Words - Dave Tibbles
Photographs - Haydn Wyatt
Twelve Pre-Injection teams headed north to East Fortune near Edinburgh for their fourth championship round over the weekend of 13th and 14th July. Following a wet qualifying session, the weather changed for the better, with a hot and dry weekend for the duration of the event. The Melville club provided food and entertainment, making for a great atmosphere and it was a totally enjoyable weekend for all racers and their supporters.
As racing goes with its inherent ups, downs and misfortunes even the best have their share of bad luck as Rob Fisher / Rick Long's clutch disintegrated whilst leading race one, so an overnight engine change was carried out.
F2 Race One
Fisher / Long (600 Baker Thundercat) started on pole; aside them were father and son duo Jody / Reece Sims (600 FZR Yamaha). The Sims' team-mates Hayley Christie / Mathew Sims (600 Thundercat) made it a three-way battle for the lead, swapping places several times. Next up were first timers to East Fortune, Andy / Joanne Thomas (600 Thundercat), ahead of Gerald / Daniel Hodgson (600 Shelbourne Honda).
After six of the eight laps the yellow Express Tyres backed machine pulled off track to retirement, owing to the aforementioned mechanical problem. The Sims claimed full points for their win, with Christie/ Sims coming in second, with the husband and wife Thomas combination completing the podium.
F1 Race One
Unfortunately numbers in the F1 category were down at this event. Mechanical disasters during practice saw the R1 long wheel based machine of Lee Chadwick / Steve Fairclough parked up for the weekend, with terminal issues which could not be resolved in the paddock. Missing from the line up was Joe Heys, who was suffering from back injuries; and also Simon Horton due to commitments at Chimay (Belgium) the following weekend.
Wes Pettman (720 Yamaha) travelled up from Gravesend, pairing up with new local passenger Ruby Pring. The two Steves – Alexander and Woolcott (Kawasaki GPZ1000) also made a long distance journey from Suffolk. Dave Tibbles / Raitch Greenwood (Yamaha FJ1100) completed the three surviving F1 combinations on the grid. After an excellent start it was the FJ1100 that took the first place with Pettman a close second, and the two Steves in third.
Due to unfortunate track incidents, oil spillages etc (by solo machines not sidecars!), it was not possible to run the full Saturday race program as the club ran out of time. Both the Scottish and the F.S.R.A. Pre-Injection Championships had discussions, and agreed that both parties were willing to run on a combined grid to save time which worked very well, enabling all sidecars to have three races on the Sunday, on a full grid of over twenty sidecars.
The full combined tight grid made up with top national F1and F2 teams made the starts exciting or frightening(!) depending on your outlook on life!
F2 Race 1
A routine win for Fisher / Long with the Sims taking the runner up position, and the Thomas pairing had a spirited ride to third place.
F1 Race 1
Tibbles / Greenwood repeated their Saturday success, fending off Pettman / Pring, with Alexander/Woolcott GPZ third.
F2 Race 2
Once again, Fisher Long and the Sims crossed the line first and second. Christie / Sims were third, while bad luck struck on the final lap for the Thomas's with a clutch problem sidelining them.
F1 Race 2
Pettman / Pring this time got the better of Tibbles / Greenwood to claim their first win of the weekend, with Alexander / Woolcott third.
F2 Race 3
Fisher / Long made up for their Saturday disappointment, with a perfect hat-trick of wins on Sunday; but this time the inter-team rivalry of the Sims and Christie / Sims provided an exciting spectacle of racing, swapping positions throughout the race, with the outfits crossing the line in close company.
F1 Race 3
Tibbles / Greenwood were back to their winning ways, with Pettman / Pring and Alexander / Woolcott claiming second and third respectively.
This was like turning the clock back to my early years of racing, where clubs did their best to promote affordable racing. Melville MCRC are a club of volunteers providing great facitilies for racers and their teams, including free electric for all, low priced food and drink on site, with all proceeds going back into the club’s coffers. Yes, it's a long way for many, but all teams agreed to returning for a round here in 2020.
A big thank you to our sponsors: Adrian Lane Building Services, Pagid Brakes and the F.S.R.A.
The fifty pounds prize for the meeting provided by Pagid this time was won by Rob Fisher, he does seem pretty good at this winning job!