Dixon takes to the roads
Dixon takes to the roads

Ryan Dixon brings us up-to-date with his weekend racing in the Aberdare Park Road Races in Wales this year.10463806_10154341158555408_2419718480252884455_o

 

After an absolutely horrendous journey across the country to Wales, we finally arrived Friday afternoon in the quaint and quite beautiful park of Aberdare. I was really looking forward to the races this year after having to miss them last year due to a date clash with my main championship.

I was set to run both my old KTM supermoto bike as well as the R6 superstock bike in three different classes over the weekend! Once set up, we headed out for a bite to eat and a couple of beers to relax, ready for the weekends proceedings!

Saturday morning came around and straight away we encountered yet another problem and our first of the weekend. Things just don’t seem to be going our way just lately. Everything was set up, I was kitted up and good to go, we had warmed the R6 up ready for practice/qualifying but as we took the tyre warmers off, I engaged first gear and as I did so, the bike just cut out! Back on the stands it went and the investigations into the problem started.

The bike started and ran fine but as soon as 1st gear was engaged it just cut out. I had to leave dad and Big Fred to try and find the problem as I was out on the supermoto bike for qualifying soon after! As the time came, I went out on the KTM. It was very strange to be back on this style of bike and it felt very alien to me if I’m honest. After proceeding out onto the circuit, I immediately went for it that was until I ran wide exiting the final corner on lap 1, just onto the grass and narrowly avoiding the trees lining the track. After that little excursion I thought it was probably a good idea to build up slowly and use the whole session to get up to speed and that is what I did.

I had no idea how it had gone, so as I’m sure you can imagine I was very pleased to find when I returned to the time sheets that I was pole by 0.4 seconds. The Yamaha still wasn’t going which meant I also missed qualifying for the Welsh Open which wasn’t really ideal! We finally found the problem which turned out to be a wiring issue and I went out in the final practice session just to do the 3 laps required to qualify but unfortunately my time didn’t count and I had to start the 600 races from the back of the grid! Not ideal on a sort, tight and twisty track which is very difficult to overtake on!10459089_10152627400607354_8380785053429519695_o

Supermoto Race 1 – The time came for my first race of the day and despite being on pole position, my main rival Jimmy Hodges beat me to turn one and was immediately setting a blistering pace. I wasn’t expecting this at all and got myself into a bit of a fluster. He managed to pull around a 3 second gap on my at the front before I finally settled into a rhythm. I did start to very slowly reel him in but nowhere near fast enough to catch him before the end of the race and then a back marker put paid to any last minute charge by holding me up on the penultimate lap, meaning I had to settle for a second position finish by 2.4 seconds. Needless to say I was not impressed and this just made me more determined for the rest of the races!10476067_10154341287670408_8065267844963827124_o

Welsh Open heat race – Starting from the back, I had to make the top 8 to make the final. Luckily for me, there were enough riders to mean there were two heats and so I only had to start from 10th. I made a good start and was up to 5th by the end of lap 1. I slipstreamed past the rider in front on the start straight as we moved onto lap 2, leaving me 4th. I then followed Dave Hewson, who was 3rd for the next few laps, trying to find a way past, this proved difficult as he was running a similar pace to me but I managed to pass him on about lap 5. I then pushed on for the remainder of the race as the overall race time was to form the grid for the Welsh Open finals that were to take place later on Saturday and then the second on Sunday afternoon. A third place in this race was good enough for me and my time was good enough to put me 6th on the grid for the finals!10497983_10152625065467354_8790469878956035514_o

 

Park 600 race 1 – Starting from 15th on the grid and with just 8 laps, this race was never going to be easy! A good start saw me move into the top 10 or 12 on the long run up to turn 1. I then made some fast passes on the first lap to leave me running inside the top 8 or 9. In the remainder of the race, I managed to pick off a few more riders and move up to 6th by the finish.10507140_10154341321480408_376222761088880457_o

Supermoto race 2 – Again, Jimmy was faster away off the line, he started off very quickly again but this time I gave chase a little more successfully. We were very similarly paced and well under lap record pace and I was struggling to find a place where I thought I could pass him. However, as we neared the end of the race, we caught the back markers and this time they worked in my favour. I used my head and hung back a little as we entered the final corner. Jimmy got held up as we came onto the long start straight and I got a much better run, slipstreaming past him and the two back markers up the straight and from there on in I just pushed on and defended my lines where I had to and came across the line to take the win!10521759_10152636118957354_2605312781541987817_o

Welsh Open Final 1 – Starting from 6th made this one a little easier. A good start saw me move into 3rd on the first lap. I held third for a couple of laps before Dan Cooper passed me demoting me to 4th. A lap later, he crashed out and I was back in 3rd and involved in a full on, three way, race long battle with the two riders ahead. We swapped positions almost every lap of the 12 lap race. I never led the race but was second for a good few laps and was sitting thinking I could possibly sneak the win but unfortunately it was not to be. A mistake saw me drop to 3rd a couple of laps from the end and I never quite got close enough to mount any more of an attack and so had to settle for 3rd, finishing just 1.1 seconds behind the winner!10536822_10152627363252354_1129222288947442746_o

Park 600 Race 2 –  Again starting at the back, I made a good start and similarly to race 1, I pushed through, making places up throughout the race, eventually crossing the line in 4th. Not a particularly eventful race this time.

Saturday evening we attended the prize giving where I received my trophy for second overall in the supermoto class, with Jimmy taking the overall due to his two combined race times being better than mine. However, I was set to take revenge Sunday…

Sunday morning came and I was ready and raring to go. We were out in race 2 on the supermoto and as far as I was concerned there was no alternative except taking the win!10553697_10152317471979436_2915339032581831302_o

Supermoto Race 1 – Both me and Jimmy made horrendous starts leaving the 3rd position rider to beat us both to the first corner. We were both able to dispatch of him quickly enough. Jimmy took the lead and began to stretch a lead, over the next couple of laps he pulled around 2.5 seconds on me and it was not looking good. However, I got myself in the groove and got into a good rhythm, setting consistently fast lap times and was beginning to real him in.

I made a mistake exiting the second corner (probably the fastest on the track), running onto the grass and towards the tress. It was a fairly scary moment but I was on the charge and just kept it nailed (see attached pic of me on the grass, sideways whilst wheelying!) and somehow managed to reel Jimmy in. As we began the final lap, I was right on him. I wasn’t sure how or where I was going to do it but I did know I would be attempting a pass somewhere. As it happened, I managed to get much better drive out of turn 2 and get almost alongside him along the top straight. Then, it was just a case of waiting for him to brake, going past and then getting it stopped into turn 3, all of which I executed perfectly. It was then just a case of pushing on to the flag and I took the win!

Park 600 Race 1 – This was pretty uneventful. Starting from the back, I got a mediocre start, leaving me a bit of work to do in the race. I picked off a few riders but by the time I had made my way to 7th, the leading 6 riders had made a bit of a break. I caught up to the back of the 6th placed rider by the end of the race but was unable to mount a challenge as I simply ran out of time, meaning that I had to settle for 7th.

Supermoto Race 2 – Again, Jimmy got me off the start but only just. This time I was close on his tail out of the first corner. Exiting turn 2, I again got a better drive and made an almost mirror image overtake from race 1 into the third corner to take the lead. From then on, I pushed hard to try and make a gap but he stuck onto the back of me and I couldn’t shake him. On the final line, I defended and covered my lines to make sure he couldn’t get past me and did enough to take the victory again!10557655_10154341322165408_8721252949599701860_o

Park 600 Race 2 – This time I made a great start, making several positions on the run to turn 1. I then made a couple more slightly close passes on the remainder of lap 1 which left me running 5th. I dispatched of the 4th placed rider fairly quickly too before chasing down 3rd. It took a couple of laps to get through to 3rd by which time the lead pair had a bit of a break on me. I pushed on despite only having a lap and a half to go and actually managed to catch the 2nd position rider but it was towards the end of the final lap and so I didn’t have a chance to try and overtake him and so unfortunately had to settle for 3rd.

Welsh Open Final 2 – I knew a top 4 finish would secure me a top 3 finish overall in the Welsh Open Championship and so starting from 6th, I was confident this was a possibility. I didn’t make a great start but managed to battle through to 5th by the end of lap 1. I was struggling to pass the rider in front but eventually managed to find a way through to 4th but the front 3 had broken away and I wasn’t able to catch them. However, 4th in the race was enough to give me 3rd overall in the Welsh Open Championship which I was happy enough with, a great end to the weekend!

 

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