5 Days In Korea
Ray, Harry, Martin, Ferg and myself (Hal) returned from the USA in early May uncertain of the future of Red Hook Crit (RHC) and facing a long cold winter in Melbourne.
At this stage dates for any future RHC events had not been announced and we were on the lookout for track bike crits we could race. We had heard about King Of Track (KOT) in Korea but again, a 2018 date hadn't been announced. We were essentially in a holding pattern.
Finally KOT announced a date and immediately Kevin from Engine 11 and Haeng, KOT Director asked if we were coming. We didn't have much time to get organised but in the space of 24 hours we got ourselves sorted and locked it in!
This would be our first time racing in Asia and we were excited.
For Ray and I, we have always seen the racing and the brand as an avenue to see the world with our bikes. Luckily we can have good friends and teammates Harry, Ferg and Martin involved in this journey.
The unknown of travelling and racing overseas is something that always makes me nervous. We don't know the level of competition, if anything goes wrong we are a long way from home and there is potential for us to not perform how we would like personally.
September 5th we met at the airport and boarded a plane to China where we would meet Martin.
Martin decided to save $200 on his tickets so he was enjoying a nice 15 hour layover in China.
I slept all 9.5 hours of our first flight and was feeling pretty good when we arrived to greet Martin. He was in good spirits considering and the airline had given him a complementary hotel which made his stay feel a little less long.
A few hours later we jumped on a flight to Korea. I was over it by this stage but again slept most of the way.
We saw our American friends Alvin and Ginger in Korea and caught the bus to Goyang where KOT was and where we would be staying.
That evening, tired and very hot we got the train into Seoul for the race pre-party and some dinner. After seeing everyone and exploring a few streets we headed back to Goyang and finally went to sleep.
Our first full day in Korea consisted of a group ride at 10am, a 2 hour coffee stop, then some course recon in the afternoon. A lovely introduction to the area and the people.
Always busy. Always hard. Always nerve-wracking. Hopefully always successful.
Make sure you watch the video below to see how the day unfolded but in short it was a fantastic event that we all thoroughly enjoyed. Some of us had better luck than others but that is sometimes just racing.
We all ended up qualifying for the final. Ray and Ferg taking the long way there through the Never Die Race which Ferg won and Ray took 2nd. Martin and Ray both crashed in qualifying, Ray pretty hard. Ferg had a mechanical. Harry and I had luck on our side and didn't have any issues.
Because of their bad luck in qualifying, Ray, Ferg and Martin were up against it trying to make their way to the front of the race in the Final.
Harry and I stayed towards the front and tried our best to get a result for the team.
I was lucky enough to roll across the finish line in 3rd and Harry in 8th.
KOT is a great event run by great people.
Thank you to everyone who has helped us get to KOT and everyone who made our trip a great one. See you next year!
Full Race replay starts at 2:34:00