I’m on our XSR, revving the en­gine at the start line. In front of me I can see 100 me­tres of tar­mac com­plete with cen­tre line. It dis­ap­pears around a bend, and I know there’s a fur­ther 300 me­tres to the fin­ish line: two right han­ders sep­a­rated by a dead straight fi­nal sprint. Next to me is the candy-red Ger­man Yard Built bike. Its nick­name is The Apex Ruler and it’s wear­ing Su­per­cor­sas not knob­blies… I look across to see that both his hands are at the con­trols. His clutch hand should be touch­ing his hel­met. ‘We’re do­ing the hand thing,’ I shout over. He doesn’t know what I’m on about. Some­body ex­plains it to him, but the girl with all the flags is get­ting ready to drop. Our en­gines gun. Flags go up and I get too ex­cited and reach for the clutch too early. Re­set hand. Flag’s dropped. The candy red is al­ready dust by the time I’m in gear. How has he launched so quickly? My front lifts past massed ranks of pho­tog­ra­phers. Sec­ond gear. My brain’s still think­ing about how the Ger­man left the line so quick. Then I re­alise my throt­tle’s not on the stop. I twist it home and hun­ker down for the mid-sprint S-bend. We spray through a small stream of wa­ter run­ning across the track and turn in for the fin­ish. The fin­ish line flashes past. He’s won, and I’ll claim joint fifth. Not bad for my first race since pri­mary school sports days.

‘The candy red is al­ready dust by the time I’m in gear. How has he launched so quickly?’ nd

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