Bike Fest at North Weald

Kevin Hunt takes to one of Dave Benge’s 500 JAP sprint specials

The day's events followed the usual format of a mix of quarter-mile sprint sessions between periods of circuits around the runway for solos, then sidecars. A lunchtime interlude saw a brief demonstration of vintage grass track and speedway bikes on the ground adjoining the main runway.

The meeting attracted a good selection of earlier bikes. Veteran sprinter Dave Benge is still recovering from a serious industrial accident, so he lent one of his JAP specials to Kevin Hunt who repaid the favour with a best of 14.74, which appeared to be the quickest time of the day by the earlier machinery.

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Later, classic-period bikes included Phil Hazelwood's supercharged (and seriously loud) 250 BSA-engined bike. Tony Guy was getting to grips with Tony Eykel's Ariel Arrow. Shaun Harvey had a very smart Greeves Oulton, the 350 equivalent of the Silverstone. Classic circuit racer Leigh Clark was on a very neat 1972 500 Triumph.

After a busy morning, most riders were looking to improve their times, but the afternoon's activities were severely curtailed when the strong headwinds brought a series of heavy rain showers. 

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