May 12th was cold, with the impending arrival of rain, so whilst it was good to head off racing to the Mid Wales Classic event, memories of the aborted trip to Narberth a month earlier still hung around. Mark and Kevin also made the trip to the wet field and soggy track. Quite a few people around and an excellent to see a lot of people of again, though the mood was subdued, probably because it was really cold (maybe 6-7 C).
Walking the track, it was clear some sections were going to be difficult to get through, let alone race on and so it proved in practice, with some of the off camber bends having to be taken out after a couple of sessions of carnage. There was only one line and if someone came off in it, then you couldn’t go round without sliding to the bottom of the slope where you were stuck.
I’d acquired an Yamaha RT2 the previous day and decided to take it out for practice. Nice looking bike and a rare old thing from 1972. A bit more motocross focused than the later and heaver MX’s. It had a few quirks including a badly slipping clutch which didn’t help matters. Anyway, first 250 race went off okay, despite my usual poor start, though I finished the over 250 race well down the field after problems with the 360.
Mark and Kevin went out in the twinshock race as normal, with Kevin on his recently built Honda XL500, which went well and left Mark well behind, to be lapped by Dan Evans and Rhys, who had an excellent battle for the lead for most of the race.
Same again in the second block of racing, though I stalled the 250 off the line, but still managed a finish, which the 360 throttle stuck open, so that is where the bike was then left. By now it had started raining and rather than continue, we had a long lunch break so we could get even colder and wetter and the time the last block had started, it was raining properly. Needless to say the last block was carnage, with probably no more and 5-6 finishers for all the 6 races, and in one race nobody manage to circumnavigate a now very slippery course.
Good to see another pre74 Yamaha (or infact two) on the line, with Phil Hibberds’ sons riding well in their races.
Bikes in van and back to Bwlch to warm up. Good to be racing again but didn’t have a massive spring of enthusiasm that I normally got from an early race in the season.
After a trip to Belgium during the week, to work , to deliver the RT2 and to pick up Husqvarna spares from Jef Bens, it had been a busy one. Next weekend arrived and I though I hadn’t planned to go racing because of other commitments with an empty Sunday, phoned up and decided to make the trip up to Chester.
Left Bwlch at 06h00 and after a beautiful drive up through Mid Wales on the A483, arrived at the track near Ruabon for just after 08h00. Not many people around, so walked the track with Trevor Hammond and then had a back roll and tea. Nice to sit down, on a sunny morning and talk bikes and racing with the Gittoes and others; this was more like it.
The RT2 was now resident in Belgium, so the MX250 and SC500 were in the van and both fired up without a problem. The other surprising thing I notice was the larger contigent of pre74 Yamaha’s that now existed in the paddock. There was an MX360, an SC500 and at least one MX250, as well as Chris Dudley’s two DT1 F’s with his son Adam riding well in the races. Dare I say it, but in the pre74 upto 250 race, there might have been more Yamaha’s than Elsinore’s on the line (surely a first).
Track was good and weather improving, so after doing three sessions of practice, was looking forward to racing. First 250 race was okay after an acceptable start, though the number of people on the line, made for an interesting battle for the holeshot. The over 250 race saw me do 3 laps in a battle with Sam Gittoes, before the bike simply expired just before the finished. It simply stopped. So with Dave Gittoes it was a push back to the van. Chester club had decided to run the two pre74 races back-to-back so it made it a challenge to get to the line in time, especially if you me, where you are not at the head of the field exactly.
The next block of racing was probably my best two races of the day, and in the 250 race got in front of a few people, who then passed me over the next 3 laps; track ws drying further and the two hills at the bottom of the circuit were developing some lines you could follow to keep tight to the corners.
After a short lunch break in the sun (and thanks Terry for the excellent rolls), back out for the last block of racing. The 250 race saw the most aggressive start of the day and ended up with me going over someone falling off an Elsinore in front on me; he got up, as did I and then managed to pass 5 or so other riders to get to my normal position 1 or 2 places behind Sam, but with some distance behind.
The MX250 went really well all day, with only a bent gear lever after the off that needs sorting. With the current set up, with the 1mm base gasket and no head gasket, think I’ve got a balance between power and reliabilty and now need to do the same with the SC500. The bike feels a lot heaving and I need to do something to get the geometry of the bike the same as the 250 and make it more comfortable to ride. It should be easier to ride, with fewer gears required each lap.
Anyway, faith restored in classic racing and British weather its time to plan for next weekend and the events at Teifiside and Tirley (3 counties). Let’s hope the weather stays good this week.