Tuesday, 1 June 2010

MEFO European Cup - Amman Valley

Bank Holiday weekend is always shitty on British roads. I gave myself 5 hours to do the 3 hour jurney to Amman Valley in Wales for the first round of the MEFO European Flattrack Cup. It took me 6 hours.

 British Bank Holiday traffic brings a 3 lane motorway to a standstill...

I arrived 15 minutes before practice was due to start. It was still raining and a riders meeting was happening - a delayed start.

Cool tools for the job... 

Guto Llwellan's just finished Husaberg-powered Co-Built 

This weekend was billed as a Flattrack Festival with the first UK Harley XR meet, a streettracker show and a Davida helmet photo-shoot giving some glamour to the soggyness.

 Davida helmet photo-shoot

 Geoff was out with his just finished Aprilia engined Co-Built flattracker - loving the military style!

The delay because of the weather gave me a chance to attack those crap supermoto tyres I was running on with my homemade tyre-cutter: Pump pliers, blow-torch and a rill-fit blade. Tedious work!

The 'Welsh Step' cut - take note AMA boys! 

Shortly after the riders meeting, the rain stopped and we finally got out for 2 laps practice at 18:30. The track was water-logged - it was shit.

My bike still has small 17" wheels and non-flattrack tyres. I was slippin and a slidin everywhere on the 1/2 mile oval. I've got a helmetcam vid of this session that I'll upload to YouTube - you'll see how crap and slow I am.

But far worse than the slippy conditions is that my bike doesn't have a mud-guard and I didn't have any tear-offs for my goggles (I've never used them). The experienced lads all had cable-tied on mudguards and goggle cleaning systems. I had jack-shit. It took about 1 lap to reduce my visibility to zero. Wiping the goggles with my glove helped only a little. I pulled out of my first heat after three laps...

 Fellow riders helping to sort out some minor teething problems with Geoff's new bike

 Geoff's secret visibility weapon: big glasses!

Two riders gave me a tear-off from thier dwindling supplies. Armed with these I headed out for the second heat. 2 tear-offs for a 5.5 lap race (don't ask), so I figure #1 after 2 laps, #2 after 4 laps and a clear visor for the last 1.5 lap fight. No problem.

I do 2 laps and just when my visisbility is at about 1.5%, I tear off #1. Jeez! I can see... I attack! The fornt-end of the bike squirms and slides everywhere. Not fun... but I can see. Lap 4... I reach for tear-off #2. #2... #2?

Shit! Must have ripped them both off on teh second lap. Doh! I smear mud across my goggles for teh remaining 3.5 laps. I finish second last.

 This is about as much as I could see... jack-diddley-squat!

 Guto, Anthony and Geoff - all smiles despite the shitty track conditions

 "Well done mate! You came fourth!", "Huh?"

"Fourth! I came fourth!"

I was hoping the water would drain off the track for the last heat, but it just hung around and then jumped onto my goggles. It was desparate... 2 laps from the end a group of about 5 riders lapped me. I could see little, but as they passed me I could see nothing... I was slithering into the corner blind.

No hand free to wipe... I just followed the sound of thier exhausts around the turn. Racing Ray Charles style!

I tried to wipe as I was exiting the turn... cought a glimpse of the advertising boards I was heading for and ripped the goggles off... sheeesh! That was close. I finished last with mud spraying into my eyes.

The assembly area 

 All you can see are his eyes... a decent visor cleaning system was worth many places

I got another race in the 'B' final, but I had had enough of blindness and was starting to take chances I shouldn't so sat it out and cheered the others on from behind the barrier.

 Guto's new tash

Ben of Sideburn arrived in the evening with his unfinished CCM flattracker and started work on it in the paddock

With a hand here and there, Ben's flattracker was ready to rock 'n roll for his first flattrack outing in the next round of the ShottrackUK Championship in the morning 

 BBQ, beers and race stories in the paddock after... despite the weather, a good time was had by all

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