men’s cycling speed record of more than 280km/h. I know what you’re thinking. Good old John visited the budtenders at MedMen, The Pottery and Zen Noho while he was in LA last month and had too much of a good thing and has crossed over to the green side.
But no, friends and readers. Not only haven’t I become a supporter of my boss and our resident food guru John Lethlean, who enjoy the kind of two-wheeled motorised machines that turn permanent residents of this great country with third-world roads into temporary Australians, I also haven’t become a supporter of the unmotorised ones that persons dressed in tight Lycra with large protruding stomachs who walk into coffee shops to order skim soy lattes in tap shoes ride.
Not only was Neil about 30 per cent slower than Denise Mueller-Korenek (who as you may have guessed is the opposite gender to Neil and holds the title as the fastest person on a pedal cycle) but both Neil and Denise were only able to go so fast because they were in little shed-type structures on the rear of petrol-driven cars.
In Neil’s case it was only a Porker Cayenne, but Denise, being a real person, was pedalling her heart out behind a 745KW dragster driven by one of the fastest women on earth as we know it.
Can I also point out the Australian connection? Neil eschewed the body-hugging lycra for a kangaroo-skin protective suit that inflates in the event of a crash. (Friends and readers, you will know that this type of uniform was pioneered by our own Michael McMichael in his attempt at winning the Malaysian road racing championship somewhere around 1951 … although it did appear his suit was permanently inflated.)
By the way, if my ramblings on Little Horkesley have prompted a visit can I also suggest you take the A321 for 15 minutes and visit The Half Butt Inn in Colchester. The wonderfully named Half Butt Inn (nothing to crack up about in that name) is a delightful pub-restaurant, based in a 17th-century inn, with a large beer garden with a new kiddies’ play area and a selection of fine wines.
I’m told that Colchester, Britain’s oldest town, is the home of English nursery rhymes: Old King Cole, Humpty Dumpty (both said to be based on the King of Kensi) and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
Of course, Colchester is the Adelaide of the UK. Our very own South Australian correspondent, David “Penbo” Penberthy, broke an exclusive story this week reporting that SBS broadcaster Lucy Zelic has sparked a holy war in the City of Churches after labelling Adelaide a “shit hole” and “incredibly dull” in a football podcast.
Clearly Lucy hasn’t been to The Kensi, done the Coopers Brewery Tour with expert guide Frank (complete with a tasting of the full range for a bargain-priced $33 but no discount for the kiddies) or the premium tasting experience at Jim Barry’s newly renovated Cellar Door (no discount for the kiddies, either).
Anyway, Neilo was timed at 280.55km/h after going through the 200m speed trap on the cycle. Nice try Neil but last year, mother-of-three Denise broke the overall (men’s) record of 268km/h with 295km/h. “It was a crazy wild ride” Denise told me on the psychic internet, “but we weren’t supposed to go more than 281.” Denny, proudly 45, says the dragster pulled her along with a tow rope until they hit 160km/h then she let go and pedalled herself for the last mile at an average of 295km/h.
Talking of temporary people, The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is held in more than 700 cities across 110 countries, with men, women and others riding classic and vintage-styled bikes wearing what passes for smart clothes raising money for prostate cancer research and men’s mental health.
Influenced by a pic of Mad Men star Don Draper on a Matchless, Australian Mark Hawwa started the ride in Sydney in 2012 and since then TDGR has raised over $20m. Rides will be in 35 cities and towns around Australia.
And talking of what’s becoming one of the most boring circuits in F1, last Sunday Seb won for the first time in a year, from Chuck, Max, Lou and Val in Singapore. Ferrari got the strategy right and ended up leading the procession to make it three in a row this year.
Talking of auctions, last Monday saw mixed results at Shannons Melbourne Spring sale. Classic Australians are still strong with a 1985 Holden HDT VK Group A SS bringing $145K, a 1971 Falcon XY GT $370K and a 1968 Falcon XT GT at $106K.
Next auction to watch is Lloyds online, which finishes on Sunday. There’s a 1985 Holden VK SS Commodore Group A “Blue Meanie”, a 1977 Holden A9X Torana (bidding already at $152K), and a one-off six-door 1970 Ford XY Falcon wagon bid up to $95K.