They say it always rain at Abbeycwmhir, so it proved but if there is such a thing as good rain then this was it. The ground had been soften slightly over the previous few days and the relatively straightforward, fast track stayed in good condition all day. Slippery at the start, especially on the start straight, it became it’s usual bumpy self where picking the right line remained as important as ever.
It’s a pleasant paddock at Abbey, with the handy slope for bump starting Maico’s (and my Husky from time to time) and with a nice relaxed atmosphere with around 100 entries lined up for a great days racing. Practice was slippery but passed without any real incident, so it was ready for an 11h30 start.
The Pre60 / Pre65 and Metisse race was out first and Phil Edwards was back on track, though he had a strong challenge from visiting rida er Andy Camm throughout the day, as well as from Joe Chell (pre60) and John Pickering. In the end it was Joe Chell (75 points, pre60) and Phil (69 points, pre65) that took the overall honours. Great to see Roger Powell out on the CZ again, as well as Dave Bevan out riding as well. Matt Morgan finished consistently in all 3 races, but he lost his championship lead in the pre65 class (by 2 points) to Phil Edwards and based on current form, Phil will need to slip up during the September run in, when the 3 meetings at Teifiside, Chester and Llanthony will decide a number of things. Andy Carter retains lead in the pre60’s but there are quicker riders out there who can look to catch up on points.
Second race out was the Twinshocks, with 18 on the line for the first couple of races. Some issues with the start gate, meant there were some issues with the larger line-ups during the first block of racing. Honda mounted Steve Adams took the overall ahead of Jim Shand and series leader Ben Weaver, with series regulars Joel Edwards, David Weaver and Kyle Goodbear also picking up valuable series points. With two #36 riders (one in white and one in black), there might be some confusion in points, but we think Keelan Noble (the one in black) could have had a better day on the 490 Maico. We’d parked down the bottom end of the paddock, so didn’t get up to see as much racing as normal, made slightly more challenging being out in races 4 & 6, as well as race 1 in the final block.
It’s all change in the sidecar department, with coordinator Andy Carter stepping down and Trish Jones stepping up and looking to bring back more riders. With a mix of regulars and some newer machines to the track it made for some good racing, though the incident in race 19 was a result of faster, newer bikes, failing to lap another slower outfit. The injured rider was carefully placed in the ambulance and the delay was short enough for the last 5 races to be completed.
The combined pre68 up to 350cc / pre74 up to 250cc race had the biggest line up of the day and it made up for some spectacular starts (especially if you were in the middle of it), but visitor Chris Collins really mixed it up with Mitchell Harris (pre68) and Dan Evans (pre74) contenders. Good to see Luke Winn for the first time this season on the CanAm, though fellow CanAm pilot Kevin Pettit was t-boned by another non-championship rider in the first race which ended his meeting. Garr Warr and Sam Gittoes did manage to finish all 3 races, which keeps them in the hunt for trophies with the 6 week summer break coming up.
For the first time this season the 125 A and B groups were run together creating a packed start line of 20 screaming banshee’s and some really fast and furious racing! Sean McRea followed on from his winning ways at Acorns by taking all three races, but he was pushed hard by Jim Shand and Ian Knight and these three took overall honours and 1, 2, 3 in the A group. Sean now seems to have an almost unassailable lead in the series, ahead of Alan Woods who holds a narrow points lead over John Cash. Behind them things were still very fast and furious with John Cash, Alan Woods, Gary Hirst, James Edge and Simon Chamberlain mixing it up in some good battles.
In the B group Jonathan Smith took race 1 and Kevin Thornton races 2 and 3 to achieve overall honours, whilst group leader Dave Love placed third overall, surely stymied by a start line spin out and tangle with the track barrier in race 2, which also caught out second overall, Alistair Devall. Great to see Chris Fitzer and Julian Kowalewski for the first time. Barring trouble, Dave Love looks to have the series in the bag with a healthy lead over Alistair Devall, the pair riding the oldest bikes in the series, a ’77 Honda Elsinore and a ’74 Suzuki TM; whilst Jonathan Smith has now edged ahead of Craig Preston for third overall.
All the Evo riders must have been somewhere else, leaving Kip Herring to dominate and wrap up the 6 round championship with the last round at Teifiside on the 1st September now not really counting for much. With only 4 riders scoring points, Stephen Ethelstone is now tied in 2nd place with series sponsor Dan Griffiths, with the number-of-the-beast Matthew Evans moving appropriately up to 6th place. Rather than the devil, Matthew is the rider who was allocated the #1 plate by the AMCA randomly at the beginning of the season, and who graciously returned it. 666 is also the name of one of the best progressive rock albums ever, released on Vertigo. And yes, it features Artemios Venturis (aka Demis) Roussos.
Rob Jones (#20) is a force to reckoned with at ACH and this meeting was nothing different, with 2 wins in the first two Pre68 over 350cc races, but Mitchell Harris beat him in the last race with a blistering performance. After struggling to fix the bike all week back in the lair in Merthyr, Sean Wilkins pushed Chris Chell and Chris Collins all the way and came out 3rd overall, but Rob Morgan’s sure and steady progress through the season sees him move into 4th place overall, ahead of Martin Kemp, who made the trip from the South Coast on his own whilst Matt Fry enjoys the fleshpots of Disneyland.
Consistency is Will Rossouw’s middle name, and he moves into 2nd overall in the pre78’s behind the untouchable Alan Woods. Malcolm Herbert’s attempt on a temporary fix to the Husqvarna Automatic following the mud at Narberth were unsuccessful, meant that he only finished one race. What is great to see if riders like Will, in their 2nd championship year starting to pick up the pace and for sure, Will is a quick starter and the PE250 is pretty wide.
The pre74 over 250cc lineup was full enough to have it’s own race and it was the two Rob Jones’s were the main contenders, though the bike eligibility is to be determined (any information here, helpful). As such, Dan Evans took the most points, with Sam Weaver continuing to ride well after his delayed start to the season after getting distracted by the bling of modern bikes. Nathan Jones made some blistering starts and ended up level on points with Chris Chell. Good to see Glyn Drake out for the first time this season and for Jess Yates to make the long trip up from Dorset.
The track was relatively straightforward and despite the small amount of rain, lap times were around the 1m15s mark for Kip Herring on the Evo, so most riders will be looking at 1m40s per lap. Not the longest race, but Abbey is a safe track and though the hole by the finish and the turn across the bridge just after it are always cause for caution, it rode well and provided a good challenge in what were excellent conditions.
Jon Britton has stepped in as the Team Captain for the Classic MX des Nations teams over the last couple of months and there was some activity during the day as he looks to close down the last couple of places. As in previous years, we’re hoping to take 4 teams (30+, 50+, 60+ and 66+) and there will be a further announcement shortly
The results are below. Using the embedded spreadsheet gives you the most up to date results; the PDF is a fixed snapshot that won’t always include updates.
Whilst there was some fallout from the meeting at Narberth, with the successful meeting at Acorns and now at Abbeycwmhir, things are now very much back on track for the 2019 season. With 3 rounds to go, it’s looking good for another exciting end to a season of competitive racing.