Team Rider Matthew ‘Nobby’ Norris hooks up with World Superbike Rider Scott Redding!
So, through experience, I have learnt to always expect the unexpected but, during a race this summer at Hendstridge, I heard a voice that was oddly familiar. Turns out Scott Redding (World Superbike rider and British Superbike Champion 2019) also enjoys a spot of pedal power racing and is proving to be equally as talented without an engine. After striking up a banter based friendship, Scott invited me to ride the epic Coast-2-Coast route from St Bees to Robin Hoods Bay.
The route provides you with 160 miles of riding in one day! At this point I thought Scott liked me, but retrospectively after 14,000ft of climbing on some of the steepest gradients I’ve ever ascended, I’m pretty sure he had sussed out that I just can’t say no to a challenge. That ride was the single most physically and mentally challenging rides I have ever done, and will stay with me for many years. The climbing is extreme, but banter certainly helps you deal with the pain. Hard Knott pass is the first major climb on the route, a very famous climb, said to be the steepest road in England at 33%. This climb requires a large rear cassette with some nice easy gears, which I did not have! The first time in a long time, I had to put my foot down and then restart to finally climb to the top. A crazy long, steep climb which was a real experience in itself! Once over the climb the legs felt heavy and Scott and I took it in turns to suffer in and out of dark places. I am so pleased to have had such a great character by my side. At points, only ridiculous jokes, singing and talking to cows kept us going, funny looking back, but its whatever gets you through! We stopped at the halfway point for lunch. A chance to refuel and rest the legs for a short time. After that I regained myself and was then able to lend Scott a hand, as he suffered during the latter miles.
With non stop climbing and having to dip your wheels in the sea at both start and finish, the climb out of Robin Hood’s Bay at the end was almost a hill too far! It was dark, I had no lights, we ran behind schedule but my god was in good mental training. I pride myself in not giving up…well at least my wife always says that she knows I will never quit …her words of “don’t let me down Norris” went around my head many a time that day! Ride done and what a fantastic feeling!!!! So after that you would think I would have learnt my lesson, but it appears not. Scott’s next challenge was a ride from Bath to Portsmouth across on the ferry to the Isle of Wight, over the island to the furthest point of Freshwater Bay and then back the next day all on vintage bikes. We had to get ourselves a vintage bike costing no more than £80, yet another challenge. Bike sorted and off we set! This time Scott and I were joined by some of his team members, the pace was much more relaxed and it was nice to take time to enjoy just riding a bike. Sometimes you can get lost in the midst of training and racing and forget its all about riding your bike, having fun on two wheels. We had a fun ride and being on vintage bikes certainly brought an extra fun element, no electric gears or disc brakes, but immense fun the whole way.
Riding as a team group makes such a difference to team performance in my opinion, and I look forward to our team rides just as much as all the other more challenging rides I’ve done. I see myself very much as the workhorse of Primera-TeamJobs race team, we have some talented young riders with great futures and its great being part of the team. Hopefully all these extra physical and mental challenges will further my ability to go as hard as I can racing next season.
Big Thank You to Scott Redding for an amazing experience, great memories which will last a lifetime. Matthew ‘Nobby’ Norris