With less than a week to go there is only only thing on everybody's mind. It isn't Trump's next announcement or what The Duchess of Cambridge had for breakfast. From Middlesborough to Memphis I know everybody is thinking about the DTRA Sideburn Vintage Class, which is shaping up to be another fun year for riders and spectators alike.
As the class covers bikes from the 1940's to the 70's there will be a hugely interesting and varied selection of machinery on track from hand-shift Harleys to the Trackmaster Triumphs. Above is a typical Heat race line up.
This year we have the added interest of a separate points championship for the two-strokes (they will run in the same races as the four-strokes as usual) so I thought we should have a look at some of my class mates to try to get a feel for how it's going to pan out.
Let's start with the ringa-ding-ding 2 stroke brigade.
It wouldn't be Vintage short track without an Astro and as ever Mike Fisher #80 will be campaigning his ultra lightweight Bultaco. When it runs cleanly this nimble bike is always a threat. The news is that Mike is starting the season with a fresh NOS engine.
I'm really happy to report that Mike Herman #20 & his gorgeous 1975 Kawasaki KX400 are due to rejoin our ranks after last year's sabbatical. Mike is always at the pointy end of the pack on his beautifully prepared machine. Mike also has a 1970 Trackmaster framed CZ380 in his stable for future use. You heard it here first.
Darren Legg #124 is set to be out again on his classic Ossa. Darren, like me, tries to keep things as period correct as possible, running useless old tyres rather than modern race rubber. I hear that Darren might be swapping orange for something yellow later in the season. Champion!
Ross Jackson #130 and his zinging yellow zonker are going to be back (end) out in his usual style. I'm really looking forward to his Yamaha being fully reliable now that Ross has fitted a new ignition system. Ross has the pace when his bike allows and has the 2 stroke championship in his sights.
French Sideburn Ambassador and crowd favourite Hubert Bastie #2 will be in the mix on his trusty (?) old Husqvarna. Hubert is one of the few riders in the class that can't be described as Vintage - most of us are old enough to be his Dad. Here he is at last year's Greenfield TT scaring the bejesus out of Rick with a typically flamboyant overtaking manoeuvre. Show off.
Hopefully Derek Brindley and David Van Parijs will bring their Bultaco Astros to some of the races and I've heard a rumour that King Herrod #52 has got a two-stroke Yamaha with the intention of coming to show us all how to win. I so hope that's true.
Please comment if you know of any other 2 smokers that are coming to the party or if I've missed anyone out.
The season starts at King's Lunn 7/8 April.
Photos courtesy of DTRA