Although it was a late start to the Southern Championship this year due to the loss of Warwickshire’s Shakespeare County Raceway to housing no less than 80 plus Competitors and 16 Day Riders converged on the Westonzoyland quarter mile airstrip for a weekend’s sprinting in Somerset’s traditional warm sunny conditions that kept the times consistent and the racing entertaining for the big crowd who were on hand to watch the action.
With six sessions of timed runs planned for both days classes 2 and 3 for 50cc and 125cc machines sadly only produced one entry apiece; this being Peter Wilson’s diminutive Italian Morini and the Yamaha of Martin Bracey. From the two runs put down on Sunday against some of the events more powerful bikes Peter’s Italian made racer notched a best of 35.88 while Martin’s Yamaha went all the way carding a best of 14.89 (Sat) and 15.05 during Sunday’s five timed outings.
In the 250cc class Gavin Shaw took his Mandez ‘Tulip’ drag bike to a day’s best of 13.88 at 83.14 mph. Built over in Holland by Ferry Brouwer – the founder of Ari Helmets – Ferry took this particular chassis with a Yamaha engine for company to several creditable Dutch Sprint records at Valkenswaard in the early seventies before switching to Bultaco power. However in the absence of Gavin from Sunday’s programme Brian Priddle rode his CB 175 Honda machine to a creditable 19.05 despite a quicker 18.55 recorded the previous day. Les Toogood bought a long one of his many Ariel Arrows along for a 22.96 ticket to show support!
The 400cc class was dominated by the Cheltenham based drag race inspired 347cc Yamaha RD of Neil Curtis with an 11.40 against Tony Pettitt’s Clift Honda (12.84) and the VFR400 of Martin Bracey at 13.40. Neil was also on double duty in the 500cc Racing class with a KX420 Kawasaki. Being the only representative both days the run on Sunday of 11.76 at 116 mph added more points towards the Blays of Twickenham Racing Championship.
Black Dragon Motorcycles proprietor Peter Ford was in dominant form all weekend to steal points away from Alan Tinnion. From all of his programmed rides Saturday’s conditions provided the motorcycle guru with a 9.19/152.20 ticket on Saturday and an even quicker 9.10 on Sunday to knock another couple of hundredths off his track record as well. Whatever Pete had been cooking up over the winter had obviously worked for his blown 750cc Suzuki Bandit!
Representing Team Over The Hill was Yeovill’s Paul Taylor and his eleven second Fireblade. Bought for the princely sum of £500 ten years ago Paul was the only representative of his class on Sunday with an 11.54 best but for Saturday’s runs it was a slightly different story as Andrew Lodge took his 1000cc GSXR into the nines at 9.83 followed by Terry Morgan’s 998 Ducati and Bob Anderson’s aging Hagon Jap drag bike.
Nicknamed the ‘Manx Man’ Alan Morrison was back from across the Road Racing Capital of the World to lead the Unlimited Racing category by taking his nitrous injected 1000cc Suzuki to a 9.06 and several high eight’s (including an 8.99) on Saturday and an 8.93 to win the class points against Mark Taylor’s 1100 GSX and Andy Boswell’s B&H Motorcycles Harley Sportster drag bike; Gonzales.
In the Unlimited 3 Wheeler and the Vintage 500cc Pre 1946 classes there was only one winner in each and that was Bridgewater’s Dave Langley on his Yamaha XJR (14.70) and John Young who took his Triumph Jap through to a 13.37 on Sunday. However in the 350cc Vintage Post 1946 class it was a battle of the two John’s as John Carter’s Velo Mac took Saturday’s win (15.18) against John’s 15.92 only to have the roles reversed on Sunday as the Triumph Jap stole the top time of 14.49 to the Mac’s 15.24 leaving new boy Jeremy Deeks in third at 16.82 from his BSA BG32GS. It was an all BSA affair in the 500cc Vintage Post 1946 class with Simon Rees taking a rare outing on his BSA ZB32 Special 400 to an 18.08 while the Goldstar belonging to Ted Reading took Saturday’s win with an 18.01. The Scooter class only ran on the Saturday and was won by Tom Russell’s 230 Lambretta with a 14.44.
The three Classic classes went to Japser Joy’s Triumph Trident, the H1 Kawasaki of Clive Hurst and Robert Broom’s Yamaha XS740.
Counting towards the Ace Café Road Legal classes, fresh from competing in a season long series of NAST ET Bracket Races at Shakespeare County Banbury’s Andy Ball took his 2T Engineering backed Yamaha 250 to a best of 13.39 on Sunday over Arthur Bosworth’s Aprilla RS at 13.52. Multiple Sprint Champion Alan Tinnion took the 125cc and 750cc classes on the teams Cagiva and J & L Racing Kawasaki respectively. The 1000cc wins went to the K6 Suzuki of Tony Wood over Mark Wheeler’s R1 Yamaha (9.86 to 9.97 respectively). Steve Everett was also in fine form on his Busa resulting in times of 9.93 and 9.86, while in the Superstreet class Barry Varndell took his Kawasaki Turbo to two low 9.3’s to win the class over the 998cc GSXR Suzuki of Andrew Lodge and the Pro Street Kawasaki of Pete Richardson. Quickest from the sixteen ‘Day Entries’ was a 9.66/149.91 blast from Ross Morrison Jr’s Dorset based 1300cc Hayabusa.
Full results with timing data from Portatree can be viewed from the ‘Results’ page of the sprinting.org.uk website.
A Southern sprint.
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