Last Friday the Dilligaf Racing team set off in convoy heading west to the Welsh road racing capital that is Aberdare!
This would be the team’s second time out at the Welsh TT in as many years, and a good first road racing test for the new CBR600rr in her new blue and orange livery, running Steve’s favoured ContiRaceAttack Comp tyres.
The first Aberdare Road Race was held in 1950 in the picturesque town park. The tree lined track, only 0.9 miles long, is a challenging and technical circuit none the less. The lap record on a 600cc bike is 39.17s, held by Dan Cooper. This year’s racing line up included TT brothers Mick and Mark Goodings and British Supersport rider Ryan Dixon, along with lap record holder Dan and local racing hero, Jay Bellers-Smith.
As they entered Aberdare Park, the Welsh rain closed in to make for a rather boggy and damp paddock.
The track began to dry the following morning and at 8:45am the first session was well underway. Moody’s first practice was the third session, and despite a few shaky laps at the start Steve and the bike were soon synced in harmony, and laps were flowing smoothly.
Steve was due to compete in the Park Challenge and Welsh Open, and was grouped with Ryan Dixon, Dan Cooper and Mick Goodings amongst others. In qualifying for Heat 2 of the Park Challenge, Steve was 5th fastest. Moody was now feeling more confident and comfortable with the new bike with each lap as seen by the improvements in his lap times in Heat 1 of the Welsh Open, where Steve knocked almost a second off his lap time to qualify 4th in his heat with a 42.8s best lap time behind the Goodings brothers and Ryan Dixon.
The first race of the day was Heat 2 of the Park Challenge. Steve lined up on the 2nd row of the grid. The 600 wheelied off the start losing Steve valuable fractions of a second, meaning he was unable to beat local rider Justin Collins into the first corner. Collins got the better start and all Steve and the CBR could do was play follow the leader as the watched the R6 move away from them. Moody stayed with Collins throughout the race and crossed the finish line less that two seconds behind Justin on his R6, with Cooper, Dixon and Goodings taking the top three slots.
Next up was Steve’s heat in the Welsh Open which followed a long delay after a coming together in the Junior race by the bandstand. The incident also meant that all races that followed would be only be 6 laps instead of the programmed scheduled 8, excluding the Welsh Open which would run as normal.
Steve was in the first of the Welsh Open heats, 4th on the grid behind Dixon and the Goodings brothers. This time Steve was flying, making an excellent start to grab a tow off Mick Goodings on the Kawasaki ZX6. On lap 4, Steve’s enthusiasm to get past the Kawasaki saw him make a mistake on the brakes and take the corner wide, loosing valuable time and causing him to lose his tow. However, Steve comfortably held onto his 4th place and with a 41.7 s fastest lap time, qualified in 7th overall for the Welsh Open final, which was to be postponed until the following morning due to the earlier delays.
The last race of the day was the Park Challenge final, with Steve qualifying in 8th place, mid pack in a grid of 16 riders. Once again Steve had a poor start allowing Justin Collins and Andy Hayes, sat either side of him on the grid, to get away into the first corner. Moody was now back in 9th and began the charge to try to pass both riders in front of him. A fiercebattle took place between Steve on the CBR, Collins on the R6 and Hayes on his ZX6. On lap 4 Steve managed to pass Collins going into turn 1 and set his sights on Hayes, whilst Collins looked to regain his position. For three laps Moody tried every which way he could to pass the ZX6, showing his front wheel on several occasions. On the penultimate lap, Steve went for the lunge at the corkscrew but didn’t quite pull it off. Determined to gain an extra place before the chequered flag, Steve once again went for the overtake at the corkscrew on the final lap. As Steve dived up the inside, Hayes tried to close the door and the bikes had a coming together causing both to go straight on into the hay bales and trees.
Although Steve was fine with just a few scuffs on the leathers, the bike was not so fortunate. Sadly, the impact had not only broken the throttle but had also broken the frame, which meant there would be no more racing for Steve and the team for the rest of the weekend.
They now head back to Oxfordshire with the task of rebuilding the bike ahead of the Manx GP which is getting closer and closer.
Photo credit to Steve McDonald Photography.
Find out more about the ContiRaceAttack Comp here.