Note: John is such a stereotypically modest Englishman he didn't want to write about his first ever win in the DTRA Vintage class, so he wrote using a nom de plume. This, of course, is ridiculous, so I edited his copy back from the third person. Congrats John, you rode like a demon. GI
June's Vintage DTRA round became a non-championship points-scoring at the Greenfield TT because the scheduled Saturday was rained off and a key championship contender couldn't make the rescheduled Sunday race. But July found the DTRA hosting a two-round weekend at the (nearly) half-mile cushion track of Amman Valley in South Wales.
24 Vintage bikes entered, but due to injuries, by the time grids assembled we were down to 20.
It was great to see contender Ross Jackson #130 back on track with his Yamaha two-stroke; Paul Murrell #60 debuted a lovely Royal Enfield twin and local Andy John #175 on his BSA twin.
With the 350 Aermacchi Harley Davidson of #64 Jeremy Skipp, Sean Kelly #33 Suzuki, and Ariel of #95 Vince Hurst, the class was showing a healthy mix of machines to add to the more typical Triumph twins, BSA singles, Yamahas and Bultacos. A pity that the no shows included Ossa, CZ and Husqvarna.
Being Amman, local hero wildcard, Guto Llewelyn #79 brought along his J.A.P powered bitsa and gave everyone a demonstration of how to master the conditions.
Round 4 on Saturday was close to being rained off, but the brave decision was taken to go ahead late in the day. The track was wet and sloppy for the length of the pit straight, however the long corners and back straight were better. With front mudguards fitted and wearing weather protection the riders braved the conditions. Running out of time in the programme to hold finals, results were declared from the heat result scores.
Sean Kelly #33 maintained his winning streak, winning the two-stroke class ahead of Ross Jackson #130 and Mike Fisher #80. Suzuki, Yamaha, Bultaco.
Four-stroke was never going to be anyone but maestro Guto Llewelyn, fastest on track and the only rider to get the better of Sean Kelly all weekend. Filling 2nd and 3rd spots were the stock framed Triumphs of me, #72 and Carl Swateridge #257.
Guto was named Sideburn Rider of the Day after topping the times sheets and emphatically winning all his heats. It's such a shame we don't see Guto ride more than once a year.
Round 5 on Sunday was an altogether different affair, the sun shone, the track was dressed effectively and a full race programme was completed.
Hero engineer Rick Bearcroft #39 had spent the previous evening rebuilding the clutch on Frenchman Dimitri Coste's Romero tribute Trackmaster Triumph, whilst Daren Leggend #124 had also been up all night overcoming electrical gremlins on his Champion framed Yamaha.
Regrettably Guto was unable to race, but Vintage stalwart Adam Brinkworth #8 was there on his lovely BSA twin framer, bravely nursing his injured wrist on the bumpy track.
After some great battles throughout the grids in all the heat races the final was decided in style with Sean Kelly once again crossing the line first, hotly pursued by me, Ross Jackson, Dimitri Coste, Mike Fisher and Rick Bearcroft, the two-strokes neatly being alternately split by Triumph Twins. Just off the podiums and 7th across the line was Jeremy Skipp #64 on his little Aermacchi HD short tracker, proving that size isn't everything.
A happy first time visitor to the top step of the podium, I was named Sideburn Rider of the Day, finally putting to bed any question of period correct tyres being a disadvantage.
In the true spirit of Sideburn, both class winning bikes were road based models with stock frames, forks and swinging arms.
Action photos: Guy Robins Pit photos: Sideburn
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