After kicking off the 2018 season with a breathtaking and thrilling Saturday evening of racing at King's Lynn in the Hooligan, Pro and Inter classes, Sunday morning dawned wet and dismal. Everyone hoped it would dry out, but in the end the meeting was scrubbed after practice and the first heat races. Quite right too. Conditions were terrible, the track a sodden, gloopy mess. I've never mud wrestled jellied eels but I imagine there would be more grip than I found available out on the track. Race paces were slitheringly slow and riders slid off constantly, but there were some extraordinary performances in both the Vintage heats.
Peter Jordan #15 on his little BSA C15 ran rings around the other riders in the first heat very nearly lapping the entire field. He claims it was all down to his tyres (knobblies), but there was more to it than that.
David J Webb #140 slithered round the heat to finish second ahead of Angelo Van Zele #55, but his heavy BSA 650 twin couldn't do anything about Pete's lightweight 250 single.
In the second Vintage Heat, I and many others watched in disbelief as Mike Fisher#80 rode as if the track was as still in as perfect condition as on the previous evening, blitzing everyone else on the oval and setting fastest lap time of the day, across all the classes. It was a wonderful demonstration of confidence, skill and bravado as he scythed through the cack leaving everyone else plastered in the awful stuff. His Bultaco, wearing worn out old tyres, found grip and flew around the track.
Wildcard Odgie #163 (featured in SB29), on his speedway tyred, big bore BSA twin battled past French Ambassador Hubert Bastie #2 into second place with an impressive mastering of the terrible conditions, but there was no catching the Flyin' Fisher.
Guy Sutherland's much anticipated return to the grid was marred by an impressive, flame spitting backfire on his Trackmaster Triumph.
Mike & Peter proved the track was ridable if you had the skill and right equipment. I had neither and sat out my heat knowing the limits of my own meagre abilities.
Mike Fisher's performance was not a one-off fluke of an affair. The previous day he had entered his fresh engingd, 1972 Champion framed, Bultaco in the Inter Class races, which was amalgamated with the Pro class.
Transponders are wonderful things. You can't argue with the lap times printout, which after qualifying showed that Mike was fastest non Pro rider in tenth spot, a scant 0.8 sec slower than top jockey Toby Hales#20. The list of names and bikes headed by Mike and his 46 year old, 370cc two-stroke is truly impressive.
Early days to go making predictions, but is the writing on the wall for the two-stroke Vintage Championship?
All photos by Ian Osborne & Paul France