THE CV of sidecar racer Pat Giltenane is bursting with tangible achievements, but the moment he considers his finest was a race in which he was happy just to compete.
Earlier this year the Caherdavin resident, formerly of Croagh, took part in the Isle of Man TT, a world renowned event with a global TV audience of up to 16 million.
Pat was honoured to cross the finish line, an achievement he compares to climbing Mount Everest, adding that even just to get to the Isle of Man was a challenge.
“I was the fastest ever sidecar newcomer in the Isle of Man TT. When you’re going along country roads and mountains, 38 miles [race distance] is a lot. It was like climbing Everest. Just to finish the race is like winning a world championship, and to win the Isle of Man TT would be the equivalent of 10 world championships.
“It’s very expensive just to compete in the race. The regulations are very strict in terms of suspension, brake lights, brake pads and the like and we had to get our motors rebuilt.”
He went to the Isle of Man TT alongside trusted partner Aidan Browne, who fulfils the role of sidecar passenger. Pat says that the passenger has just as important a job as the driver and that a strong bond between the two is essential for sidecar racing.
“It’s like a marriage. You have to do your job and he has to do his. You’re relying totally on the lad behind you and you need to be 100 per cent confident in him.”
Pat’s roll of honour includes an ISCSC B Championship, a second-place finish in the Adelaide Masters, third in the 2012 Irish Superbike Championship and fourth in the Ulster Championship. His interest in motorsport began with karting in the 1990s and he represented Ireland in that field before moving on to sidecars.
Sidecar racing is considered highly dangerous but Pat knows and accepts the risks associated with it. As he puts it: “It’s like going up a cliff without a rope. There is no margin for error.”