Earning an Olympic Gold medal requires dedication and sacrifice—something Amy Williams and Victoria Pendleton know all too well. In 2006, Williams failed to qualify for the Torino Winter Olympics. The runner-turned-skeleton racer didn’t' let that setback stop her pursuit of glory, though. Four years later, the Bath native not only made the national team but also captured the first British individual gold medal in 30 years at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Pendleton displayed the same tenacity throughout her athletic career. Nicknamed “Queen Victoria” the cycling phenom took home the gold from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. When London hosted the Games in 2012, Pendleton represented her home nation with a gold and a silver medal. Once she hung up her Lycra suit, Queen Victoria successfully competed in horse racing.
With Williams’ head-first attitude and Pendleton’s two-wheeled and equestrian experience, it’s no surprise that the two medalists have taken to motorcycles. On the other hand, the Bennetts Bike Social track day that welcomed Pendleton and Williams is full of surprises. With Isle of Man TT (IOMTT) racing legends Peter Hickman and John McGuinness providing instruction throughout the day, the event puts world-class riding coaches at the participant’s disposal.
Of course, there’s no better duo to lead the Olympians around the Donington Park Circuit. Between Hickman and McGuinness, the Bennetts coaches boast 32 IOMTT wins. That’s experience that neither Williams nor Pendleton squanders during their inaugural track day.
Riding Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RRs, the pair don’t lack the power to circulate the course at a peppy pace. What they do lack, however, is confidence. Just like any first-time track rider, the raceway atmosphere can intimidate newcomers during the first few sessions. Gold medal or no gold medal, both Pendleton and Williams admit that they only gained comfort and confidence as the day wore on.
For any riders participating in their first track day event, it’s reassuring to see such accomplished athletes struggling with emotions and sensations that all of us mere mortals suffer. At the end of the day, though, Williams and Pendleton prove just how rewarding taking on such daunting tasks can be.