Teifiside 16th April : 2017 Welsh Championship Round 1

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<p>Early start at 6.30am from Bwlch to head down to Cardigan for the usual season opener. Picked up Paul and the Cagiva (resplendent with new replacement Suzuki tank) and headed west. Unsurprisingly this was into thickening skies and a cold wind. A pretty packed paddock at what must have been a record entry for Teifiside, with around 100 solos and 16 sidecars entered into what is the most westerly of scrambles. It’s 1h45 minutes for me and a lot longer for others, including Karl Stevens who’d picked himself up off his death bed to make the trip from Bedford.  For a change Kevin hadn’t managed to park right next to the burger van, and his new ‘camping trailer’ was looking good against some of the 40k camper vans.  Tredegar engineering at it’s finest, standing up to the rain and brisk wind coming in for the west.</p>

<p>Starting another season is a chance to show off your winter time work in the garage and then thrash it round the field. Quite a few people changing classes and trying something different for the 2017 season, which made sorting the results out a bit more challenging than normal. Some new faces and some returners all making the relatively long trek down to Penparc. What’s nice is good to see the camaraderie in the paddock with genuine interest in machines, kit and predictions for the season. All bollocks of course, but great fun mixed in the energetic kicking over of bikes. </p>

 

<p>Some widening on the track and a less convoluted layout for sidecars actually resulted in a great course for solos and the rain during practice and for some of the initial races in the first block actually made the conditions perfect for the rest of the day. The more you race at the small Penparc circuit, the more you like it. The off-cambers and relatively rough nature of the track make it challenging but also great for racing of which there was plenty of day. One of the features of Teifiside is the commentary, really nicely put and usually 1 or 2 races ahead or behind of the racing actually taking place, but excellent. Kyle Noble and fellow youg Teifiside member made an absolutely great job of the start, which ran well all day. </p>

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Cake stall saw as much action as the track did

<p>Of the racing itself, Rhys Edwards (Twinshock), Kris Winder (pre74 under 250cc), Vince Hale (pre68 under 350cc) and Chris Chell (pre68 over 350) managed to win all 3 races and score 75 points towards the championship (based on the new scoring system for 2017). Kris Winder on the Chris Lewis prep’d Honda Elsinore was untouchable, and in turn 2nd placed rider Ben Weaver was well ahead of the next rider.  Chris Lewis rode well on his own Elsinore and got 3rd in the points table. With his CZ last seen being energetically being pushed around the paddock, William Guest was out on the very nice 1973 250cc Husqvarna and after some slowish starts got on the gas and got 4th overall on the day. One bike that surprisingly did start was Guto Llewelyn’s  1974 Yamaha MX250, complete with pipe lagging and finished 5th overall, despite not running in race 1. MX250’s aren’t the lightest bikes and the money spent on it was a lot less than you would on an Elsinore, so an excellent ride from him. </p>

<p>Even more impressive was Guto’s ride out on Peter Lockwood’s Matchless in the pre60 / pre65 races, winning two of them ahead of Pete Hollinshead. The DNF with a magneto failure in race 2 held him back on the overall results, with Pete coming out on top, ahead of pre60 class stalwart. In the pre65 class, a welcome visit from Alan Arnott saw lead the class in two races, ahead of Andrew Davis on the twinport CZ. Peter Lockwood has found power and performance from the DOT and made an excellent start to the season. After missing the start of race 1, and falling off in race 2, Dai Walker on the BSA didn’t get the best results but with only 4 pre65 entries on the day, it was a slow start for one of the more popular classes.  The pre68 up to 350cc class was well supported, and being in the same race as the pre74 250’s made it one of the more competitive on the day. Vince Hale on the BSA dominated, with Andrew Owen on the 250cc bolt-up Husqvarna taking two 2nd places. Geoff Taylor on the CZ got 2nd in the first race but failed to get off the line for race 2. Malcolm Herbert got 3rd overall, and after a good race 1, lots places in the other two moto’s after challenging Andrew Owen in race 2. </p>

<p>The over 350cc pre68 and over 250cc pre74 combined race had the smallest entry of the day, and whilst the first two moto’s were led by ‘out of class’ Kris Winder and Ben Weaver, it was Chris Chell who was the star, making a welcome return from his serious accident and proving he still has the pace. Good to see him back. With John Cash missing Teifiside and Jon Randall not riding this season (he might yet change his mind, he was visiting whilst spending the weekend nearby), two newish riders made an impact. Alan Harris and Keith Roden, both CZ mounted score good points, as did Glyn Drake on an Yamaha MX360, who got a well place 2nd in class in the third race. </p>

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<p>The sidecars were well supported with 16 on the line and provided some great racing for the spectators, however the crash on the start straight in race 2 meant injuries for 4 riders, a busy time for the paramedics and the arrival of the air ambulance. A longer than planned lunch break, but an excellent job by everyone involved with due care and attention which was great to see and nobody was concerned about the delay to the schedule. It gave everyone a chance to sample the delights of the cake stall, supplied and run by Connie Walker to support the Welsh Classic MX des Nations team for 2017. </p>

<p>The Pre78/Twinshock race was well supported and Rhys Edwards won all 3 races,  hotly pursued by what looks like a competitive pack of riders. Weavers’ Sam and David were both Maico mounted weren’t too consistent, but Anthony Guest, in 2nd place for the last 3 seasons, got off to a consistent start and lies in 2nd place, ahead of Dylan Davies and John Tilson who both had consistent rides. In the pre78 class, bike failure in race 2 meant that James Edge got two class wins, with Steve James winning the first race (before heading home for a night out ?). Paul Prosser had 3 consistent rides to lead the class table after round 1. </p>

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<p>In the aftermath of the sidecar incident, it’s been interesting to see some of the press coverage in Wales. Easter Sunday isn’t the busiest day for news, so following on from the disappearance of a 90 year old sailor in Cardigan, the air ambulance call-out Penparc was item #2 on both evening and night time Wales Today news.  Subsequent follow up calls from the local newspapers mentioned people in the crowed being injured, but of course they’ve assumed that the women casualties wouldn’t have been riding. The good news is Samantha Harris, Chris Huntley, Katrina and Steven Jones were not as badly injured as first thought. For sure, it was a racing incident but something that is difficult to explain to people not familiar with the sport itself. </p>

<p>For myself, the rear end of the 360 Bolt-Up gave up during practice and it seems that the part Dai found on his field after my practice session there was important (rear swingarm spacer) and the rear end vibration was significant. So, the XT500 got a run out after a new engine got put in on the Friday. It ran well for all 3 races, though it takes some getting used to with the best result in the last race with a great battle with Paul Prosser after a relatively rapid start. Needs a newer rear tyre as getting the power down was difficult at times, especially in 2nd gear away from the line. In the pre68 up to 350cc race, ran really well in with the pre74 250’s on the Hallman framed Husky. Surprisingly good result in race 1 after a relatively slow start and finished 8th from 17 based on the tactic of doing the whole course in 2nd.  You rev the nuts of it in places, and maybe I still too much in tune with riding the Automatic Husky.

 

 

 

 

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