WSB Assen 2003


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“I mentioned to the HMPlant Team at work today that you wanted to be a grid girl, and Mandy said to have a talk with her about it” My boyfriend Col announced one evening after work. This was like a dream come true. Ever since I had been a small child I had wondered what it would feel like to play the glamour role. Now all I had to do was ask. The perfect situation arose that weekend; it was the WSB European round 9, held at Brands Hatch. From the moment that Mandy said it would be possible at Assen, I was filled with butterflies, floating on cloud nine. My whole journey back into motorbikes had turbo jetted into an area that I had not even considered possible.

From that first encounter with Nigel Bosworth, back when Foggy PETRONAS racing was still being born I had progressed in the world of super bikes. Now I was going to be a Grid Girl. “Hag Grid Girl” one of my mates teased, but nothing could deter my elation. HMPlant wanted ME to be a Grid Girl, and I was going to try and be the best I could. So what is a Grid Girl all about? Brolly Dolly, Grid Girl, Bimbo Bird, I needed to research. Well the research produced some amazing ideas. In my opinion Grid Girls could be anything from Hot Pants and Lycra, tottering high heels and pouting sultry faces too wives, girlfriends and Team members. The key factor was the smile. All my worries were over. Smiling wasn’t ever going to be a problem. Butterflies on my stomach made sure of that. Having attended several rounds of the WSB already this season, I was familiar with routines, and recognition of a smile or wave from the Ace’s relaxed me enough to feel I wasn’t totally out of my depth. 4 hospitality tickets had been made available to us courtesy of FPR and Alphabet Motorsports Graphics, Col and I had no trouble finding willing friends to accompany us to the event.

Thursday 4th Sept:
We all had our own bikes, but budget dictated the form of transport. 4 people crammed into a car with camping gear and bags just added to the expedition, and although I had my feet on the dash board for most of the journey, and Jay and Jamie were packed out at the sides, underneath, in front and behind, we could stretch so it was still an easier option than riding. We took the Sea Cat from Harwich to Hook of Holland, then a straight ride to Assen. A nasty accident involving a Truck and some bikers closed a link road, but with 4 heads looking for signs, and the aid of a couple of torches purchased on the boat, we finally picked our way through sweeping fog and mist arriving at the camp site Mohlmann in Witterhaar at 3.30am.

Friday 5th Sept:
Let’s have a look at where we have pitched our tents now… and marvel at our blind accomplishment. The camp site was perfect. A lovely family who rented out their spacious garden and offered; drinks bar, food, music, toilets and hot showers, covered seated areas, lounge chairs and a welcome to guests that made us feel like we had known them for years.. Our friends had started to arrive, and the camp site was filling with bikers we knew, and some we didn’t. Some travelled alone, some in groups returning year after year. Off to the track (5minutes away) to catch up with other friends and check in. So proud to be a Grid Girl I was telling everyone. Asking where they would be situated race day so I could wave, sharing some of my luck with other fans.

I collected signatures of the aces for friends not fortunate enough to have the passes, and then we just enjoyed the practice day. Lunch with Foggy proved to be as hospitable as ever: Vegetable Terrine with herb Aiolio for starter, followed by Noissette of Lamb in a Capers and Jus berry sauce and baby roast potatoes or Roasted Red Pepper and tomato Pasta. Ending with; Sticky Apple cake with a Vanilla cream or Honey and Cinnamon Panacotta with Apricot and Grand Marnier sauce. The choice was too much. Wanting to try everything, Col and I had different desserts and shared. It amazes me how they can produce food to such a high standard in a mobile situation. Serinda, Katy and Tom were on hand, ever helpful with a constant supply of drinks and welcoming attitude. In all honesty I can’t really complain about anything. HMPlant Team, FPR Team, Sun up Bikers, Swindon and Stroud Biker Boys, Jazzy Jeff, F. Mohlmann Camping, strangers in Assen, John Reynolds on the Ferry, the list was never ending. After lunch we watched Qualifying practice and then made our way back to the camp site to catch up with everyone else’s day.

Friday night and off to Groningen for quiet drinks with the HMPlant team. Back at the camp site everyone was drinking and having parties, but the Ace’s they had all come to watch were tucked up in bed, early night ready for day two.

Saturday 6th Sept:
Rain greeted us when we woke and after doing the rounds to catch up on the evening events we discovered one of our group had an injury. After receiving directions from the camp owners we dispatched the injured party to the Hospital and she received quick attention including a plaster cast for the broken ankle (Thankfully she had travelled to Assen in a car). It showed the importance of health cover whilst out of the UK, and luckily she had obtained the E1 11 form, so no hassle. Off to the Track and disasters everywhere. Rain was not expected and Chris Walker had taken a nasty bashing. The mechanics worked for hours fixing everything up, and there was speculation that he may not get to ride. Later in the day I was introduced to Natasha who was also going to be a Grid Girl for HMPlant, and Mandy took us through our jobs for Race day. Both Natasha and I were keen to be Grid Girls, and we took our responsibilities very seriously. The riders are under enough stress concerning the event, the last thing they need is an over zealous blonde jumping around like a spring. Back at the camp site and a night in Assen town had been planned. We all met in the town square and entertainment from bars, disco’s and even a curtain sided lorry with a live band playing in the streets followed. The atmosphere was buzzing and warm hearted.

Sunday 7th Sept:
This was it… The day I would be on the Grid. I didn’t really have time to think about doing anything wrong because it all went so quickly. Mandy gave us a final rundown and then we had an hour to spare. We decided to go over to the spectator’s side with our umbrellas. The welcome we received from the fans was fantastic. I felt like a film star, with strangers asking for photos, and thanking us for making their day. I had a taste of fame, and I loved it. Back in the garage and it was time to make our move onto the grid. Mandy accompanied us for the first race, and we knew the drill for the second. It’s hard to put into words the way it feels on the grid. Everything is so busy, with mechanics doing their final checks and camera crews everywhere. You have to keep a keen eye out for bikes, roaming reporters, and camera men backing into you. At the same time the rider needs his drink, hat, sun glasses, and shading from the sun rays. Smiling was the easy bit. I must say that I noticed a different side of the racing on this trip. I saw a lot more of the pressure that the competitors are under. The way they struggle to stay relaxed. Neil himself said that he lost the first race due to being so tense.

When he gained the World Championship in the first race, with a second place to Xaus he must have relaxed and then went onto win the second. My feelings were with James Toesland on the first race, and the second. I had been his Grid girl on the first race and when he made one small mistake, in the final lap, I felt a small amount of the disappointment he must have experienced. The second was so unfortunate, with the tyre exertion, I almost cried. Chris has strength I will never understand. He must have been in so much pain after his crash on Saturday yet he still gave it his best and achieved a well earned 5th in the first and 8th in the second. Chris also did something very special for me. He was changing his knee sliders between races, and I asked what he did with them. He then went and found a marker pen, signed them Assen 2003 and his name, and said “You can have them”. I am so grateful to HMPlant for allowing me to experience such a fantastic day.  The bonus that I stood under the balcony that Neil Hodgson was on, as he held the World Champion Trophy over his head made it an experience that was priceless.

By Michelle Pye



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Cadwell TD 4 April 2004
Brand TD 27 Jan 2004
Annual Dinner Party 2003
Off Road Experience 2003
BSB Donnington 2003
WSB Assen 2003
Donington TD June 2003
March Newsletter 2003
BSB EasFund Raiser 2003
WSB Valencia 2003
Mini Moto March 2003
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Christmas Toy Run 2002
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Donington TD 14-09-2002
Wheelie School 08-09-2002
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Snetterton 15 July 2002
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Brands TD 14-02-2002
Mallory Park TD 13-02-2002
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Brands TD 07-11-2001
Brands TD 01-11-2001
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