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Pan Celtic Magnum Opus - "Just Dandy"

Having just won the inaugural Manila Grand Prix in 1970, my father was asked about his car by a journalist from the Manila Times. “Just dandy,” his reply. Cue much piss taking when I found this cutting amongst his racing memorabilia. His race number was 45. Later I raced this number when taking part in the Western Cape motorcycle championship in South Africa, and it has kept cropping up. My nephew, unaware of its significance, was allocated this number when he signed his first professional contract with Brighton and Hove Albion. It was also the street number of the care home where my father died earlier this year.

My parents were avid explorers and fanatical cyclists, touring into their 70s. My fathers physicality deserted him following a serious stroke a decade ago and my mother is now considering a 3-wheeler late in her 80s to keep cycling. So, you can imagine they have been enthusiastic supporters of my Pan Celtic racing over recent years.

Although I am relatively inexperienced compared to many, having started and completed three of the four long Pan Celtic races to date, I’ve learned a lot about preparation and racing such epic distances. Dominant and towering above all lessons is to ensure a strong sense of intrinsic motivation. With this, almost any hardship can be endured. Trying to prove something to others? Forget it.

Dad lived long enough to encourage me to sign up to the Magnum Opus (no convincing needed really) and I hope that instead of dot watching this year, he’ll be sitting on my shoulder, enjoying the toil, highs and lows alongside me first hand. This will be my motivation in this final year - I’m going to do everything I can to honour his sense of adventure and indomitable spirit. If I do somehow fall short, well, that will be on me, not him! Bring it on …..


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