Hooray it wasn’t raining, so following the last trip to Cilfronydd two years before it wasn’t going to be a mud bath. On the contrary, with the dry spell continuing the track was being watered as Paul and I arrived on the Sunday morning. After a racing incident on Llantwit Major beach collecting fossils the previous day, my right ankle was twice it’s normal size and racing was therefore unlikely. I did give it a go, but failing to start the XT soon determined that no racing for me. Good news is that I got to watch most of the racing during a nice sunny day !
Hot and dusty was the order of the day and some competitive racing on a track that had seen some improvement recently, with a change of management, with some nice jumps and seemed well graded. A good entry of around 90 solos and 14 sidecars.
Eric Miles’ photos : https://flic.kr/s/aHskZcqjsw
Bethany Ford’s photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/114861915@N07/albums/72157681447324951
Youtube video: https://youtu.be/aamNUgjJFAQ
Some great racing with Pete Hollinshead (BSA A10), Guto Llewellyn (Matchless) and Dai Walker (BSA 440) taking the first 3 spots in all 3 races, but with Guto taking 1st place in the last race. Dai showed good form but only really challenged for 2nd in the first race, but at least he made the start line and didn’t fall off. Good see Barry Townend back in the field after his Maico flirtation at Teifiside. He made some good starts but ended up behind both John Pickering and Andy Carter. Andy missed the start of the second race and was a bit off the pace on the day. Peter Lockwood’s form on the DOT continued and very much on the pace in all 3 races.
It was a busy pre78 and Twinshock line, and Rhys Walker set the pace in Race 1 and 3, very much like he’d done at Teifiside. Indications are he’s going to make a season of it and good to have him winning races again. However a poor start, let visitor Dean Warren take the win on his Kawasaki. He had to battle past Sam Weaver’s on lap 2 (by battle, it was a passing move caught on video, rather than the Maico breaking down). Class stalwart Anthony Guest was in the mix in all 3 races, along with Paul Evans. Sam and Anthony ended up joint 3rd for the meeting, behind Rhys and Dean. Kevin Pettit and Lee Johnson were both out on the XT / TT600’s, Kevin’s purchased in Northern Ireland a couple of weeks ago, whilst Lee’s was shed built in a Husqvarna (best) frame during the winter. Both riders styled it up, but Kevin came out on top, though John Tilson continues to lead the way when it comes it 4-stroke twinshock power.
With Malcolm’s injury and no James Edge, Paul Prosser eased the Cagiva round for maximum pre78 points, in a style normally associated with Karl ‘pipe-and-slippers’ Stevens but stayed ahead of David Godddard, Phil Lander and Finn Kirkwood. Finn is enjoying two wheels more this season that he did three wheels a couple of years ago when he had a nasty accident in the chair with Jon Bodfish. Hopefully more pre78’s on the line at Abbeycwmhir.
For the sidecars the good news is there was no BBC newsworthy accidents this time around and in some exciting racing, with Bootes/Stones coming out top in the Original and Walker/Pratt in the Modified sidecar racing.
The Pre74 upto 250cc / pre68 up to 350cc races were dominated by Ben Weaver and Mitch Harris respectively, though with Ben winning all 3 races on the Elsinore. After cracking a frame at the British Championship round at Bath, he’d switched to a spare frame during the week and though the bike didn’t seem so sharp, without Kris Winder racing, he was well ahead of the Mitch. Also Elsinore mounted, Chris and Simon Carter clamimed 2nd and 3rd overall in the pre74’s, putting an end to the BSA flirtation that really hadn’t got going. William Guest was back on the CZ but problems in race 1 kept him to 5th. Andrew Owens on the pre65 eligible Bolt-Up Husky got a tremendous set of starts (something he’d shown at the Classic MXdN the previous September) with holeshotting race 2 by a clear margin, though Vince Hale got passed to take 2nd overall on the day. Kevin Petit’s flying CanAm lost an exhaust during the 1st race, meaning the welder will be lighting up the back lanes of Tredegar during the week. Really good to see Steve Patrick on the Bultaco up in the thick of it as well, a notable performance and hopefully see him at some more rounds in the future.
For the over 250cc Pre74 and over 350cc Pre68’s, John Cash really pushed on showing some impressive pace in all the three races. Chris Chell’s return continues and he’s getting back his fitness and mojo on the bike, with plenty of style. All relatively new to the Championship, Alan Harris, Keith Roden and Rob Wall all rode well, the former two ahead of Rob’s BSA on CZ’s. Ian Fenwick’s luck was better than at Teifiside and he had some good racing with Graham Trump (both also CZ mounted). Not so much luck for Ian Hall, who got taken out in race 2 by a Honda rider who was in the wrong race. Ian was briefly knocked out and the damage to his helmet shows why you should use a good one (his was a full-face JT). After a brief check over from the medics, he wisely called it a day.
The track should have been watered during the interval, wasn’t and then after the 3rd Pre78/Twinshock race, where the dust was indeed thick, but overall the meeting ran really well and smoothly. My own frustration aside there was some good racing and like marmite the track provoked strong positive and negative reactions. It’s not Domen Hill and maybe it’s time to return to what is a good track but where access is a bit difficult at times.