Team Greenfield- Round 5 Race Report, Amman Valley
Round five and six of the Indian Motorcycle Flat Track Nationals presented by the Dirt Track Riders Association saw Team Greenfield make the 528-mile round trip to Amman Valley Trotting Track, nestled in the South-West of Wales. This double header is always set to be a spectacle with the half mile track providing some fast paced racing. However, in the week leading up to the race weekend the forecast looked grim, with much being thrown up into the air as to whether or not the race meeting would actually go ahead. On the Friday morning Anthony Brown made the decision to go ahead with Saturday’s race, so the Team could begin their journey down to wet Wales. Owing to the nature of Amman Valley and time constraints over the weekend the racing reverted back to the original format of three heat races, with the score from these heat races being combined to give the rider their grid position pick for the final.
Bailo’s second heat of the day was to be a toughly contested one. Lining up on the middle row of the grid, behind the two fastest riders of the day Toby Hales and Maikel Dijkstra, who would be setting off from the front row. Bailo was able to hang onto the back of Hales and Dijkstra, the three riders began to pull away from the rest of the competitors. It soon became clear that Hales meant business when he clocked a 24.978 second lap, edging that bit away from Dijkstra and Bailo. Bailo was able to cross the line in third place, 0.903 seconds off second place Dijkstra and 1.211 seconds in front of fourth place Gary Birtwistle. The third and final round of pro heat racing, again saw the two Greenfield riders in separate heat races. Pickering was up first, with his middle row start. Richard Mason was able to make a cracking start from the front row, with Hales working his way round the pack from the back row and Pickering holding on tightly to the second place of Toby Hales as they completed the first lap of racing. Hales increased the pressure on Mason as the race progressed, with Pickering sitting on the back of these two waiting for his chance. As Hales worked his way past Mason, Pickering was then able to increase the pressure on Mason, trying to find his way past him. Mason was proving difficult to pass and the laps clocked on, Pickering crossed the line in third place 0.443 seconds behind Mason, with another lap Pickering would have had the opportunity for advancement. The pace was fast In Pickering’s final heat, Pickering crossed the line 1.751 seconds ahead of fourth place Mear. Pickering’s point tally from his heat races earnt him fourth pick of the grid for the 12 and a half lap final. Bailo was up next in his final heat race of the day, starting from the back row. After the first lap Bailo was able to move up to third position, behind the #75 of Paul Young and the race leader #581 Dijkstra.
Bailo showed a fast pace mid corner, allowing him to drive out fast and increase the pressure on the #75 of Young. Bailo hunted Young down over the next lap and was able to come out on top and take second place from Young, Bailo then began to track down the #581. Bailo pulled out some impressive lap times but this wasn’t enough to reel Dijkstra in. Bailo finished the race in second place, qualifying third for the final.
All three of Greenfield’s Youth riders were out in force for the half mile round. Max Inman was back racing in the Youth Senior class after a successful weekend for him at the TT round, which saw him making huge progress in his racing with evident confidence boosts. In his first heat Max finished in a solid third place, with each lap his times increasing to finally an impressive 29.500 second lap, on his first ever outing riding his 250 on a half mile track. In Inman’s second heat he had bike trouble on the line, with the rest of the pack leaving him Inman was one lap down as he past the chequered flag. Un-deterred by the previous outing Inman lined up for his final heat race of the day. Struggling with his starts again he crossed the line in fourth place on the first lap,
Max then started to pick up the pace and was able to pass the #101 of Jake Dyer. Inman then really pushed himself and set his sights firmly on catching Archie May, Inman’s lap times again consistently improved, with his fastest lap of 29.093 seconds being taken from this final heat race.
Fergus Bluff the Team’s Youth Intermediate racer was back with the Team after missing the home round due to a school trip. It was clear Bluff was keen to get back on the bike and race, with a brilliant start to the day after taking the win in heat one from the middle row, leading from start to finish. The next heat would prove to be more challenging, Fergus was set to start off the back row with the #128 of Ted Wilkinson starting from the front of the grid. Ted was well on pace in the previous heat and had the advantage of a front row start behind him. As the green light appeared the riders set off, with Ted making a brilliant start but Bluff riding tactically through the field to grab second place by the time they crossed the line for the first lap. Fergus then began to lock Ted in his sights, but as the laps ticked over Fergus was just off Teds pace and couldn’t quite catch him. Bluff crossed the line in second place, 4.393 seconds ahead of third place Luke Gardner. Bluff’s final heat race of the day proved to be a spectacle. Leading from start to finish and showing absolute class and pace Bluff took the chequered flag 4.965 seconds ahead of second place Ted Wilkinson, who made an impressive last lap manoeuvre on the #159 of Luke Gardner to move grab second.
But Bluff looked effortless and broke into sub 28 seconds with a 27.892 second lap, the fastest of the Youth Inters all day. With all his other laps in the third heat clocking in the low 28 second region. Fergus smashed it and qualified first for his final.
For the Team’s Youth Junior rider Toby Johnson, the half mile track was obviously daunting. In his first heat race Toby saw it as an opportunity to just get to grips with the large track and take his time to adjust to riding a lot faster. For Toby’s next outing he had a lot more confidence and was noticeably increasing his speed, Johnson even managed a few passes. For his final heat race of the day Johnson was excited. After a great start Johnson was more on pack pace and showed confidence in increasing his speed down the long straights.
As the final lap loomed the #36 of Maddie Banks was firmly in his sights, having caught her up enough on the last corner Johnson was well aware that by just increasing his speed he would be able to do enough to make a last second pass- and that is exactly what he did. As the chequered flag was in his sight Johnson kicked it up a gear and out of nowhere showed us all that he could pull that throttle back hard and make the pass down the finishing straight on Banks to claim fourth place. As Johnson rode back around to pull off the track, he was very clearly proud of himself, with a glorious fist bump into the air- we knew he was one happy chap.
After some awesome heats races from the whole team we were disappointed as the weather continued to rage against us, with the misty rain turning into heavy droplets. It was then decided by the higher forces of the DTRA to draw the results from the heat race scores and to not run the finals over concerns for rider safety, in the increasingly poor weather conditions. Bailo finished the race meeting in third position, with Pickering right behind in fourth. Max Inman took third place in his class and Fergus Bluff took the win in the Youth Intermediate class. The forecast didn’t clear up and it continued to rain heavily throughout Saturday night, leading to the cancellation of Sunday’s Round Six. The next race meeting will again be held at the Team’s home track of Greenfield in September, but this time on the oval.
Thanks to Paul France (@pegef) for the brilliant and fast turn around on photographs.
Words by Leah Tokelove.