It’s been a week since the excellent Narberth 2-Day meeting for 2016, and that’s been a long time. Not only the EU referendum has taken place, but I’ve hosted 30+ colleagues in Crickhowell all week and now find myself writing this in San Francisco. Wales got hammered by the All Blacks, but got past Northern Ireland and into the last 8 at the Euro’s. It makes the racing from last week seem a distant memory already, so important that I write it down now. Partly to avoid falling asleep to early (and the jet lag implications) but partly so I remember some of the details.
The week prior to Narberth had seen me spend 4 days working in London and I managed to dive on the 13h45 from Paddington and then get Tamara to pick me up in Abergavenny so we could finish loading the van. It absolutely hammered it down, but around 19h00, Paul Prosser and I headed off in convey, with Tamara and Harry in the van with me, off to West Atherton Farm with the promise of a good weekends racing. Not so much rain in West Wales, which was good and there was a healthy contingent already camped out in the field. We parked 100m or so from Kevin and the Tredegar contingent, partly to be nearer the start and partly for flat group for camping. As darkness settled, Tamara and Harry put up the tent, whilst I put up the LED lights for the pop-up gazebo, as well as getting the record player up and running. Some music and beers with Kevin and it wasn’t a late night as I headed for the lilo in the gazebo and probably my best night sleep of the week. The only interruption was from Harry putting air back in to his and Tamara’s air bed, which had a leak.
This year it was the turn of the Icelandic flag to be raised over the Bwlch / Llangynidr pits (after Angola last year) and the temptation to the raise the EU flag was resisted. A strong riding contingent including the usual suspects. However good to see Lee Robins’ out on his JAP, his first race meeting since 1972. Saturday was a ‘fun’, non-championship day and the race schedule was interesting and accommodated the Stuart Davis Memorial event, which was open to invited Evo and Modern riders. All races 5 laps, with 7 laps for the memorial events, which proved to be about the right length. The Twinshock races were split above and below 250cc and as well as a pre68 race, the pre74 class was split by age; above and below 50 years old.
Saturday started dry and sunny and stayed that way, belying the forecast. Got the bolt-up out for a test run in the pre68 race and the track was in excellent condition and the bike, once started, was going really well. The club had changed the start to run along the bottom of the paddock field and it provided firmer ground, a good run to the first left hander and something different.
Good entries all day, with over 30 on the line for the Memorial races, but the pre74 over 50 years old races were all excellent (my opinion) and provided close racing between myself, Paul, Dai and Kevin. Race 1 saw Kevin on the CanAm take the initiative to sit in 3rd behind Andy Carter who was exercising his CZ prior to the classic MX des Nations. Kevin did take a tumble, allowing Paul Prosser to get ahead and with Dai Walker over taking me on the last lap and a restarted Kevin getting a wheel in front on the line, it was close racing. Race 2 was also close, though Dai pulled up with an ignition problem on the BSA, though Kevin on the Can Am managed to stay on for a solid 2nd place. Paul kept ahead of me for all 5 laps, with me not finding a way past him.
The 3rd pre74 race saw Paul take a tumble on the 2nd corner whilst battling it out with Andy Carter, who was getting the hang of the CZ. He managed to avoid getting hit himself, though the Cagiva fuel tank was less lucky and ended up with a banana shape to it. Not the best given the unobtainable nature of Cagiva twinshock parts. David Weaver came out for this race, with Mark Evans on Kevin’s Can Am, with Kevin on the YZ400. Not exactly pre74, but made for some great racing, with Kevin easing up at the end to give Andy Carter another win. I managed a 3rd, with Mark behind.
The classes on the Saturday, whilst I had some initial concerns really worked for some classes. True, the pre74 up to 50 years old was less well attended, but the Twinshock cc split (above below 250cc) worked well. For the older pre74 gits the racing proved to be close and interesting.
Sunday’s racing reverted to the standard Welsh Championship format, based primarily on machine age. A few more people turned up, but unfortunately the weather also reverted to the classic West Wales type; light rain turning to heavier as the day went. The decision to water the track on Saturday proved to be overkill as the rain came in early on Sunday. Another trip this year into Narberth for fish and chips and a quick pint before heading back to the live music in the field. Rockabilly, however mild is one of the rare musical genres that doesn’t float my boat so after a couple of beers and some discussion, I headed off for a nights sleep in the van.
In the slippery conditions, Andy Carter got back on the Jawa to score maximum points in the pre60 class, winning all 3 races (which were wisely reduced to 4 laps). The tricky conditions suited Mick Maskelyne who had two good races and Derek Brice who managed two seconds, only ending up third behind Steve James who took a while to get the Metisse on song, having arrived after Saturdays racing. On the bolt up Husqvarna, my formed from Saturday continued with two fourths and a third. Gave Guto Llewellyn a run out on the Husqvarna and he went well before falling off on the 3rd lap.
The Pre68 350cc and pre74 250cc races were combined and Ben Weaver won all 3 races getting maximum pre74 points, ahead of the pre68 contenders, Mitchell Harris and Phil Anslow. William Guest got an excellent 2nd place in the last race with some great riding in what was becoming pretty poor conditions. Some consistent riding from Sam Gittoes and Glenn Morgan all afternoon made for good points and reward for getting soaked and plastered in mud.
John Cash won all three in the pre68 unlimited and pre74 over 250 combined races ahead of both Mitchell Harris (pre68) and Jonathan Randall (pre74) . Notable rides for the afternoon included those from Nathan Jones on the 400 4-speed Husqvarna and Ian Fenwick on the CZ, both of whom score lots of points towards the championship on an afternoon which made you wonder why you went racing.
Kyle Noble continued from his superb form at Teifiside and won all 3 races ahead of Anthony Guest, Dylan Davies and Nigel Davies, all of whom pushed him hard. A tough
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