Neil Fachie waited six years to race again in the Lee Valley VeloPark – and his moment of London history was worth every second of patience.
Not since the London 2012 Paralympic Games had the Aberdeen rider strutted his stuff in cycling’s equivalent of the Theatre of Dreams, a raucous home crowd roaring him to victory.
Those stirring memories came flooding back as he and pilot Matt Rotherham sailed to tandem gold, with para-cycling taking place in a TISSOT UCI Track World Cup for the first time.
It’s little wonder, therefore, that plenty of parallels could be drawn on yet another night to remember on the bike.
“This is my first time back here since the Paralympics and I’ve got all these memories about how amazingly loud it was, and it seemed so long ago that you forget about everything else that goes with it,” he said.
“Just to come back and race in front of this crowd, to hear that noise again and be reminded of how loud it is in here and how great it is to ride in front of your home fans. It’s been a pretty special day.
“We were going really well, and we knew that as long as we were reacting well to whatever our opponents did the chances were we were going to be able to pass them.
“I rely on Matt’s tactical knowledge to know what the opposition is doing, and he played a blinder today, he got it perfect, and we were strong enough to come around them and get the win.
“I’d love it if we can make this a more regular occurrence to come back to World Cups and to more World Cups in London. These are the kind of days you want to get up and race your bike for.”
As a visually impaired rider, Fachie is supported by a guide in Rotherham – a sprint specialist who is no stranger to the Lee Valley VeloPark.
And that communication proved vital as the two ripped up qualification, automatically reaching the semi-finals before downing compatriots Alex Pope and Albin Geneix.
Then came the final, with Ireland’s Martin Gordon and Eamonn Byrne unable to stop the British pair from romping to gold in London.
Rotherham added: “We raced the Irish guys a couple of months ago and they caught us off guard. We still won but it was a really close race that one.
“We just wanted to make sure we were good with our observations and covering all the moves so that it was a nice clean race and not scrappy.
“Me and Neil love to get the crowd going a little bit. The crowd want to be entertained and I guess we gave that to them, we got a bit of noise going in the place,
“It was better to be nice and in control and to come out on top like that is even better.”
The next TISSOT UCI Track Cycling World Cup on UK boards takes place at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow from 8-10 November 2019. Sign up now at bit.ly/NextStopGlasgow to access tickets before they go on sale to the general public.