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Vintage Bikes Faster Than Factory Twins

A few years ago the DTRA (that's the UK national dirt track series, if you're new around here) introduced transponder timing for the majority of classes. You can buy your own or rent one from the club. The timing is accurate and takes the pressure off finding volunteer lap scorers. The added benefit is the MyLaps timing system is linked to an app called SpeedHive which logs results, race times and lap times. People can check the data on their smartphones at the track, or refer back to it later.

I was having a bit of a timing sheet nerd-out after Sunday's season opener and discovered something interesting. I stood in the middle of the track for the Vintage final, because Sideburn is the sponsor and I choose a rider of the day (more about that later). I'd just been in the Thunderbike/Twins final, and knew the Vintage final looked fast. Sean Kelly and Mike Fisher were off at the front on their Suzuki and Bultaco two-strokes, being chased by old-hand Paul Harrison on his Honda single four-stroke framer. When I looked at the timings, those three riders posted quicker lap times than Gary Birtwistle did on his way to winning the combined Twin/Thunderbike class on the factory American Flat Track-spec Royal Enfield Twin. And while he only had to do enough to win the race, it a slight surprise that Texas Chris Jenner was fastest lap of the Twins/Thunderbike race on his modified CCM Rotax.

The Vintage final was 20 minutes later in the afternoon, and the track had had some water (according to DTRA boss, Anthony Brown. I was getting changed out of sweaty leathers), but it goes to show, just how much track conditions change and affect lap times. I was 1.2s a lap faster in the first heat to the final (over 60 races later).

Viva the Vintage racers!


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