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Ashley & Absinthe at Amman Valley

Apologies for the lack of blog posts recently. My concurrent career, as a writer for hire, has been particularly demanding, so I went straight from finishing a big project, and few some smaller ones, into the last two weeks of production of the next issue of Sideburn (#34, out on 4 September). Plus my two offspring and I left on Friday morning for the five hour drive to South Wales, to race with the DTRA. Something had to give.

But we're back, at the start of the last week of production for the mag, and we have a few blog posts this week, starting with this one...

Bon viveur to top them all, Nick Ashley, made his DTRA comeback in Wales, on a newly imported from the USA, Bultaco Astro. Without the opportunity to test it, he was straight into the Sideburn-sponsored Vintage race. The bike misbehaved slightly, but it was great to see him out on the big track.

Unfortunately, the DTRA's biggest and most expensive race meeting of the year was cut short due to Wales. I mean, rain. Practice got underway at 10.30 on Saturday morning, with the slick organisation moving quickly to get as much racing in before the forecasted precipitation arrived. It started raining at 1, but only lightly, the Welsh just call it hill mist, but it's rain all right. It caused my visor to mist up, a problem I've never had before with the Icon AirFrame Pro, but it kept the dust down. South Wales had been, uncharacteristically, dry as bone until we arrived.

Then the rain got heavier and the clerk of the course called the meeting before the finals, but after everyone had their three heat races.

So it was into E-Z-Ups, under awnings and hiding in motorhomes. The Sideburn gazebo hosted Nick Ashley; Geoff Co-Built; Adam Brinkworth ( who's Death Spray-painted race rig and BSA twin, below, is featured in Sideburn 33); Anthony and Anna - the DTRA main organisers, and Ozzer, the DTRA photographer. My beer was drunk, then Anthony appeared with a bottle of Chambord raspberry liqueur that was passed around. It was followed by bourbon, then Ozzer (above) pulled out a bottle of Absinthe, the hallucinogenic firewater that some blame as a factor in Vincent Van Gogh cutting part of his ear off. It wasn't even 5.30pm by this time.

It proceeded to rain for 15 hours straight, so Sunday was a write-off. This track is a long way to go, for a lot of people, but it's the biggest track we race and the surface was great while it lasted, plus it's always good to see the whole DTRA family.

Huge thanks to all the volunteers who make it happen for us racers.

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