A day out with the big boys

It had been a long week for a whole load of reasons and the antibiotics I was taking was only going to help part of the pain (for my teeth). Leaving an ill daughter in bed didn’t help, though she was being picked up at 09h00, so slightly less on the guilt trip there. The plan was to go over to Yatton Keynal and the British Championship round and based on some recent rides (well, the previous week at Teifiside where I thought I’d ridden well)  I’d blagged the okay to ride from Dave Gittins. Hmm, some misplaced optimism there, and given my previous ride at the venue 2 years ago, it’s not an auspicious place for me as I’d snapped the lay-shaft on a recent acquired bolt-up Husky during practice.

First up, across to Ponsticill to pick up Dai and the BSA and so for so good. All ready to go and the weather looked promising. Still had a sense I should be somewhere else and for sure my brain was when I drove under a bridge on the A470 with a police camera van on doing about 80mph. Speeding fine in the post (and potentially a new, higher level of fine) just to add to my joyous mood on the day.  The first rapid overtaking move of the day came from Phil Anslow on the M4, so managed to speed by twice, as I was now sticking to the speed limit. Yes, the odds of two speeding tickets on the same morning are slight, but it is something I have achieved two-up on a Yamaha Super Tenere on the way to the Le Touquet beach race a few years back. I managed 6 points before getting to Bristol that time and a recent speed awareness course means that points again are on their way.

 

 

Speed in the van didn’t really translate to speed on the track as the day panned out. A really good entry at Yatton Keynal and a quick search found a parking spot and then off to get the bikes checked. Being a British round, it was transponder time so picked that after the ‘safety check’ the AMCA are insisting clubs run again this year.  You also need to purchase a transponder cage (£10 or £7 for a used one) but managed to get some for a fiver from Matt Fry. Find the safety check funny sometimes, given no form of sanity check is run on the riders. That said not many people would get to the line so it might be a bit self-defeating.  Walked a bit of the track with Dai, which was hard (no rain), bumpy (it always is) and some big bits of yellow limestone which the Cotswolds is of course famous.  Getting some of these sizeable lumps spun out of the back of a Triumph Metisse would be worse than a tantrum from the other piece of the Cotswold geology, Jeremy Clarkson.

For the Eric Miles Flickr photos click here (excellent as always).  They are a lot better and more interesting that my photos from the day.

Race 1 was the British Championship pre65 and pre74 classes combined and they managed to squeeze 34 people on the line, just. Practice had highlighted the issues with the project 360 Bolt-up and it’s complete lack of viable suspension. The oil-filled Fox Shocks (period items which I’d serviced last year) were struggling and it’s tracks like Yatton Keynal that make you see the value of suspension. This is crystalised when your 5″ of rear travel is rendered virtual useless as you bump your way into one of the hairpin corners, to find yourself struggling round the outside. Gave my front row slot to Andy Stanton and settled in behind and still managed an okay start.

I finished race 1, though the flying Kris Winder came past me twice, and I think he lapped all the way to 6 place in both races. Liston Bell kept him honest, but a lot of people were blown away. Combination of mental well being and crap bike (I’m not taking into account my own limited abilities) meant I was a completely different force to be reckoned with than the previous week at Teifiside.  Mid table obscurity is a cause for celebration and braking out a fine Trappist on a Sunday evening.  At the end of the race, my mouth went dry from the hot winds of reality of riding out with the big boys and the thought than even an out-of-date can of Carling  might be over celebrating my performance this weekend. It might have been the amount of dirt I’d swallowed also but my mood was darkened further.   I wasn’t last, with quite a few retirees, including Chris Lewis who’d got twisted up on some big ruts coming into

Went out in the pre68 up to 350 race (see the youtube video) as it was before the lunch break and I’ll get some recovery time before the 2nd Championship race. Was going okay, until the exhaust tail pipe came off, despite the new bracket I’d made during the winter and then modified after Teifside. The 250 handled a lot better (suspension helps) so decided to use that for the 2nd race, once I’d trudged off down the hill, got some abuse from Jock on his new quad and trudged back up past the ice cream van. Got the bolt and re-attached the tail pipe and was ready for part 2. Speaking of Jock, managed to avoid the tow-of-shame, though a guy opposite us managed 3 tows from 3 races on his Metisse and as such became Jock’s new best friend and #1 customer of the day.  The Bolt-Up I’d sold for future residency was running around the track quite nicely, which was good to see. Some longing glances at a bike I shouldn’t have sold (but you can say that about any bike you’ve owned).

We’d had to push the 250 Husky to start it and managed to just to get to the line for the second Championship race after lots of kicking and a plug change. Got off the line well, and was far enough up the field to see Ben Weaver come a cropper on the first tight corner in a bit a tussle with Dai. In Classic MX Top Trumps, chose weight on the BSA when you think you are up against an Elsinore.  Managed 5 or 6 good laps, but once wound in by Winder, aimed at race survival and another finished, which was achieved. Good practice but my heart and head weren’t really in it, somewhere further up the M4 towards Belgium.

Failed to start the 250 for the next pre68 race, despite running the bike down the hill onto the footpath (which meant we had to push it back up) so that was the end of that for the day. Dai suggested ice creams and he duly obliged and much appreciated. Packed the bikes and left around 15h30, will still a block of race to go.  Got a message from daughter Saffron, who’d I’d left ill in bed at 06h30, that she was now in A&E with suspected appendicitus (or something else), so charged back over the bridge, dropped Dai off and headed down to Neville Hall where she’d just gone up to the ward.  Shame I didn’t drop off Dai’s coat and phone with him. Crossing the car park got a phone call to see if I was still at the track and was I planning to return the Transponder. Er whoops and spending a day with Dai was rubbing off.  An evening in the hospital with slightly improving Saffron and Helen (ex-wife) finished off my day and when I got back to Bwlch wasn’t sure if laughing or crying was in order. Didn’t even fancy a beer.

Monday wasn’t so bad, with Saffron leaving hospital and getting better. The transponders went in the post to Devon and managed to service the carb on the 250 Husky and change the rear shocks on the 360. Sorting out the front forks is on the list, but so are lots of other things, one of which has a much greater priority. ‘Having fun with the lads at motocross rather than being with the family’ in the divorce petition was a bit of a badge of honour but maybe I’m growing up a bit. Everything in balance and when you have too much of something it’s not so good all the time, and I’ve never understood the guy who has Christmas Day everyday.   I also understand that you really miss something when you’ve lost it.

No racing on the Bank Holiday weekend (and there’s only a pre65 meeting) and I’m on a work trip to the US, but will be back for Border on the 7th May. Rumours of jumps and tabletops.

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.

 

 

 

 

Hanbury Scramble : first visit and a good one

I’d never ridden at Hanbury for some reason and in my 7th season of racing I’d not managed to get to the track near Droitwich, until now. After some tuning of both the bolt-up and Hallmann Husky’s after frustrating day’s at Teifiside and Abbeycwmhir, I was hoping for a test run or two and maybe some good racing. Picked Paul up at 7am and headed up the A40 again after the National Motorcycle Museum visit the previous day. it rained all the way up to Monmouth and of course stopped as we headed over to the border into Herefordshire. Much brighter weather then ensued and arrived at the track just after 08h30, in a large field below the main track. 

Efficiency with signing on and picking up the transponders from Track Times, who have increased the presence at Classic MX events significantly over the last couple of years. Dai Walker on the recently re-engined BSA was on the preparation trail before the Classic MX des Nations and made the trip up with John, who is useful to have a long with the spanners.  Unlike Teifiside, felt pretty chilled, not too much pressure and looking for a nice days racing.

The track is known for the hills, off-cambers and the long start-finish straight and it lived up to expectations. Practice was also slippery and touching the rear brake on the Bolt-Up had me off on the first off camber corners. Good to know it wasn’t just me as others also came off, but struggled to get on the pace though was bit better when I went out on the Hallman for the final practice session after the sidecars. The Bolt-Up was running and revving high after the 3rd pass down the long straight. Still trying to get it to run cleanly though it’s starting is better. It wasn’t the idle adjustment, which I adjusted by the track (and then lost) and the cable wasn’t sticking. No joy in sorting this out and seems like a leaking crankseal or air getting in somewhere on the bike. Further research to be done.

First race in the pre68 up to 350cc went okay and the track was bedding in a bit, with some of the grass coming off the top of pretty firm soil. Lines were appearing on the corners and its a tricky track than needs to be learnt. Good battle with Andrew Davies and he got past me on lap 4 and I think we were 8th or 9th respectively in what was a pretty healthy line-up. Parked the bike up next to the pit box and walked over to find John and Paul before watching Dai out in the next race on the BSA.  They’d walked up to watch practice earlier and the second walk up the hill up from the paddock had resulted in more cups of tea and a thought of adjourning to the nearby pub and watching the racing from a distance. No complaints from me as managed to get some cups of tea, cake and even an ice cream later on. All very pleasant as the sun broke though and watching the racing with an excellent crowd. Not so pleasant was the rain shower that came before the first pre74 over 250cc race and the subsequent coming together between John Cash and Wayne Partington on the first lap. Both riders went down and whilst John as just shaken, Wayne ended up leaving in the ambulance with a dislocated shoulder and suspected broken collar bone.  Plenty of concern from the other riders, marshals and spectators, whilst Paul ‘Welsh Team Captain’ Prosser was thinking on running over to see if 1/4 of his 30+ team was still intact and inflicting a kiss of life if needed. Also, potential not so good for Wayne and his England ride, as was the fact the ambulance broke down on the way to the hospital.

The sidecar boys and girls, feeling left out as the normal banker for a race stoppage managed a red flag on their own as it all got a bit too keen after the start of the race and destroyed a large section of the track. These delays meant the Jeff Smith Trophy race was shelved and interval being taken. Rain had now stopped and we adjourned to the paddock and caught some sun and a nice chilled out and relaxed atmosphere. Happy with my first race, I was looking forward to more.

I missed a gear off the start and lost 4 or 5 places as result, but went much better on the bike and some of the confidence from Narberth was back and ended up with another battle with Andrew Davies, which I lost again on the final lap. Front brake adjuster had moved again, so took the bike back to paddock and did some quick fixes before heading up for the pre74 up to 250cc race. Had a good battle with Derek Brice on his Bultaco (more Classic MX des Nations prep)  who I got past on lap 3, but who got back past me whilst I slowed down under a yellow flag  (my opinion) as one of the Elsinore contingent crashed through the tape. Good racing and what was now an excellent track.

Parked the bike up again and Paul came over with a bottle of water and we sat on the grass watching some good racing, including the sidecars and the 2nd British Championship race (won easily by Tim Dallaway).  Alas, in the last pre68 race, I acquired another puncture which it was more than an isolated incident at Teifiside. Rather than trying to fix, decided after 4 races, that enough was enough and I’d park the bike up. Had a chat with a few people in the paddock and then after a 10 minute deliberation on what pub we’d go to, we eventually decided on the one who’s car park you needed to drive through to leave the track. Along with Jon and Reuben, the four of us sat in the sun and watched the end of the racing from afar. Very pleasant.

Post race diagnosis and pre Classic MX des Nations bike prep focused on getting rhe bolt up ready for the 70+ team (either Corwyn Jones or Brian Walker).

Hanbury Scramble 28th Aug 2016

View of the paddock and the track from the adjacent pub car park. 

Hanbury Scramble 28th Aug 2016

And the rain returned as we headed back into Wales

 

 

Hanbury Scramble 28th Aug 2016

More that a normal puncture. The tube had ripped, probably as a result of a couple of loose spokes, 

 Great event and well organised by the Moseley club. Will be back next year !

How to break a drought….

….hold a scramble at Abbeycwmhir. After three weeks of nice weather we were due to have some rain and so it did at Abbeycwmhir. It rained on and off all day, but never heavy enough to get the mudfest from May and an impossible track. It’s a shame as a good entry, a well laid out track and one of the best locations in the country for Classic MX were all set up for a great days racing.  Karl Stevens (along with Katja)  had travel up with myself and Paul from Bwlch, after a pleasant and entertaining barbeque the previous evening.  Paul’s heartbreak over the tank from his Cagiva continues and so he’d didn’t ride, with Dai Walker also not riding as he was detained by bailing and awaiting a new engine for his BSA.

 

Mid Wales Classic, July 2016 -  First Race Of The Day

First race of the day. Guto’ getting stuck on the gate didn’t stop him winning the race from last on the Peter Lockwood Matchless

 

The paddock looked decidedly quieter than it did in May, though with 91 entries, it wasn’t too quiet. Perhaps it was better parking or less of the massive campers from the British Championship travelling contingent. Some alterations to the track and relatively narrow in places as it weaved between the reeds and boggy ground across the hillside. The adverse camber corners were there, which are fun wet or dry. It’s a track I struggle on with the 250 as you need easily available power to get out of the corners and up the hills (and probably a better rider)

My own day started badly but got better, but finished with a tinge of disappointment (a bit like dancing with your mates to ‘Come on Eileen’ and then being left dancing with the “girl you fancied” best friend to  Spandau Ballet’s ‘True’ during the erection section at the end of the night). One thing that does need to change are the Michelin M12’s on the Bolt-Up. Whilst they are the mud and grass tyre, compared with the hard pack S12’s. However, S12’s are the one’s to have it seems and the difference in grip on the rear between the bikes was significant. That said, the longer framed Bolt-Up doesn’t seem to grip so well.

Plenty of themes during the meeting apart from the weather, including Paul Prossers continuing quest to find the elusive holy grail that is the team for the Classic MX des Nations. That this quest involves finding riders of the right age, who have a bike of the right age, which is of the right capacity and stroke, who are willing to travel to Northern Ireland and who don’t get upset when they initially don’t get picked and refuse to come when they are asked later.  A thankless task akin to that undertaken by Sir Lancelot, without the adultery of course.   However with the submission of teams due by August 15th still time for some further selections.

Mid Wales Classic, July 2016 - Scrap For The Lead

Guto Llewellyn and Pete Hollinshead battle it out

 

In the Pre60/Pre65/Metisse races, there was healthy line-up with Pete Hollinshead making his second appearance of the season and probably expecting his usual 3 wins out of 3 on his pre60 machine.  It had been pointed out to Pete and Andy Carter that they might have a bit of challenge on the day as Guto Llewellyn had been united with a reliable bike, in the form of Peter Lockwood’s might Matchless in preparation for the Classic MX des Nations. The Matchless has been used for a few visits by Mick Andrews to the Bonanza see [1] below and as well as being a powerful beast it’s been well set. When it was pointed out that Guto would be challenging Pete, Andy mentioned that he’d need to get past him. After getting stuck in the gate on the first rate, Guto went past Andy, and everyone else in the field to show that on a big bike that lasts more than a lap, Guto is a force to be reckoned with, with a style that will be well suited to Ballyblack.  My own race ended on lap one, with a frayed throttle cable jamming the carb open and putting me on the deck. Kill switches are pointless on stuck open throttles as I’ve noticed in the past.

As I was back at the van in the paddock changing the throttle cable, whilst my toolbox filling up with rain water, I didn’t seen much of the first block of racing.  In the pre74 up to 250cc, Ben Weaver’s search for a decent competitor if Kris Winder isn’t riding continues. He won all three moto’s but outstanding ride on the day goes to Kevin Petitt on the Can Am which he’d picked up from Simon Reilly earlier in the year. It uses the disk vale Rotax engine (the same as SWM trials bikes) and even though it has an enduro disk, they are serious quick out of the box, not requiring the serious mods required for Elsimores or pre74 Yamahas. Kevin grabbed a second and two 3rd’s, whilst William Guest continued to have a great season on the CZ. Gary Wolstenholme has also shown some form this season and along with Chris Lewis (also Honda) and Sam Gittoes (CZ), was well ahead of the rest of the field. The pre74 250 class is the best place for newcomers and older riders a like and it was good to seem some battles down the field, with Karl ‘Savlon’ Stevens having a good day out on his Suzuki TM250 despite the conditions.  Dominic Wall was also back after injury ended his season early last year.

 

Mid Wales Classic, July 2016 -  Rob Jones

Rob Jones flying

It was great to see pre78 series sponsor Alan Woods back after his early season injury and he was back on the pace for the first two races before engaging in a 50m slide into the first corner in the last race. More John Curry than Bob Hannah, it showed the power of the rear brake on the YZ125. No further damage done and he’ll be back for Teifiside. It was good to see the pre78’s have their own race and David Weaver’s horsepower (400 ish Maico) against James Edge’s 125cc Suzuki meant he edged it on the day, but it provided some great racing.  After numerous rants and workshop woes on Facebook Lee ‘Fallguy’ Johnson got 3 finishes and is now pushing for championship recognition. As well as actually racing this might involve not giving Alan a lift to meetings and ensuring David Goddard is suitably distracted.

Classic MX des Nations hero (after pushing his bike over the line at Mortimer) Rob Jones won all 3 pre68 unlimited races from the advanced pit position ahead of Phil Anslow and Mitchell Harris. Nathan Jones on the 400 Husqvarna scored well again and continues to lead the championship [2].   The pre74 over 250cc battle between John Cash and Jonathan Randall continues, with John getting the first two races ahead of Jonathan and the out-of-class Ben Weaver (looking for some competition). However a loose rear axle nut and the resulting lock-up meant that Jonathan collected more points on the day to keep the championship alive with two rounds to go.  The ‘Ian’s’ Fenwick and Hall both had consistent and good riders given the conditions and along with Sam Gittoes picked up some good points in what was the smallest pre74 field of the season.

By contrast, the pre68 350cc lineup was unusually healthy made up of both regulars and visitors. Rob Jones raced out of class and won all three races, and after winning race 1 Doug Sherbourne retired (not sure why) leaving Mitchell Harris to pick up the most points. Championship leader Phil Anslow also scored well, proving it was just the right motivation that was needed to have a blistering season. Geoff Taylor has acquired a ECMO eligible Twinport CZ and after a couple of experimental run-outs so far this season seems to have got the hang of it and got the points ahead of Vince Hale and Malcolm Herbert.

Mid Wales Classic, July 2016 - Pre-74 up to 250cc Class

Andy Lane and Karl Stevens in the pre74 250cc class

 

I’ve not got the sidecar results, and didn’t watch any of the racing (due to fixing bikes). However, from my location in the paddock I could see Adam Longmore struggling with his outfit’s performance. In a move to extract more power from the Yamaha XT600 engine recently scavanged from the scrappers he’d decided to increase the fuelling by doing without a pilot jet in the carb.  Meanwhile, racing continued and I do know the Chell’s won the first two races. I did watch them cleaning the chain between races. The little details obviously count.

A healthy Twinshock class was dominated by Steve Adams and other Devon visitors (who’d forgone the Dorset meeting also running on the weekend). It was good to see Rhys Edwards taking top points on his first outing on the Maico and Yamaha collection. Series leader Kyle Noble didn’t have a good start losing out to Anthony Guest, but Anthony had issues in race 2 himself. Sam Weaver scored good points despite his best efforts not to actually use his main Maico machine all season. He also scored top points for the loudest bike when his exhaust broke,

Despite the weather, some really great racing, which entertained the relatively small crowd. Steve Goode’s commentary was excellent and many thanks to the Mid Wales club. Much appreciated by all the riders.

Nearly forgot, after a DNF in Race 1 in the pre65’s, managed three finishes on the Hallman Husky in the pre68. In the last pre65 race, I’d kept ahead of Mark Abbot, until a wire dropped off the HT coil in the last corner. Bummer but could have been worse. After a hassle free event at Chester, it was more of a challenge to do 6 races.

For the results see the Google Sheet

For Eric Miles’ excellent photos see Flickr

[1] This is the Adrian Moss event, with the most complex regs for any event in the AMCA calendar, rather than the 1960’s TV Western.

[2] If you are wondering why other riders didn’t score points in this class, its because normally you can only score points for one class on one bike. You need a different bike to score points in a different class. You can ride in races, but not score championship points.

One of the better days racing….

When you get back home and your worst place finish was 5th, that it didn’t rain and that the only tool taken out of the toolbox all day was the funnel, you know you’ve had a good day racing. Since his last trip out to Abbeycwmhir, Karl had bought a Suzuki TM250 for the pre74 class and a quick preview on the Saturday up the lane in Bwlch chasing a cat showed that it sounded good and seemed to go well.  I’d been busy and had no shed time on the Husqvarnas, so it was a quick fix and clean to both bikes before putting them in to the van.  A quiet evening watching Germany and Italy taking bad penalties and off to bed, for an early 06h30 start.

Neither Dai (broken bike) nor Paul (broken bike) were riding though in their roles on knowledgeable sages and holders of spanners they fancied the trip to Chester. Luckily we managed to split them up in the two vans as even the individual excitement on spotting some classic tractors near Newtown was pretty extreme. Speedy journey up the A483 without horseboxes and though I forgot to get some petrol (as concerned I’d double mixed the fuel, 17:1 not such a good ratio).. Paddock looked in good shape, though there was some evidence of the carnage from the flooding during the 100-miler event a couple of weeks before.

[All photos courtesy of Eric Miles]

 

Chester Classic, July 2016 -  Twinshock Start

Start of the Twinshock / Pre78 race. The Weavers start to move into formation.

Coming up North so to speak means you get a different set of people and bikes in the paddock,  including an Automatic Husqvarna, a AJS Stormer, a CanAm (not from Tredegar) and a plethora of Bultacos, that seem to be lost from down south.

Practice went away on time and pretty smoothly, with the track altered slightly from the ruts and bumps of the 100 miler course from earlier in June. No sidecars until Septembers meting either, so the berms and ruts on the track could stay in place (I like sidecars, honestly).

 

Chester Classic, July 2016 -  Malcolm Herbert

One of my better racing shots. Both bikes went well all day, but kept losing the front brake on the Hallman so need to make a few adjustments.

In the Pre60 / Pre65 Metisse races it was primarily between Andy Carter and Chris Dean during the day, with Andy continuing to show some fine form, despite the front brake on the Jawa completely disintegrating after the first race. Dismantling the Metisse meant he could continue to score points in the pre60 class, which he continues to dominate. Jon Britton, Mick Maskelyne and the smooth Peter Lockwood on the Dot all score good points towards the championship. Mick is showing good form also and is ready for the Classic MX des Nations. I managed some good results and after finishing behind Mark Abbot in race 1, managed to get past him in race 2. Derek Brice picked up maximum points on the day and leads the pre65 class for the championship. Personally, couldn’t get near him and whilst he needed a spare bike for race 2 (after a puncture) it didn’t slow him down.

No doubt Phil Anslow is out to prove a point after his two DNF’s at last years Classic MXdN and not being picked for the 50+ team for this years trip to Northern Ireland. He showed some good form in the pre68 up to 350cc and two of the three races after Mitchell Harris had retired Bob Woods BSA in race 2. (Mitchell had already had the larger capacity bike fail in practice). Odgie Danaan made his annual visit to the Welsh Championship on the big-bang Honda 305cc  (as far as I’m aware an altered crank means both pistons are fired together, better grip?) and had some good rides including a 2nd.  In the two-stroke battle, I score two 5ths and a 3rd, with Andrew Davies getting ahead in the final race. Vince Hale also scored well on the day.

Phil Anslow rode the same bike in the Unlimited Pre68 class, again winning 2 out of 3 races, with Mitch Hughes getting the better of him in race 2. Some close racing here showing how difficult it was to pass on the Chester track. Though wide in some places there was really only one line. After the Classic MX Organiser let him know he was in the pre68, rather than the pre74 class, whilst it was on the line, Nathan Jones on the 4-speed 400c Husqvarna managed to ride consistently in all the races. As such he heads the championship after 3 rounds. This is most likely the half-way stage this season after the demise of the Border round in May as the scheduling will make it difficult for a rearrangement to be put in. Good to see Barrie Townend going well again after the 2015 pre65 champion had made a sluggish start to the season.

Chester Classic, July 2016 -  Maximum Effort

Chris Dean on the Tribsa

 

In the Pre74 classes it was two very different stories. With no Kris Winder, who won everything at Blencarn the previous week, it was Ben Weaver’s turn to dominate on a Honda Elsinore.  Showing some excellent style it was three easy wins over fellow Elsinore riders Simon and Chris Carter. However performance of the day came from 17 year old William Guest who’s 2nd in the final race showed the massive improvement he’d made over the year when he rode his first meeting at Chester last year. He missed a gear on the penultimate corner but manage to keep the Carters at bay for a fine result.  Karl Stevens (797) had bought his own bike, a TM250 and it was good to see him engaged him in lower order battles around the track. Always great when you find someone to race with.

John Cash took maximum points from the Pre74 over 250cc class, but only after some major battles with both Brian Littler and Jonathan Randall, who took a spill whilst challenging strongly in race 2.  Ian Fenwick had bike problems in race 3, but still managed to pick up enough points to keep him 3rd in the Championship standings. John Cash showed a fine riding style all day and things looked pretty smooth out at the front.

Chester Classic, July 2016 -  In The Thick Of It

Great photo of David Weaver on the Maico

A good line up for the pre78 / Twinshock race. With Paul Prossers Cagiva broken and Alan Woods knee not fit enough to allow him to ride, it was David Weaver v James Edge in the pre78 class. Though he tired in the last race (some training ?), David managed to pick up 42 points against the 39 scored by James.

The Twinshock series this year has some renewed vigour and the Maico mounted Nobles from Cardigan are having an impact. Kyle continued to lead the championship after winning two races (not sure what happened in race 2, but I was in between my two races per block) with Keelan in his first full season riding consistently after blowing a head gasket. The paddocks was a hive of Maico activity all afternoon. Anthony Guest has moved from a Honda CR480 to a RM400 Suzuki and after getting two seconds, faded in race 3. He stays second in the championship behind Kyle. Standout performance was John Tilson’s 2nd in the 3rd race, his best result for a while.

The track rode well all day and though rough in places it was a pleasure to ride. From both direct experience when racing and from watching other races it wasn’t the easiest place to pass and the start was really important. Get that right and you stood a chance. My missing gears in the 3rd pre68 race meant I was behind Andrew Davies and then really struggled to get past him. There were some over taking places but you had to judge it right.

My own performances this seasons show I’m getting the hang of the RH change on the 4-speed Huskies and just need some more track time. Abbeycwmhir up next and whilst a great track, it’s not the best place for an underpowered two-stroke against the behemoths of 600+ cc British 4-strokes. Shall see how it goes.

Went to look at a bike at Ted Evans’ on the way back south; Ted’s driving (Suzuki Vitara, with bike rack and caravan) is certainly more adventurous than it is with the CZ on the track and the visions of a weaving, overtaking caravan will stay me for a while. Paul and Dai spent the time drooling over the old tractors in the shed, which is a troubling development. Maybe some other form of event (often seen in Russia and Poland) might be more appropriate for them ?

The visit to Ted’s was a memorable end to a great days racing. Classic MX at its best.

The full results from Chester can be found on the 2016 results spreadsheet.

 

Mid Wales 23rd May 2016 : it became muddy

Not so the first time, a midday shower at Abbeycwmhir changed the nature of the track, the racing, the mood and general feeling of the meeting. It has happened before, honest . An easy day out on a recently restored bike on a really nice track changed into an event for the committed (foolhardy) to take their beloved machine into a very damp muddy field.

It was a non Welsh championship round, but it was a British championship one.

Click on the image for Eric Miles’ Flickr Album of the event 

Abbeycwmhir May 2016 [ Supplementary ] -  First S/C Race

 

One of the questions remain is why ? Why do people still want to take their bike out when it’s really muddy when you know :

  • it’s going to be hard going and you’ll likely fall off
  • it’s more survival than racing
  • half the people you’ve riding against have put the bike back in the van and are already sitting in a cafe somewhere
  • that you will spend 3 hours cleaning it and annoy the neighbours as you spread Mid Wales topsoil down the road

True, that to some extent, spectators really love it, more for the amusement factor than watching exciting racing. This is especially true for the sidecars. It’s not really the case that poor conditions are more dangerous, as there is less racing as such and speeds tend to be slower.

You can get lodged under the bike (as Ian Hall found on Sunday) or just slip off in a muddy heap through exhaustion. You can’t usually see anything until you throw your goggles off (no tear off’s I hope).  If the bike stops it is guaranteed to not start or at least take 3 to 4 times the effort needed to make the bugger start than it usually does in the paddock.

So why do some people still find their way to the line, even it’s just a slog round ? They’ll be the purists who say that this is what scrambles (not classic motocross is about)

Jerry Scott
Jerry Scott at a BBC Grandstand Scramble

A lot of the BBC Scrambles in the 60’s were muddy, but they ran them in the winter for TV, so no surprise. The incentive of fame and glory, as well as prize money were all good incentives. That said, with the lure of Welsh Championship points in 2015, a few riders braved the very muddy track at Llanfair Caerienon just to get ahead in the race for a trophy.

Some riders do prefer slower, muddy tracks and will perform well on them.  They are the ones praying for rain on the drive to the venue on a Sunday morning. Even for the British Championship events on the day, the second, wet and muddy races, had a significantly reduced line-up.

In all in all, it does mean, that whatever the weather, you can have good racing, though the majority have a strong preference for a dry track. Then again, they don’t want it too dusty.

For the team at Abbeycwmhir, it was a mixed day. Paul Prosser chose not ride as it wasn’t a Welsh round, whilst Kevin took three bikes but in the end only used his recently acquired pre74 Can Am. It went well, though by the end it seems it might need the base gasket replacing.  For Karl Stevens, at his 3rd ever event it seems that he may be related to St Swithan, given his first meeting was the Border event last year. On the 1975 Husqvarna he’d gone well at Pontrilas in April but struggled with the difficult conditions post rain at Abbeycwmhir.

I took out both the 1970 Hallman framed 250 and the 360 Automatic Husqvarna’s, both of which seemed to go well. The 250 didn’t shear a woodruff key, like on its other two outings, which was good. The 360 ran okay after the engine rebuild by Jef Bens, though Kevin pointed out after a test spin the front end was a bit off-cock.

Good to see Ian Hall back after his stroke and though he spent 10 minutes under his bike waiting for rescue, seems to have come through it fine and is ready for the next event (now Devon this weekend), as the Border event is cancelled.

Kris Winder, after winning the first British pre74 race exploded the engine on the Elsinore in pretty dramatic fashion and John Cash took a bit a lob in the same race. It’s only round 2 for the season so a lot of time to get the points back.

With nearly 140 solos and 15+ sidecars it was a really good turn out and shame it was spoilt by an hour burst of rain. It is a great venue for riders and spectators and it will be the Welsh Championship round there in July, with hopefully better weather.

 

 

Teifiside 17/Apr 2016 : Lets get the season started

Teifiside 17/April 2016

Results can be found here Classic MX Wales Google Sheet

Report

Round 1 of the 2016 Championshpi kicked off at Teifiside, with early morning hail and rain giving way to a sunny but chilly day at Crugmore Farm, Penparc. The last minute change of venue had been handled well by the club and although small, the track was set out in similar lines to last August’s visit to the venue. A good entry, of around 110 including Evo’s, a few modern bikes and the Sidecars meant there was a good line up for every race. An early decison was made to split the Pre78 and Twinshock race, meaning there was a total of 8 races per block and a total of 24 races during a packed afternoon.

Delay to the start

The venue has a great paddock and views out over Cardigan, good so you can see the weather coming (when it’s not already raining) and whilst track conditions were slippery for practice and the first block of racing, it dried out nicely with some excellent racing lines. It was one of those tracks that when you were gingerly guiding the bike round the off camber bottom corner, that you should have fitted that set of Michelin S12’s in the garage. Riding Pontrilas the previous week was relatively easy; grip all the way round, berms uninterrupted by the sidecars and corners that generally helped you go round them, rather than trying to throw you off. Anyone wanting the challenge of a ‘proper’ track should really consider a sloping field in West Wales first.

With Kevin Pettit and supporters having spent a chilly night at the venue, Paul Prosser and myself gratefully received a cup of team on arrival and managed to chat to a few people before prior to practice. Signing on was pretty slick and afters a riders briefing it was out for practice. Though Teifiside wasn’t the first meeting of the season, it was a good opportunitiy to catch up with the usual suspects, as well as new faces at the beginning of a new season. Some changes of bike and classes, some experimentation and tinkering still taking place in the paddock. Guilty of myself of making some changes to the timing on the Hallman framed Husky, even though it ran right at Pontrilas (before it sheared a woodruff key. Changed it back after the first block of racing.

The Honda Elsinore Collective.

One of the things about classic meetings is the ability to race as much as you want, as long the bike sort of fits the class. For 2016, the general understanding that you can ride in multiple classes on the same bike, but only score points in one, will be more strictly enforced. This means this more people should win trophies and be placed during the season and that people who have two or more bikes, with associated maintenance and cost, will be likely rewarded for their efforts. The anomaly in the current championship classes where we have pre74 above and below 250cc precludes this doubling up, doesn’t exist for the pre68 class, where it is up to 350cc and unlimited, rather than over 350cc. Interestingly enough, back in the 60’s, where Husqvarna won what was the Open (or Unlimited) class on the 360cc bolt-up Frame bike, the 4-stroke manufacturers (British and Swedish) got the European championship organisers to change it to an over 500cc class. Whether its Kris Winder beating bigger capacity bikes on the 250cc Elsinore (see below) or Japanese bikes coming on the scene in the early 70’s you cannot change the course of history second time around.

Some of the talk in the well appointed Teifiside paddock was around machine eligibility, which wasn’t surprising after a trip to Pontrilas and the Ross club the previous week. Always better to talk things through face-to-face rather than vie email or Facebook messenger and hopefully the Welsh Championship season will continue as before, with self-regulation and common sense of riders with respect to the rules as the order of the day.

In the Pre60 / Pre65 / Metisse class, it was business as usual with Pete Hollinshead andh Andy Carter battling it out for Pre60 honours, though the main dual on the day was between Pete and Steve James who was back on his Triumph Metisse and revelling in the conditions. Terry Challinor, as President of Teifiside Club rode strongly for two 3rds and a 5th. Andy Carter started slowly, with a 7th but managed a 2nd in the last race. Mark Abbott, who’d had trouble starting the BSA, failed to finish in the first race and then struggled with reliability and not falling off in the other two motos. Kim Maddocks showed some early form, whilst Derek Brice continued his consistent performance from 2015, whilst previous year champion Barrie Townend was off the pace after a closed season injury. Dai Walker had moved from Honda Elsinore to an ex-Aaron Graves 350cc BSA and after narrowly missing a marshall point in race 1, improved all day, taking 6th in the 3rd race. Malcolm Herbert continues to be the sole 2-stroke pre 65 bike on the ‘bolt up’ Husqvarna but struggled early on with the track.

Cagiva and Husqvarna Encampment

In the Pre78’s Alan Woods knee injury on his first outing of the season meant that the battles between him James Edge didn’t take place. James was ahead of other riders comfortably in the first two races but his 125 Suzuki failed to start on the line for race 3, so David Weaver took the race win after two seconds. This wasn’t without a couple of race incidents, that given the small feel shows the passion and intesity this class brings in its 2nd season. Paul Prosser was suffering from a long term shoulder injury, but Kevin Pettit, riding a borrowed 250cc 1975 Husqvarna (after his KTM failed at Pontrilas) should some great style keep pace with the Weaver 400 Maico’s. Lots of recommendations that he should stick to 250’s. Both John Mainwaring and David Goddard rode consistently to start their season with good points.

In the Pre68 up to 350cc and Pre74 up to 250cc, very much a different feel with the ever dominant Mitchell Harris not at the meeting. Kris Winder who had provided an insight on the shape of things to come at Llanthony back last September blitzed the field on the Honda Elsinore and is clearly the man to beat in the class this season. All time most winningest Welsh Classic MX champion Dan Evans started with a strong 2nd place on the Husqvarna as usual, but the bike seized in race 2. Ben Weaver, also Elsinore mounted then picked up two 2nd places. Andy Lane on the Bultaco rode consistently as Gary Wolstenholme, though William Guest’s strong showing was only in race as he didn’t make races 2 or 3. In the pre68 class, Andrew Owen, also on a very standard Bolt Up Husqvarna took most points on the day ahead of Phil Anslow and Geoff Taylor, who was first time out on a twinpipe CZ acquired over the winter. Dai Walker and Malcolm Herbert missed race 1, but Dai had the edge and went to score well in the second two races. As in the pre65 class, Julian Richards roder well in the first two races.

For the pre68 Unlimited, Andrew Davies made a strong start to the season on the 380 CZ and as he’s done in previous season has managed to ride consistently. The only other rider in the class, also two-stroke mounted was Nathan Jones on the 400cc 4-speed Husqvarna saved his best race for last and finished 7th overall.

In the Pre74 over 250 class, battle between Jonathan Randall and John Cash was resumed with similar results to 2015, with John beating Jonathan in the last race. Graham Trump missed the first race (by going out in the up to 250cc class by mistake) so Robin Thomas and Ian Fenwick managed to pick up points, with Robin edging it by 1 or 2 places in each race. As with the pre74 250cc class, things didn’t go well for Dan Evans, who after completing race 1, suffered from a crankcase and oil loss, which ended his meeting and potentially his classic season.

New for 2016 is the 4 round Evo championship to be hosted by the Teifiside and Narberth clubs. Connor Jones, who’s Twinshock Yamaha mount still consisted of a box of bits due to some inactivity over the winter brought a mightly powerful 500cc Honda and turned on the style of ahead of #74 on a 250cc Honda. Nigel Davies managed two races on the Kawasaki (back to back with the Twinshocks didn’t help with a return to racing) whilst Paul Evans travelling down with the Chells powered the mighty Husaberg round and by duly completing all 3 races picked up the top score of 35 points from the afternoons racing.

No Dan Evans in the Twinshock class and after finishing 3rd for 2015 season on his 250cc Maico, Kyle Noble had the perfect start to the 2016 season taking 3 race wins ahead of Anthony Guest on the 480 Honda and 490 Maico mounted Andy Mills, Nigel and Dylan Davies. Also on a Maico, Sam Weaver took a while to get in to the swing of things but it was nice to see some new faces riding in the class. Kyle’s brother Keelan, in his first championship meeting had a great 3rd race, but seized his bitza Maico in the 3rd race. A promising performance.

The journey home

As you race at different meetings across the UK, they’ll be better tracks, better organisation and somewhere nearer to home than Teifiside but overall its still a great place to go racing. Sitting here 24 hours later on a plane with a stiff shoulder, slightly aching hands and thoughts on how I could have gone quicker and planning modifications to the bike, you realize what a good day it was and why you want to go racing. As many wives and girlfiends will attest, the day or so after an event snogging their partner might be like kissing an exhaust pipe in a dusty field, but it’s good to do it with someone who’s smiling from ear to ear.

A familiar story

Gentle One : 3/April 2016

There comes a point where Carmarthenshire or Pembrokeshire trading standards need to be call in, as conditions, weather and a healthy entry meant that the Gentle One wasn’t. There had been a subtle change on the Narberth Classic MCC website which aluded to potential challenges for the rider.

Don’t get me know, I enjoyed it, in a perverse sort of way. The forecast proved correct, with a bright start giving way to rain and the old coal tip at Cynheidre had soaked a lot of rain. There was grip around the shorter than expected track. The Junior race went off first and some struggled on the first hillclimb, about 300m from the start. Even though there was only about 20 of them, it was to prove prophetic has 80+ adult riders attempted the hill on the first lap.

For me, the recently acquired Husqvarna 360 Automatic was the chosen mount for the day and formed up a small part of the overall entry, where the classic / twinshocks were 10-15 in number, with David Goddards RM400, Mick Maskelyne’s Rotax engine beast and a couple of Bultaco’s proving that you really can ride anything at these events. The Automatic eventually started, though it, like me was plastered in black mud before going 50m. Needless to say there was a significant queue waiting for the hill, but the Automatic made it straight up with some legwork at the earliest opportunity. Though changing gear, it wasn’t getting out of 1st easily but was changing up on a couple of firm straights.

The 2nd hillclimb and the bottom of the course was shorter than the first, but more challenging and again a queue was forming with people who were deciding where to tackle it or not, watching a scene from Dante’s Inferno (the circle of hell reserved for idiots on twinshocks riding what is essentially a Classic event) spread out in front of you. Dan Evans, who was marshalling on the hill commented that it would have been less knackering to ride rather help haul up a continuous stream of bikes. The cheapo kill switch on the Husky meant it keep shutting of, so I removed the spring and cover and back to a working bike. Managed to lose the tools from my bag but made 2 clean ascents of the hill, and 1 not so clean during the first 1.15 minute session.

A good finish

During a quick walk of the track (looking for tools) I thought I’d knock it on the head as the rain was getting heavier, but on the return to the van and some left over stew from Saturday nights dinner, decided that at least another lap was in order. The bike (on its inaugural outing in anger) happily fired up, so back to the start and time to join the queue back at the hill. The 80 odd riders from the morning, had somewhat reduced in number, but still a wait at the bottom of Hill #1; the Automatic duly obliged and the ascent was made without too much bother. Dante’s Hill had been removed from the loop, as had the awkward off camber section above it. A shorter lap meant a shorter time back to Hill #1, where conditions had deterioated, so much so some of the top boys were struggling to get up. After 10 minutes, the course was redirected again, with a even shorter lap, keeping tricky downhill section in place. This was more like it, as everything was moving and you could get some pace and rhythym on the bike. The Automatic wasn’t changing gear correctly and the bike was indeed down on compression and making a bit of top end noise. Managed 6-7 laps easily enough, but the bottom bolts on the handlebar clamps were working loose, so gentle finished the last tap, towards the end of 1h15 minute seconf session.

Rider before cleaning

Bike and rider throughly soaked and black with mud, but the bike had of sorts finished and provided an insight on what needed to be done. As for the event, Gentle is wasn’t and the only dangerous thing was the riding style of some of the modern bike riders, but they are used to it. Thanks to the Narberth club and really appreciate the efforts made to complete the event. Not easy given the conditions.

Some thoughts though, in that there is a danger than these events are appealing to the top 6-10 modern riders, who have both the skill, queue jumping abilities and the competitive spirit (aka aggression) to get round any course. That 50% of the field didn’t finish the first 1.25 hours is partly weather, experience etc, but these will be the people paying the money. Lets see what happens going forward but obviously its West Wales and you cannot predict the weather.

Bike after cleaning

Classic Dirt Bike Show Telford 2016

Classic MX Wales managed to get another stand for the Telford Show, and was a bit better organised than in previous years, with 5 solos and a sidecar outfit on the stand, as well as literature to give out and some photo boards. Though it felt like numbers were down on previous years, as the halls felt less packed, not sure that this was the case and it might have been the layout that gave it that feel. A lot of familiar faces came past the stand with a general enthusiasm for the season ahead, as well as number of people who fancied riding classic motocross for the upcoming season. By the end of the weekend, the stand looked well used, and an additional 4 bikes were there after various purchases that took place.

Classic MX Wales @ Telford

I picked up a Husqvarna 360 Automatic from 1976, from carpark at 09h00 on Saturday morning, as well as 1970 250 4-speeder that Paul Prosser located during the Sunday afternoon. A very rapid visit to the cashpoint machines of the nearby shopping centre ensured I had the necessary the funds for the unplanned second purchase. Ben Weaver picked up a nice 1974 380 Bultaco, and his brother Sam acquired another Maico, a 1977 400, for the Weaver collection. Brian Bodfish bought a hydralic bike lift, which ended up heading back to Wales in my van/trailer along with a couple of tons of other items on Sunday.

It was my first year not outside with the Autojumble, but a visit around 09h00 seemed to indicate that it was pretty popular, though the number of stalls still seems to be declining steadily. Kevin, Giant, Mark and others from Tredegar kept up the tradition, though AFAIK, Mark’s good value DT failed to sell, as did many of bikes. There was a nicely priced 1982 420 Husky still unsold on the Sunday, as well as a 1976 250, which was a bit more money. Bing 54 carbs didn’t seem too popular and managed to pick up a couple of 5 pounds each. As per previous years, pricing generally was on the high side, with £9000 Twinport CZs and a £12000 CCM catching the eye. As a rule of thumb £1000 will get you a project pre74 or Twinshock, with circa £2500 getting you a race ready bike, though more for the desirable models. The psychology of buying/selling at Telford is covered in another article, except to say there are deals to be done, but you need to be the educated buyer, and pretty quick.

Tidy DT175 project anyone ?

I’d not been on the Sunday before and true to say whilst it is quieter, there are some deals to be done on bikes that might have not made their higher asking price on the Sunday (the 1970 Husky being one of those). A bit more space and time gives you a chance to visit the vendors at leisure and maybe pick up a few bargins missed on the whirlwind travese of the jumble on the Saturday morning, as you look to beat the Belgians to the bargins.

Staying up for the weekend also meant you could enjoy the delights of the Wetherspoons in Wellington (close to the Travelodge) and of Telford (near to the Premir Inn and Park Inn) as well as getting you stomach around the surperb breakfast at the nearby Boxwood Cafe. Not a lot of gossip, but AFAIK noone got the tape measures out for bike suspensions, which avoid the controversy of the previous year. Coming off a busy work week, wasn’t really in the most refreshed mood for Telford but managed to struggle through and really enjoyed the weekend, which flew by. Though some will rightly argue that it’s not what it was, it is still a worthwhile show for the classic MX or trials enthusiast. As the Belgium contingent will testify, there is no other show like it in Benelux, though some of the larger autojumbles like at Novegro in Milan will be a better place for Italian exotica.

A Development Weekend

Devon Classic

Weather forecast was good, so with the 1967 Bolt Up and 1968 250 is was time to start my right-hand gear change season. After thrashing around in the mud at Battle MX for the practice the week before , looking forward to going racing.

Top of the Hill.

Nice drive to Windwhistle on a quiet Easter Sunday with little traffic and lodged the van into the rather cramped paddock. Kevin (and his loyal supporters) were all there and managed to jam the van in nearby, prior to scrounging a cup of tea and a sausage. Track was laid out on a hillside, with racing mainly off-camber. Great view though. The start had a steep slope, so no problem selecting the right gear from the line. It joined the main lap at the bottom of a steep grassy slope, which proved to be the biggest challenge in practice.

Sunshine, and racing. Kevin on the Husky

Kevin was on his 1972 450 Husqvarna he’d picked up at the end of the previous season, now with the nice new tank he’d picked up at Telford. I decided to use the 1968 Husky, really as I’d not used it before. Steve James was on the 1973 Honda Elsinore he’d picked up from Terry Powell during the closed season.

Packed paddock
I’d picked up how to start the Husky, without flooding it, which they are very prone to do with the early Bing carbs, so got to the start of practice no problem. Bike went well, with the only issue a slight cut out (fueling ?) under load in the higher gears. The track itself was nice and slippy so spent most of the time in 1st and 2nd, with the challenging hill indeed being a bit of pain on each lap. Overall, very happy with the bike.

Kevin return from practice, without losing the rear wheel (which he’d nearly done in practice at Battle MX) but about to adjust the chain he notice he’d lost the collar and spring off one of the rear shocks. I lent him the YSS shocks off the 67 Bolt Up so he could race.

Another Elsinore ?

First race of the day was the pre74 250cc and by some miracle, managed to get 3rd into the first turn, with about 15 other riders behind me. This made the getting up the awkward hill a lot easier and and managed to get round the circuit though losing a few places in the process without too much hassle. The older tyres were not clearing the mud, so dropping it on a corner on the last lap wasn’t great.

Second race saw the fuel tap detach from the tank just off from the line and spray petrol everywhere, so not the best. The threads from on the tap that attached to the tank were worn and the lower threads from the collar to the tap itself were none existent. The PTFE tape had given way (this is when you discover what people will do to keep a bike running to sell it).

Third race was delay, so whilst in the pit box, the Husky choked up and wouldn’t run. I then walked backed to the van, got a spare plug and got it running for the over 250cc race. Kevin had a similar problem, but we both got away from the line. Not far in my case however as the clutch burnt out. Later inspection showed they were significantly worn, which was surprising as this normally shows up when you kick the bike over.

All in all, a mixed day, but no problems with the right foot change and the 1968 Husky is a nice handling bike. Carb and clutch issues to resolve, hopefully before the upcoming Teifiside round.

Red Marley

There are number of reasons you should go to Red Marley, if the weather is good.
– you’ll see bikes and riders you will not see during the rest of the year. People develop and build bikes for the sole purpose of going up this hill.
– you’ll see those people who build the bikes
– it’s a different event, with lots going on and around 4 hours of racing.
– if you are riding, you can say you’ve got up the hill.

From the bottom. The Red Marley hill in its normal photo, with the steepness flattened out.

On the other hand, it’s a bit pointless if you’ve got a standard 250cc 2-stroke Huskie. You are about 300-400cc short on the necessary capacity to be competitive. You’ll get up the hill, but not that quickly. It was good to see that the winner in the up to 350cc class was a two-stroke Greeves but it was a real special with an impressive expansion chamber and some serious tuning.

View from the top

Enjoyable day however and at least I can say I have ridden up the hill. I used the 67 Husky on the day and I proved (twice) that you cannot ride it over the pimple in 2nd, as it just hasn’t got the power. Both races I resorted to 1st and no problem. Never the quickest and didn’t qualify but good to say that I’d done it.

Artist at work

Martin Squires is a guy who likes to draw bikes and he did a nice picture of the 1968 Husky (he wouldn’t have bothered with a Yamaha MX250 methinks)

Martin Squires drawing of the Husqvarna