Neil Lloyd is targeting a Classic charge

Making his debut on the road racing scene using both classic and modern machinery ensured Neil Lloyd had a topsy-turvy 2018 campaign – but he still managed to secure some top results at some of the most testing circuits in the world.

The Isle of Man proved a happy hunting ground for the Wednesbury racer, who swapped the gruelling 37.73-mile TT course – having previously competed at the Manx GP which uses the same circuit – for the smaller Billown track in Castletown.

But racing around the dangerous 4.25-mile road track is no mean feat either, so the 49-year-old was more than happy with his results at the Pre TT Classic, which is raced before the main Isle of Man TT races in May, and then the Southern 100 in July.

Both are raced at Billown and both test the racers who ride at very fast speeds while negotiating walls, lampposts and hedges.

Another ticked off the list for Lloyd was the Aberdere Park Road Races in Wales where, despite entering for the first time, he came away with four top 10 finishes.

Lloyd also found time to compete in some club races this year too, again with varying degrees of success, but his passion now lies in the road racing scene and he already hopes to be back on the island and over the border in Wales in 2019.

His three-pronged attack on the racing scene – on his Honda RVF 400, and two classic bikes, a CB500/4 and BSA750R3 – brought a mixture of results, as well as the usual bike problems that surface when racing vintage machines.

"Our season got off to a bad start," said Lloyd.

"Having spent out on a tuned engine for the RVF it blew up after six practice laps, so we missed a lot of the early club races.

"Meanwhile, we were sorting out a classic CB500/4 we'd bought.

"We got our first race on our CB and also George Pooly's BSA 750 R3 at Mallory Park in early May.

"Our classic CB ran well but we had some issues with the BSA heading into the Pre TT Classic on the Isle of Man."

Further issues with the BSA forced Lloyd to park it up in the garage while on the island but he was able to race the CB to eighth in the support race, in what was his first ever road race on a classic bike.

"Our next big meeting was the Southern 100 on the RVF," he said.

"With the bike repaired, we again suffered more race engine failure but still managed to qualify.

"We had to race with a stock motor fitted but still had two 15th place finishes.

"Aberdare Park was next, which was a new meeting for us, and we came away with four top 10 finishes.

"When then finished off the season at various club meetings but we're now planning a return to the classic Pre TT Classic next year, as well as putting in entries in for the Classic TT.

"We're looking at entering the Chimay Classic races in Belgium too.

"The Southern100 dropped the 400s for 2019, which we were gutted about, but Gary Wilson of Gary Wilson Sidecar Racing has offered his CBR600RR to use so we will be putting entries in for that now, as well as racing it at a few club races beforehand to get it set up properly.

"We're still looking into other various races and club meetings to run the classic bike and RVF.

"Both are being stripped and prepped through the winter. We'll be running a standard engine in the RVF for reliability reasons.

"I'd like to thank Lloyds Transport and AJ Restoration, who have both confirmed their support for 2019, as well as Lloyds Electrical Design, Brotherton Cycles and every one who has supported us this year.

"We're still waiting to hear if the rest are continuing their support for 2019 but we would also like to welcome ModeLed Ltd, which carried out lighting conversions, on board for next year.

"We're always on the lookout for new sponsors with plenty of room on the two bikes for advertising.

"Our goal for 2019 is to finish every race we start and better the previous year's results, with the ultimate goal of entry into Classic TT."

To sponsor Lloyd during his 2019 campaign, email neill_lloyd@hotmail.co.uk

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