book 3 Gaby Title.jpg
Part 89

On Ilkley Moor Baht 'at

We got out of the car, waited for Dad to lock up then walked along to the splendiferous establishment that is 'The Star of Bengal' restaurant! Looking through the window, it looked pretty full but Dad led us inside where we waited but moments before one of the waiters came over.

"I think so Mr Bond, wait a moment please?"

Chandi disappeared and I felt a nudge in my ribs, turning Brit whispered by my ear.

"What is this place?"

"What do you mean? It's an Indian restaurant of course"

"When your Dad said we were going Indian, I thought like Native American?"

Before I could go on Chandi came back.

"Please to follow me Mr Bond"

We followed him to a table near the rear of the restaurant where his brother Ran was waiting to help seat us.

"Would you like drinks?" Chandi asked as he handed out menus

"Just water for me, kids?"

"Coke please" Jules requested and the rest of us agreed on that choice.

I knew what Dad would have and was pretty sure of my choice.

"Er Drew what is all this stuff, chicken jal, jalfrezzy, pompadous?"

"Well it's curries and stuff"

Dad must have overheard.

"You two are okay with this aren't you?"

"Yes," Deb replied, "it's just at home you don't get like this choice. It's either chicken or beef, hot or mild. There's a place in Augusta that's supposed to do this stuff but we've never been."

"In that case," Dad was warming to his task, "I think you need the works! That okay with you two?" he asked Jules and me.

"Sure" Jules replied non-committaly

"I guess so"

Chandi chose that moment to arrive with the drinks.

"Are you ready to order, ladies, sir?"

"The girls here have never sampled your fine wares Chandi so I think we'll have the set meal for five." Dad advised

"Bhaji's or samosa?"

"Can we have half and half?"

He scribbled on his pad

"Er can I have a peshwari please" I mentioned

"So we have set meal for five, mixed starters and one peshwari naan"

"Best make that two" Dad told him

"Two peshwari." Chandi then trotted off to the kitchen.

"This place is amazing" Brit stated looking around.

Well I guess if you've never been to an Indian restaurant before it might seem a bit out there! The whole place is a bit OTT. The walls are covered in murals of Indian life, the Taj Mahal, all that sort of stuff with loads of pot plants (no not 'pot' plants!), lanterns an' that with a backing track of bangra playing over the total. I've been a few times before but I think Mum and Dad come here pretty regular, when Mum's home of course.

You don't need me to tell you too much about the meal, well okay a bit then! We got those big crispy popadoms with the pickles while we waited for the starters proper, the look on Deb's face when she got a mouthful of lime pickle! Then we shared the onion bhaji's and Samosa's, so far so good!

Then the fun! Chandi and Ran brought out the dish warmers and started to fill the table with dishes, plain and pilau rice, chicken jalfrezi, beef madras, lamb korma, chicken tikka masala, vegetable curry and naan bread, oh and of course me and Dad's peshwari naan's. Phew! Everyone had a bit of everything, mild, hot, sweet, sharp and by the time we finished everyone was pretty stuffed! I never seem to get as far as a dessert, one day!

"Everything alright Mr Bond?"

"Yes thanks"

"All the young ladies enjoy?"

"Great thanks" Deb offered

"Yeah that thing with the coconut, um-um!" Brit mentioned

Dad paid the bill and we spilled back outside into a warm but dark Warsop evening.

Saturday. I got my training ride in before breakfast and was showered and into my jeans before the girls were even out of bed! Another one of those warm but overcast days was on the cards according to the telly but for now at least the sky is almost clear.

"Urgh, I shouldn't have eaten so much" Brit complained

"That'll teach you sis" Deb had surprisingly little compassion for her sister!

"You won't be wanting breakfast then?" I mentioned

"Just juice for me" Brit requested

I got her juice and we both went out back to sit in the sun for a bit.

"Twice yesterday"


"Yeah twice people thought you were a girl"

"I'll give you that time at the 'Graves' but where was the other one?"

"In the restaurant?"

"Did not!"

"That Chan guy, he did. When we were leaving he asked how, what did he say now, oh yeah, 'the young ladies enjoy'. No mention of young man"

"You're dreaming!"

"Am not, neither's Deb"

"Well so what if he did? Like Mad said, it's not exactly a rare occurrence"

"All the guys I know back home would go ape shit"

"Well I'm not 'all the guys' am I"

She shook her head.

"So you guys have Saturday chores?"


"You know like jobs you have to do to get your allowance?"

"Oh right, no, not really."

"So if we weren't here, you'd just hang with the guys?"

"Well unless I'm racing." I checked my watch, "bum, Mad'll be here soon!"

I don't want to talk about the rest of the day! Two words cheer leader! Mad has gone cheering crazy.

"Come on Drew, you did it yesterday"

"That was yesterday"

"Yeah but no ones gonna see you round here"

"No but..."

"So you can join in!" she enthused

"I guess so"

So against my better judgement I spent most of the day with Sab, Brit and Mad making an arse of myself! I suppose I did sort of enjoy myself, I did keep getting an armful of Mad when turned the wrong way or tripped over her own feet!

"I'm bushed" Mad exclaimed

"I never said it was easy" Brit advised

"Well I think Drew should be in the squad" Sab dropped into the conversation.

"No way!"

"I agree, it would even the numbers too" Brit stated

"There is absolutely no way I'm being in your stupid cheerleading team! Get Jules or Deb or someone."

"But we want you" Sab whined

"And you know most of the moves already" Mad mentioned

"I've got to clean my bike for tomorrow"

"Spoilsport!" Mad pouted

Dad had got Sunday planned to the nth degree! First my race at Harrogate showground then in the afternoon a walk before coming home again. Jules managed to wheedle herself and Debbie out of the trip, but Mad and Sab had 'volunteered' to come instead.

With a couple of hours drive north and a ten o'clock race start, Dad insisted on a six thirty start, urgh! We picked the girls up and we headed out to the A1 along the almost traffic free lanes.

"Hey they've got numbers on" Sabrina exclaimed as a couple of cyclists flashed across the Five Lane Ends island in front of us.

"The North Mid's hundred" Dad mentioned

"You mean like a hundred miles?" Brit asked

"Yep, I think they've done about fifty miles when they get here"

We passed one or two more as we headed towards the motorway at Blythe

"That would take me forever!" Mad informed us

"Well five hours would be 'evens'" I advised

"What's 'evens'?" Sab asked

By this time we were on the motorway and Dad had us up to 70.

"Twenty miles an hour." I explained, "for ten miles like Tuesday it takes half an hour at evens so Mad's twenty-nine is nearer to twenty one miles an hour."

"You mean those guys back there are riding for like five hours?" Brit enquired

Dad chuckled, "no, Britney, most of them will only be going for about four and a half, the fast ones less than four."

"That's like twenty five an hour?" she gasped

"I can't imagine riding that far, that quick." I put in

"Your mother often does" Dad mentioned

"Yeah but it's different in a bunch"

"Well she did four twenty something for a hundred before she had you"

We made good time on the quiet motorway and seven thirty found us at Ferrybridge. Dad pressed on and the three girls dropped off, the early start finally taking its toll on the threesome. Dad eased the speed; we were making good time. Past the York turn off then around Wetherby before we reached the A59 Harrogate turn, the morning haze lifting a little to reveal the rolling Vale of York around us.

The girls started to stir with the change in engine tone and one particularly bad pothole shook them fully awake.

"We there?" Brit yawned

"About another twenty minutes" Dad advised

"Twenty minutes?" Sab asked

"Till we get there" I told her

"Oh" she turned back to snuggle against the door.

We got caught at all three sets of lights in Knaresborough before crossing the Nidd and climbing into Harrogate. Mad spotted the sign for the Great Yorkshire Showground and five minutes later we were following a concrete roadway around the site. We weren't the only car heading in, there were a couple in front loaded with several bikes each and at the top of the hill, the car park was already host to maybe a couple of dozen more and it was not much past eight thirty!

Perhaps I should tell you why we'd just driven nearly a hundred miles this early on a Sunday morning. Today's event is the Yorkshire Open Circuit Race Championship incorporating the North of England Schoolboy/girl Championships. There are similar events on for the Southeast, Southwest, Central and Northwest regions. The best riders today then get to fight out the National title in a fortnight, this year that's on the Eastway circuit in north London. So instead of maybe a total of thirty under sixteen's riding, today some age bands would have more than that as riders were coming from Newcastle in the north, all of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and a few borderline cases like me from Notts and Derby's. We could have ridden the Midlands event but in truth I preferred my chances up here! And anyway my club is registered with Lincs Division.

Dad got my bike ready and then we all walked along to the race control. Dad and the girls went into the exhibition hall, which for today was transformed into changing and officials areas. I joined the queue for the bike check and shivered in the cool breeze as I waited my turn. I didn't recognise any of the other riders, that's good, they won't know my tactics!

I watched as each bike was given the once over, tyre check, saddle, brakes, bars then the gears and finally the backwards roll to check the gear size. Most of the bikes passed with no comment, everyone does their own check first, and failure to get a pass will mean no ride! There was a big lad a couple in front of me, from his accent he was from Newcastle direction and his bike failed the gear check, he'd taken a gamble and failed.

"But it passed last week man!"

"Well it's over the limit lad, get it sorted then come see me again"

"Oh man, queue again like?"

"No come straight down, I'll only need to do your gears again"

He rushed off muttering under his breath.

What if mine fails? Even the wrong tyres could put you over the gear limit! Then it was my turn, the checker ran through the list, tyres, saddle, brakes, bars, quick release then a run through the gears. Everything was perfect. Last hurdle the gear check, he lined my crank up and wheeled along the chalked line, it's gonna be close, but as he stopped at the line, my crank stopped exactly on the line.

"By 'eck lass, you couldn't get much closer than that!" he announced, "here you go, you'll need this to sign on and good luck lass"

Grrr! One day!

I parked my bike in the designated area and went inside where Dad and the girls were waiting.

"Pass okay?"

"It was right on the line, one lad went over in front of me"

"Well you'd best get signed on then, we'll get a drink while you get sorted out, girls?"

"I'll stay with Drew" Mad advised

"Okay, we'll be in the cafeteria along at the end."

Another line to join! I got to the front of the queue.

"Race?" the woman behind the table asked

"Under thirteen's"

"Licence and bike ticket please lass?" she requested, I passed them over. "Here you go" she passed a clipboard over which I took and signed against my name, number thirty-one.

"Number thirty one" she checked through a pile of numbers and gave it to me, "good luck lass"


"It's a good job Brit and Sab aren't here" Mad pointed out

"Yeah, that's twice this morning, the bloke doing the bikes called me lass as well!"

"Come on let's get you ready"

It was nine fifteen when we found the others in the canteen place watching a big screen that occupied one wall.

"Hey Drew this is pretty cool, the circuit goes right past and they'll be showing it live in here too" Brit enthused

"You ready son?" Dad asked

"I hope so"

"Remember what your Mum's told you. Now be careful out there, its fairly narrow and there's a bit of damp still down at the bottom in particular."

"Good luck Drew" Sab gave me a smacker on one cheek then Brit matched that on the other.

"Do it for me Drew" Mad told me then planted one direct on my lips much to my surprise.

"Er right" I managed when she let go

"Come on you two" Dad broke the moment, "good ride Drew, we'll see you out there."

With cleats clacking on the concrete floor I headed outside, strapped my helmet on, rescued my bike and headed towards the warm up holding area. Mine wasn't the first race; the first event started at nine for the combined 11's and 12's, half an hour plus a lap. For the little uns that meant about eleven or twelve of the one-kilometre laps around the showground roadways. My event is forty minutes plus one so at evens that'd be maybe sixteen laps, if the pace was a bit higher it could go to twenty or so!

I joined the circling riders just riding around to keep warm then after what seemed an age one of the officials came over.

"Under thirteen's. You've got ten minutes on the circuit, stop when you're told"

With that he opened the barrier and for the first time I got a look at the circuit. I took the first lap round nice and steady, checking out the corners and stuff. All around me the other riders were racing around, including I was not pleased to see, the big Geordie. The girls gave a cheer when I passed their chosen viewpoint; I waved back then got myself into race mode. The circuit was not unlike Sheffield except it was flatter and a fair bit narrower!

I checked out the other riders, forty-three in total and according to the start card, eleven of those were girls. So I could ignore them, they could all finish in front of me; it's the boys that concern me! Apart from 'Oz', he sounds just like, Jimmy Nail, there were maybe another dozen who looked a bit useful and seemed to know what they were doing. By their strips, three were from Scarborough and the others from York and Leeds. My usual sparring partners from My Lincoln races are all in the next race! I got in three laps before a marshal stopped us and race time was upon us.

We lined up across the roadway and listened to the commissar's instructions, the usual stuff about lapped riders except that the girls would be allowed to finish as they having their own race within the race. I thought back to when we saw Mum race in Germany for that championship; did she feel nervous like this? I guess she did but she looked so calm! I straightened myself up and looked down the line, they all looked as nervy as I felt but I did feel more confident by that small token.

Then we were off, a quarter lap neutralised to get settled and clipped in, then, at what I decided to call 'cheer' corner, the flag went down and we were off! The lads from Scarborough took off and by the bottom corner a distinct pecking order was in place. We bunched a bit on the long drag back up to the main straight but the pattern was already set. I moved myself up amongst the front runners, I noticed 'Oz' was doing a similar job, he nodded to me as we climbed for a second time behind the enthusiastic Yorkshiremen.

We did about six laps in similar style by which time the bunch was whittled down to about twenty, most of the girls were gone and apart from what I considered the 'A' squad the other lads looked all in just staying where they were.

"You must be Bond" it was Geordie 'Oz'

"That's me"

"I'm Josh Waugh"

"Hiya" I replied between pants

"You fancy having a go at this lot of pansies?"

I hoped they hadn't heard his comment, at least we were currently sat at the back of the lead group.

"What do you have in mind"

"Well like I was watching your Ma on the telly and she pulled a real smart move on that mountain stage."

"This is hardly a mountain" I pointed out as we crossed the line again.

"Well my Uncle Joe, he was dead impressed said I should try it today but I figured as you were here we could do a double attack thing"

"Okay I'm game, when?" we hurtled around the bottom corner, there was a bang and crash behind us, a quick glance saw bikes and bodies collecting against the straw bales! Phewee!

"Two laps time. You're only a squib so if you go they will probably let you have some space, I'll try to hold them up as well, then next lap I'll do the same, I'll get up to you then we can go all out for the finish."

"Fair enough" I resented being called a squib but hey! If the cap fits!

It was actually lap twelve after twenty-five minutes when Josh and I nodded to each other and I forgot to brake down the hill that propelled me to the front with Joe hard behind me. I kept the gear rolling as we started to climb; I could hear frantic gear changes as the rest realised that something was afoot. Josh dropped back letting me get clear, I heard him tell the others that I was a no hoper and to give me a bit of rope, I'd soon be back. I took a quick glance as I crossed the line and true to his word the big northerner was sat at the front keeping the hounds at bay.

"Go Drew go!"

"Go on son"

"Up, up, up!"

I tucked myself into a little bullet as I swept down the hill with about twenty metre's lead. The back markers were coming back towards me with some regularity and with a clear road I could pick a better line around the bottom corner and dug in on the climb. Another backward glance at the top confirmed that Josh was making his effort in front of a seemingly uninterested bunch. Odd!

I didn't dare ease off as I started yet another lap with ten minutes of race time left. Josh however was up to the job, two laps after my escape he joined me and we had about fifty metres of open road between us and a now more interested bunch.

"How did you get away so easy?" I puffed

"Told em I was fetching ya back like"

I shook my head and we started the tough job of consolidating our lead. On the downhill Josh tucked behind me and the up hill leg I let him drag us up.

"Ten seconds" Dad shouted when we next passed cheer corner, the girls shouting themselves hoarse. There were a few more people about now and we were getting a lot of support around the circuit.

At about two and a half minutes a lap we had a maximum of three laps left, a little over two miles! We didn't make any more impression next lap, in fact Dad shouted 'nine seconds!' as we passed. Then I saw our saviours fifty metres in front, a bunch of about ten back markers.

"Let's get in front of that lot, the bunch won't be able to see us then"

"That's a canny idea!"

They were still twenty metres away at the bottom bend but we both sprinted hard on the uphill and overtook the surprised and disappointed bunch. We eased off letting the back markers come back to us. Josh risked a look back.

"They seem to be confused"

"Excellent!" we did quick high, well low, five and concentrated on the rest of the climb. As we approached the line I could see an official ready to ring the one to go bell. I grabbed Josh and he looked around surprised.

"Let this lot past, they can finish then, we'll go round them down the hill."

He smiled and shook his head as I waved our saviours past.


We crossed the line about a length behind them then as soon as was safe we both sprinted back past them to a chorus of 'thanks! Cheers, go guys!' I'm not sure where Dad was getting his time checks but this time we got "twenty two lads, dig in."

The girls were heading towards the finish only stopping briefly to cheer us as we headed down hill for the last time. Only a complete catastrophe could muck us up now! We made the bottom curve and Josh moved in front to make the final climb, we were about half way up when there was an explosion in front of me.

"Shit man!" well that was the gist of what he said as we started to slow, "go on, we don't want to waste all this effort"

"Don't be daft, come on" I pulled along side and started pushing his bike by the saddle. He got the idea and with his back wheel banging along on the flat we made the top of the hill with the backmarkers closing fast and the Yorkshire Yakuza snapping at their heels. Everything seemed to go in slow motion then.

The two hundred flag came and went and a big guy started running along beside us shouting encouragement. I turned to check behind us, we could still make it!

"Come on Josh!" I shouted releasing his saddle and starting to wind up the pace again. I sensed more than saw Josh doing the same despite the flat.

The screaming and excited cheering filled my head as my attention was taken by the chequered flag.

"Drewbie! Drewbie!"

"Go Josh, go!"

Fifty metres! Mum said never look back, I didn't need to, I could hear the fast approaching bunch behind.

Out of the saddle, the bike took on a mind of it's own as I punched the pedals breathing out of the window and a red haze starting to form. Josh was still there but failing fast.

Twenty-five metres. I was into tunnel vision now. I could just make out Mad's hysterical "Nooo!" and then I was over the line! And freewheeling. I hung my head and started recovering some oxygen as a sea of riders swept me up and I had to concentrate on what I was doing again.

Half an hour later I was watching that same sprint finish in the cafeteria still in a state of shock. The girls were sat around me and Dad was stood with Joe Waugh and his nephew Josh. The cameras missed the blow out but picked us up as I pushed Josh up the last rise onto the flat. Josh did glance back; his uncle chided him as we watched things develop. I took off out of the saddle with Josh fighting his bike immediately behind. The bunch had now spotted us and became animated as we both took the straightest possible route to the line.

In the last fifty metres I started really pulling away from Josh as he seemed to zoom backwards towards the bunch. Someone at the front of the bunch realised that all of a sudden Josh was going to be in the way and started to ease very slightly. It was just enough to allow the now desperate Josh to get his wheel across the line just millimetres in front of one of the Scarborough lads before he finally lost the bike as the rear wheel skipped about, depositing him in an impressive series of somersaults onto the grass. (He got a few scrapes and bruises but that was all! Mind you his bike suffered a bit more!)

Meanwhile I'd crossed the line ten metres clear to take the North of England under 13 championship!

I snapped back to reality as the girls hugged me again.

"I have to say Dave, in all my years of racing I've never seen anyone do that!" Joe Waugh was telling Dad, "I've ridden against the pro's, all the big races and I've never seen anyone do something so unselfish. In fact you'd say the lad was daft but he still won!" he shook his head.

Then he came over to me.

"Drew lad, I thought youse was a girl at the start, but you've proved beyond doubt today that you're more man than most of so called stars. I think you've made a friend for life with young Josh here"

"He'd have beaten me in a straight sprint"

"That he might, but seeing that sprint of yours he would have been pushed"

I blushed as he shook my hand. Josh came over and after a quick "thanks Drew" threw his arms around me and gave me a bone-crushing hug.

"You're a good un Drew Bond, I won't forget this" he gripped his medal so recently received.

"Come on Josh, let's get you back home ta Geordie land!" Joe grinned, "bye Dave, girls, bye Drew"

"Bye Joe" Dad replied as our new friends left.

"Come on you lot, I think we've had enough excitement today."

Yeah and now they all know I'm a boy, male! Not Gaby but Drew.

When we went to collect my bike I was stunned. Just about everyone stopped and clapped with a few "way to go", "nice ride young un" and so on's thrown in. talk about embarrassed! The girls just kept hugging me and I ended up in the back with Mad and Brit, Sabrina took my usual front seat.

"Okay then" Dad started, "is our prodigy still up to a walk this afternoon?"

"I guess so"

Dad eased us out of the car park, nearly everyone waved or tooted, it was a relief to get clear and head back to the main road.

"Okay then we'll grab a quick bite, a short walk then we'll head back okay"

"Sounds fine Mr B" Brit replied.

We navigated around the impressive heaths and gardens of Harrogate before picking up the Skipton road onto the moors. A half-hour later we turned up the hill to the Cow and Calf rocks and our immediate destination Ilkley Moor. The car park was almost full; loads of people were up here to enjoy the views and just being out in the countryside!

"I thought we were eating first?" I queried

"We are, the snack bar does the finest bacon sarnies this side of our kitchen!"

Mad stifled a giggle.

"Bacon sarnie girls?"

"Sounds good to me" Sab agreed

"Sure" Brit mentioned

"I know you two will" he addressed Mad and me.

"Thanks Unc"

This time I started to snort at Dad's expression.

Ten minutes later we were sat devouring what I have to agree were pretty fine examples of bacon in a breadcake followed by some lovely traditional stodgy fruitcake! Heaven!

Afterwards we changed our footwear to boots; Sab borrowed Jules as she takes just a half size smaller. Then Dad led us off up the path in search of what he called 'treasure', some really impressive rock art, or so he claims. After a ten-minute walk, Dad led us up onto an outcrop looking over Ilkley town. He wasn't wrong; all the main surfaces were covered in carvings, cups, rings, lines and all manner of other stuff.

Ilkley rock art

We all took pictures before Dad took us further up onto the moor where we ended up just sat on the rocks over looking Wharfedale. Dad started humming and smiling I joined him. Mad picked up on what we were at and started singing in her bright tones.

"Where has tha bin since I saw thee?"

Dad and I joined in.

"On Il-kley Moo-oor baa tat"
"Where has tha bin since I saw thee? where has tha bin since I saw thee?"
"On Ilkley Moor baa tat, on Ilkley Moor baa tat, on Ilkley Moor baa tat"

We were all grinning like loons! The 'choir' managed another two verses before we all collapsed in hysterics, Dad included!

"Come on you lot, let's get back." Dad suggested

We made our way back to the car park and I reclaimed my front seat! Dad took us on over the moor and eventually down into the Aire valley and Leeds where we picked up the motorway. Once clear of Leeds we picked up the M1 and we made excellent time.

"There's Meadowhall" Mad mentioned as we joined the Tinsley Viaduct.

"Where we went shopping?"

"That's the one, and that's Sheffield proper over there" I pointed vaguely up the Don Valley.

From Meadowhall it's only a couple of junctions to the A57 to Worksop, Dad's preferred route home. Instead of dropping Mad and Sab off we went straight back to Chez Bond.

Maddy Bell 17.03.04 Secret © 2004

Want to Comment? click here Email me to Email me

Back to Chapter 88 On to Chapter 90 Back to The Library