Eventually I received my invitation to the Auto-Cycle Union's Awards Dinner, a black tie affair held in Northampton. I yikesed rather at this notion and bullied my rallying companion Howard into de-mothballing a suit and accompanying me.
And so it was that I spent Saturday evening surrounded by the leading lights of the British motorcycle scene - men and women who have dedicated their lives, and in some cases lost their limbs, to motocross, enduro, track and road. There were 18-year-olds there who were already veterans, having been riding since they were barely out of nappies.
There were so many trophies and medals, and even bikes, to be dished out that the awards were split between courses, or we would have starved to death. My bit came between the starter and the main course, which meant that I didn't enjoy the former as much as I might have done. But it all went off without incident: I mounted the platform, shook hands with the Chairman of the National Rally Committee (I had to kiss him, too, which none of the male prizewinners were required to do), blinked at the exact moment the photographer pressed the shutter, and sloped back to the table carrying my stupidly large cup. We slipped away after the coffee and mints for a well-deserved drink in the bar, and my moment of glory was over.
I haven't quite decided yet whether to go for the 2007 Rally. But I feel keener on the idea than I did immediately after finishing the last one.