Neil Lloyd finds cheer in both rain and shine
Wednesbury race ace Neil Lloyd returned with top 10 finishes after a fortnight battling heatwaves and downpours on some of Europe’s finest road circuits.
Lloyd also secured personal best lap times from back-to-back meetings in Chimay, Belgium, and Castletown, on the Isle of Man, where he used both classic and modern machinery.
Riding a classic 500/4 at the first event on the continent, Lloyd began his week with a bad misfire, which in turn had left the bike feeling “pretty gutless”.
“Our electronic ignition decided to pack in so we decided to run the original stator and points for the morning practice,” he said.
“The qualifying session didn’t go to plan either with the bike feeling worse than before but we managed to claim 15th on the grid for the main races.
“I was disappointed with the qualifying performance but after working on bike during the afternoon we found an issue with the ignition, which we managed to sort out.
“A quick, unofficial test seemed to have done the trick and it meant we were now looking forward to hopefully getting a good start in the opening race.”
With a heatwave hitting all of Europe, conditions were seriously hot in Belgium and, despite still suffering from a frustrating misfire, Lloyd finished ninth out of 15 riders.
“I was happy with the result but I needed to check the bike over again,” he said.
“I still had the same problem in second race with a misfire and wanted to swap the condensers but none of the parts guys had any.
“I still had a really good race, which was great fun and managed to finish 11th, which was not too bad considering the problem.
“I’m looking forward to going back there again and maybe Belgium’s Classic TT in Gedinne too.”
But if the conditions were hot in Belgium, it was the exact opposite on the Isle of Man during the early section of race week at the Southern 100.
Rain began to fall five minutes before the first practice session but Lloyd only had enough time to put a wet tyre on the front.
Either way, he had a good session, which marked the first time he had been out on the roads with his new 600cc machine – a bike he had only previously raced at Mallory Park.
After some changes to the suspension set up, Lloyd was 17th fastest out of 32 riders as he headed into a drier Tuesday evening practice session.
“I was able to start pushing on a bit and there were two other Pre Injection 600s out there posting very similar times,” he said. “Our bikes, however, were outclassed by the modern 600s but I came home 29th out of 34.
“Our combined times were enough to see us qualify in the B-class race, which we were well chuffed about.”
Starting 29th for race one, Lloyd managed to move up five places by the finish line, despite grazing a wall at speed to avoid hitting the back of another racer.
“The club had made some changes to the classes to fill the solo founders race, which meant taking the last eight finishers out the B-race, so positioning riders on their lap times I started in 15th for the second race,” he said.
“I had got up to 10th by mid-race distance but dropped two places to finish 12th from 20 starters, setting another personal best time of 2:49, averaging 90mph for the lap.
“With limited time on the bike we were happy with the results and big thanks goes to my wife, Sam, Dave Speake, and Mitch and Tia Bissell for their support.
“Big thanks also to our sponsors and supporters who help to make these races possible.”