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25th Anniversary Challenge – Round 3

Bad Boy comes good

After an uneventful drive Friday afternoon the Pod pits were quite busy. Andy Ball had just arrived so we arranged the caravans in a circle as Pete Richardson was on his way with the Indian. A warm evening was just the start of a very fine weekend of weather despite it being late October. Unloading ‘bikes ready for Saturday it was time for tea and then beer o’clock around Pete’s camp fire (a truce was made with the Indian) until his ration of wood ran out.

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Saturday did not come with the fog as forecast so it was on with breakfast/signing on and organising the 14 riders who had arrived to take part in the final event for 2018. Peter Harrison was still having problems with the Ducati but supported the event anyway to give a helping hand.

First qualifying round shortly after 10.00 saw Joe Elliot in pole with current leader Andy Ball with ‘bike problems in 9th and Ian Crichlow unusually in last place. Paul Adams was the highlight, however, with best ET, Reaction and top speed! 2nd qualifier at 12.30 saw Andy back in form with number 1 qualifier pushing Joe into 2nd spot with Ian in 9th place still looking for his mojo (or Busa). With several delays due to various fluid clean ups it was straight into eliminations after the lunch break.

This was looking to be Andy’s day as he took out Dave Grundy in the first round (strange noises from the Triumph gearbox) and had a bye in round 2. Pete Richardson moved to round 2 when Louis Davies lost also due to gearbox problems. Robbie Dobbie gained a place in round 2 when Ian Turboville, on only his 3rd ride since being reunited with his old Harley, had handling issues. Joe Elliott thwarted Ian Chrichlow’s plan to go home with a trophy and Chris Mott was still in after riding around John Hackney. Of course Gary Hester just had to remove Duncan Barron and Paul Adams chased down Neill Curtis after a long wait, but lost.

Robbie moved to the semi after beating Pete with Joe sending Chris home and the more experienced Gary showing Neill some tricks.

The Challenge contenders were now Andy and Robbie who could only take the winners trophy and cash off Andy by winning the next two rounds. Unfortunately he met Andy in the semi, and lost with Joe beating Gary to meet Andy in the Final. Having already taken first place in the Challenge could he beat Joe to take another winners trophy and the gamblers cash?

The final was held in the dark, shortly before 8.00pm and the curfew. After a close race Joe ended his season on a high but Andy had another trophy and a share in the gamblers pot.

Peter presented the trophies to our worthy winners at well past sunset so apologies for the quality of photos taken on the box brownie.

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Joe was given an additional award – The Bad Boy Pot Noodle – given for the smallest scooter riding pot noodle muncher. His winnings will easily pay for all his meals in 2018.

 Sunday

Another fine day with the pits full of NSA and Straightliners so we were not expecting as many oil-downs as Saturday with only motorcycles using the track. Signed on with Straightliners and we were given a new number to race under. Unfortunately, talking to Dave (Pod’s timing guru) he could only cope with SuperTwin numbers as per Saturday so only four of us signed up for the re-run of the rained-off September gamblers.

First qualifier at a little past 11.00 saw Paul Adams in fine form as number 1 running best ET, reaction and speed yet again, the sign of things to come. Andy Ball in 2nd with Robbie Dobbie 3rd. A very worried Pete Richardson had shut off half track after getting well out of shape and decided that he would not compete any further. Unfortunately this was not the end of his problems as the very smart Kawasaki Pro-stocker he had brought broke a footrest, preventing a ride, and later while kickstarting it he slipped and gashed his leg very badly (a day to forget).

Second qualifier, just after midday, saw Andy take top spot and relieve Paul of best reaction. It was decided to go into eliminations at about 1.00 but no-one thought to tell us that there would be a 30 minute lunch break after we had queued during an oil-down. Andy still had luck on his side so went straight into the finals with a bye. Robbie got the short straw with a race against Paul but was not giving up that easily. With a reaction time of 0.15 to Paul’s 0.12 it was going to be a close thing. With the Honda within inches of the line Paul just edged past, but what a finish – dialling in 9.13 he recorded … 9.130 on the black Suzuki!

The final would be interesting against Andy but we would wait until well after 4.00 due to another big clean-up when the Storm ‘bike popped at half-track. Andy was in for his 3rd trophy of the weekend but it would be as runner-up as in beating Paul to the finish he broke out.

It was also nice to see Chris Schreier on the start-line (complete with mop) and the rest of the family spectating.

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