The Chariots enjoy the Canada Heights Sunshine

The Chariots enjoy the Canada Heights Sunshine

Under glorious sunshine and clear blue skies Round 7 of the ACU British sidecar MX championship got underway at Canada Heights on the morning of Sunday 7th October.

The weather, although ideal for racing on the Sunday, hadn’t been so kind the week before. Suffering from heavy rain on the Friday it had left the course still boggy and waterlogged in places come race day. Although the solo riders had managed to complete the course, to a fashion during practice, questions were being asked early morning as to whether the sidecars would be able to get out on track at all that day. Following discussion between drivers and officials the sidecars finally hit the circuit in a cloud of flying mud clumps mid morning, for a practice session that only served to prove that the track in its current condition and configuration was far from ideal for the sidecar teams. A couple of laps in and out came the red flag, practice session 1 over, circuit not ride able. After a short delay and a change in track configuration out they came again for practice session 2. This time things certainly went better as most if not all teams completed the session without the need to be helped out of the ever clawing gloop.

With the sun now shining high there was the hope that the track would dry out sufficiently for some good racing during the afternoon sessions. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

Block 1 for the solos of all classes were obviously struggling through the uphill and tight corner sections of the track, with marshal’s expending significant time and energy helping stranded riders out of a mud soup that wasn’t improving as the afternoon progressed.

And so we reach the finale to block 1 of 3, the sidecars. Set underway on a modified circuit in the hope that they would be able to complete the race, the initial stages were looking good as they all completed lap 1 without significant incident.
Inevitably though the mud won out causing teams to come to a dead halt on the euphemistically named ‘race line’ with a lengthening queue of teams behind not able to go around or go back. Result, red flag, race over and time to return to the pit lanes, or in the case of one unfortunate cart rider, jump off and watch his driver attempt to get the rig to the top of a particularly boggy step up. Mission accomplished, pinnacle reached the somewhat muddy passenger jumps back in to a rapturous applause from the crowd, I suspect offered more out of irony and pity at the state of the days play.

Perhaps inevitably, and certainly correctly, the decision was taken at this point to abandon the meeting entirely. So the Canada Heights fixture comes to an inglorious end having completed just block 1 of 3.

A distinct anticlimax to a good seasons racing, but having walked most of the circuit the bigger surprise is probably why wasn’t the meeting cancelled earlier as the track in places was more akin to a bad day at Passchendaele than suitable for MX. But, despite the conditions, track officials, marshals’ and support teams played there part admirably and put on a stoic effort to keep things rolling in the aftermath of atrocious rain. On more than one occasion marshal’s were out on track helping riders dig, and I do mean DIG, bikes out of the mud…a fantastic effort all round under very trying conditions, my hat goes off to both the riders and Sidcup & District MCC for putting on a great event in the face of very trying conditions.

As for the race result, well it’s almost of no importance as far as Round 7 is concerned, but carrying on their good work for the 2012 season Stuart Brown and Josh Chamberlain appeared to make the best of the mud and were in a comfortable position at the head of the race when the red flag was raised.

As for the seasons results that was virtually decided before Sunday, with Stuart Brown and Josh Chamberlain taking the honours for 2012. However a milestone has been reached now with a big congratulations to Stuart Brown for his 10th title victory.

Words and Images by Dave Gilbert

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