Sprint Record Holder Steve Walton

Steve Walton, salesman at our Romford branch, competes in Sprint competitions in his spare time. Here’s his update of his latest activities this season…

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The 2017 Sprint Season so far…

After only doing a few select events last year due to other commitments I decided this year to once again contest the British ACU Sprint Championship in which I finished runner up a couple of seasons ago. After a few tweaks to the machine over the winter period the first event at Santa Pod Raceway soon came around. A cold, dry, bright March day aided by a slight tailwind netted a best run for me of 9.89 seconds @140 mph which beat the existing class record of 10.06 seconds which has stood for several years, so it’s fair to say I was more than happy with the result!

The second round of the championship saw a visit to the Lancaster Raceway at East Kirkby in Lincolnshire. Again, conditions were favourable and although it isn’t a prepared surface like Santa Pod, I still managed to run similar times with my best run being 9.93 seconds @ 148 mph. This was enough to again improve on the existing class record (which previously stood at 10.15 seconds) and was held by……….me.

Round three was held at an airfield that was formerly RAF Westonzoyland, near Bridgwater in Somerset. Despite the weather forecast being a little suspect, conditions stayed dry and once again we were lucky enough to have the benefit of a slight tailwind. Although this was a two-day meeting I was only able to attend for one day, however the times for the two days combine as far as the results are concerned. The final results showed that I won my class with a best run of 9.79 seconds @ 144 mph with the second place going to a similar machine with a 9.82 second run, so it was pretty close!

The following day, although not a round of the ACU championship, I attended one of my favourite events in the sprint calendar which is the Hoghton Tower Sprint held in Lancashire. Set in the grounds of Hoghton Tower this is very much an ‘old school’ type event with the sprint held on the long driveway that leads to the Tower itself, home of Sir Bernard and Lady de Hoghton. A beautiful spring day greeted a capacity entry with no less than 21 entries in the Superbike class alone. The range of machines was quite diverse, however I found myself up against, amongst others, another GSXR1000, a couple of ZX10R’s, an RC8 KTM and no less than 4 BMW S1000RR’s! Normally two practise runs are held in the morning followed by the timed runs in the afternoon. Due to the large entry (159 machines in total) practise was shortened and after having had to make some changes to the machine from the previous meeting I thought I was going to suffer from only having had one practise run prior to the timed runs.

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Photo courtesy of Susan McNeil, National Sprint Association

The startline itself proved to be very slippery and my first timed run saw lots of wheelspin off the line so my time wasn’t that great but conditions improved as more rubber was laid down on the surface and at the end of the day I not only won the Superbike class but was presented with the Roderick Collins trophy for the overall fastest time of the day by Sir Bernard at the prizegiving ceremony. My fastest run of the day over the eighth mile course was 7.208 seconds on my very last run, with second place going to the KTM RC8 with a best time of 7.304 seconds.

Unfortunately, the next round is being held on the Isle of Man in July but due to lack of time/money I will have to miss this round (unless anyone wants to sponsor me………) so my next outing will be at Shakespeare County Raceway in July.

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Photo courtesy of Susan McNeil, National Sprint Association

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