Mick Smedley, returning 50cc racer and also an accomplished runner shares his other interest / life with our readers.
“Back in the mists of time, 1970 to be precise, I decided to finish my Motor Cycle racing career, which had filled my life for the previous 6 years, due to marriage planning for a family etc etc.
Leathers and machinery were all sold off, my helmet was retained and is currently, yes you've guessed it, in the loft.
In 1964 having hand built a 125cc BSA bantam from a frame found from the then disused Derby Canal, I progressed to being in the top 6 in the country. Then I was offered the chance to ride a locally built 8 speed Yamaha, the brainchild of Brian Woolley, a sock producer / jazz player of Shepshed.
Brian also had many other machines one of which was an ex-works West German Kreidler of 1961 vintage, which I also rode.
After a few seasons of mixed success I was given the chance to ride the Yamaha in the 1969 Ulster G.P. on the road circuit around Dundrod, just outside Belfast.
During this race, which included 2 days of practice also, I found myself pitted against the works machinery entered by world 50cc champions of West Germany's Kreidler, Spain's Derbi not to mention exotic bikes form Holland the worlds Mecca of 50cc racing at the time, which was quite an eye opener.
My lap speed was an average of 67 MPH which was up top for a private machine, however the works bikes were lapping the 7 mile lap at 81 MPH.
In 1981, having watched the first London Marathon on the television and missing the adrenalin boost of competition, I decided to try running with the aim of competing in the 1982 race, which I did ( 3 Hr, 36 Min ) Eventually running 2 Hr 46 Mins in 1986, after many, many, years of athletics the rest is history.
At the beginning of last year I heard from an ex - racing friend of mine ( motorcycle ) of some machines going for auction and guess what, yes, one was a circa 1978 50cc Van Veen Kreidler which had been quite successful in the Classic Championship in recent years, I couldn't resist the opportunity.
The machine which came with spares was a water - cooled 6 speeder which revved up to 16,000 RPM ( the rev counter starts at 8,000 RPM ), is capable in excess of 100 MPH on a good day - I bought it with an excited handshake.
So, that's it, after "46 years" this year I am racing again, which brings me to the number 46, yes it is the number used by the current Moto GP rider Valentino Rossi, which he has used since he first started racing. I am, together with many thousands of others a great follower of Valentino.
Don't get me wrong I don't profess to be a Rossi, but I wonder if he will be still racing, let alone running daily at the age of "68" ?