You come over the hill at top speed and you’re right on Hell’s Bells. It’s a twitchy bend. Not much traction. The exit onto the home straight is no less treacherous. On the gas too early and you’ll be tossed.

It’s the final race of the season. What only Pierce and I know is it’ll be his last. ‘Get out on top,’ he says. Besides, he’s going to be a father—another of our secrets.

I’m watching the final laps from the garage. He closes fast on Marco Scicluna. Pass him and the title will be Pierce’s. They feel each other out—different lines, different styles. Going into Hells Bells Pierce goes low, brakes screaming red hot. His back wheel slides. Then grips. Then slides again. Scicluna slips back through. Pierce loses the front now. His machine bucks wild. It throws him half-way off. Somehow he straddles it at the edge of the tarmac and wrenches it back—guns it down the straight. But Scicluna’s long gone. As the pit-crew’s faces drop I only want to run to him. I want the last two laps to be over. I want him with me.

One lap on Scicluna hits the rubble from Pierce’s near miss, and flips. The garage erupts. Next door Scicluna’s girlfriend stares in horror at the screen.

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