The weather since Narberth two weeks before had been hot, and the Sunday at Butterton for 6th round of the Welsh Championship was very different. Temperatures in the high 20’s all day, with 30 C recorded driving back in the van. With 100+ entries, this is the away round for the Welsh Championship (being in England as it is) but allows the Northern and Midlands riders a chance so an easier journey to junction 15 of the M6.
Cheryl and I arrived Saturday night after a trip into sweltering Birmingham and spent a convivial evening with the usual suspects, with some music, chat and healthy discussion on bikes, the championship. A walk of the track highlighted it’s length, the likely high speeds that were going to be encountered. Also clear that the grass wasn’t going to be around for long either, so dusty for sure later.
In the pre60/65 Metisse race, Phil Edwards and Joe Chell took maximum points, battling it out with the Bell’s who along with Peter Yates were visiting from north of the border. With Derek Brice off riding a hare-and-hounds, Mark Abbott and Matt Morgan gained points, though Phil Edwards took the lead in the championship with the 3 straight class wins. For the first time in a few years, Andy Carter has real competition in the pre60 championship with both Joe and Simon Chell scoring well on the day, also combining sidecar duties. Joe is now only 22 points behind Andy with 3 meetings left to the end of the season.
Having lost the seat off the bolt-up in race 1, it wasn’t a good day for the Husky’s though Matt Morgan got the place ahead of me in each race. The last race was dusty and without the power up the hill from the start, you had to chew and guess your way through the first few turns, making sure you didn’t hit the drop off in the second corner too far on the right.
Again, as has been the norm this season, plenty of entries in the Twinshock class, with Matt Fry, Sam Weaver and Andy Mills taking the top points in what was some competitive racing. Following a serious off during a special test on the Welsh Two Day, Ben Weaver was residing in a hospital bed in Aberystwyth and will likely be out for the season, and we wish him well. Another South Coast regular this season, Martin Kemp, also rode the Twinshock class and took 4th overall on the day. 250cc Honda mounted Bryan Wilkins also scored well and lies in 3rd overall. With Sam now holding a 100 point lead in the championship the battle is on for the other places in what has really been in revitalised class this season. However, with a new scoring system (to reflect the larger field), 1 mechanical to friable Maico could change everything during the last 3 meetings.
In the pre68 / pre74 lower capacity races, Mitchell Harris took race 1 and 3 wins ahead of Dan Evans (who took maximum points for the pre74 class). A coming together on the start of race 2, meant Mitchell had a delay start after checking if the other rider was okay, but managed to get up to 5th. Tom Owen only managed the complete race 1, and I managed to battle it out with Ken Wallington in the first two races and also with Matt Morgan again, with him getting the edge. Riding the first race with the choke on explained some of the performance problems up the hill. The Husky has been changed to Dellorto carb during the season and this sometimes floods, making warm starting a challenge sometimes if you stall it waiting for the start. Thanks very much for the push James Edge ! The pre74 races looked a bit different with an injured Ben Weaver not there and other Elsinore riders down at Farleigh and The King of The Castle.
In the pre78 race (which was combined with the upto 250cc Twinshocks), it was the 125cc aces (James Edge, Simon Chamberlain and Alan Woods) who took the points ahead of a very healthy field of bikes including a couple of new riders. James now has the championship lead ahead of Mark Shaw who didn’t pick up many points and the Narberth contingent who didn’t travel.
In the pre68 over 350cc / pre74 over 250cc, John Cash and Keith Roden joined in with Dan Evans and Mitchell Harris to battle for the race positions though Tom Owen came away with top points for the pre68 championship. Rob Wall had a off in practice and despite being run over was relatively sprightly and he was able to lend his bike to Sean Wilkins who’s BSA failed in practice. Sean then killed Rob’s bike in the first race, but they stayed to watch the racing and were fairly philosophical. You need to be with a BSA.
Down the field, Karl Steven’s carb slide stuck in practice and again in race 1, but he did manage to resume the battle with Ian Hall, before coming off in race 3. Glyn Drake on the Yamaha MX360 continues to battle away and with Keith Roden and Dan Evans have the top 3 places seemingly sewn up for 2018. But who knows what may happen.
All in all a hot but memorable days racing, which was well organised by the Acorns club and the meeting finished before the 5pm cut off time, with 21 races that managed to run without much incident.