I rode: Overdrive 2016 – race report

Overdrive 2016 - start line

Overdrive 2016 - tour de CTMP for regular road bikesOverdrive Race & Relay took place last weekend at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP, previously known as Mosport) just outside Toronto, Ontario – we’ve been building up to it on the blog for some time.

We were very proud to be the first sponsors of this new recumbent race, the Low Rider 50, and quite simply, riding on the track…

was

awesome!

Unfortunately there were very few participants in the recumbent race – indeed in any of the races, really. It was late in the season at October 30 in Ontario (perhaps even ‘post-season’), it was Hallowe’en weekend, the weather was damp and cool. The recumbent race itself was also brand new this year.

But as one of those who did take part, I thought the venue, the circuit, the amenities and the organization was just exceptional. The owners of CTMP have built a brand new event centre in the last few years and it’s such a nice facility – attractive, a great view of the track, showers, a bar, it’s just a fabulous location for an event like this.

Overdrive 2016 - at the start lineThe recumbent race was the first on the track at 8am and it was still quite wet. That meant there was a little caution for the first few laps as we explored the track.

(In reviewing GPS data after the race, my first lap was a full minute slower than my next slowest lap – clearly timid for that first loop round.)

In racing circles, CTMP is a storied track. It was Canada’s second purpose-built track, opening in 1961, and the first major event held that year was won by Stirling Moss; the hairpin was later named Moss Corner. The back straight is called the Mario Andretti Straightaway and other race winners in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s include the likes of Jack Brabham, James Hunt, Jackie Stewart and Derek Bell. Some of these guys I watched as a child at Brands Hatch in the UK and there I was riding on a real track that they had raced on and which featured some of their names. I actually had goose bumps lapping it!

Overdrive 2016 - last cornerThe track is very much in two halves. The first is a series of very fast sweeping corners and a complete blast to ride round. The back half is a climb up the Andretti Straightaway and felt much steeper than it looked until you got to the last couple corners when it flattened out. I also found it slightly surreal, riding my bike surrounded by all the features of an F1 track – the run-off space on the outside of the corners, the red & white kerbstones, the pits, the advertising banners and boards, even the white painted tires (just in case we overcooked a corner!).

It was too bad about the rain earlier in the morning as I would have loved to shoot round on a dry track – I suspect I would have scared myself on the first half!

So only two of us completed our 50 minute recumbent race on Sunday morning – myself on my Bacchetta and Pepe Bakshi on his Metabike; great job, Pepe! – and I would have happily ridden it again give the chance, it was just so much fun.

I hope this becomes an established part of the race calendar in Ontario and can find ways to increase attendance, it was such a fun event in which to take part.

(There are a lot more pictures of all of the races that featured in the day on Overdrive’s Facebook page.)

Footnote: we weren’t the only recumbents to enjoy the course over the day. At the charity open ride in the afternoon, Jensen Didulo brought his tilting trike and said that he ran out of high gear during the fast first half!

Overdrive 2016 - tilting trike at corner 1