History is made this Saturday (June 16) when the Amman Valley Trotting Club in Tairgwaith, hosts dirt track motorcycle racing on the newly-refurbished half-mile circuit.
The Silkolene Short Track UK Championship – the third round in a seven round series of US-style dirt track racing - features some of the country’s top moto-cross, supermoto, grasstrack and speedway riders.
Short Track is Europe’s fastest growing motorcycle sport and moves into West Wales this month, though, with some local interest taking on top riders from across the UK and continental Europe.
Short Track is based on the American-style dirt track racing known as Flattrack – the discipline hugely popular Stateside.
Leading the way currently in the STUIK '07 rankings are Italian Marco Belli (winner of the 2005 series) and Swindon Robins Elite League speedway star, Andrew Moore.
Mounting the local challenge will be Tim Greig, who recently captained the Welsh national team to sixth place in the sport’s inaugural Nations Cup; and "only dirt tracker in the village", Llanddewi Brefi -based racer, Guto Llewellyn.
Grieg is one of Europe’s most accomplished racers having finished third in the STUK title race in 2005 and currently leading the field in the European-wide, International Mefo Sport Flattrack Cup.
Greig, who now resides in Lincolnshire, has just returned from the States where he represented GB in the legendary Springfield Trail & Track event: the most prestigious event in the US Flattrack calendar.
Joining Grieg will be experienced local rider from Ceredigion, Llewellyn who has on his racing CV ten years racing motocross (second in the Welsh national championship), grasstrack and also second-half speedway racing at the former Carmarthen Showground track.
Italian Belli is also the current holder of the main companion event, the Thunderbikes. This event sponsored by Harley Davidson is run on a similar format to the main championship but utilising 600cc to 1000cc twin and multi-cylinder machines. This is sure to cause the biggest thrills for fans on Saturday: seeing these monster bikes racing a breakneck pace around the half-mil oval.!
Carrying the flag for the Principality in this event will be Ian Howells, the daredevil rider from Narbeth, Pembrokeshire. Like his compatriot Llewellyn, Howells has a decade’s experience racing a variety of motorbikes in different disciplines and on different surfaces. He has recently returned from completing one of his biggest challenges: a charity ride across the Western Sahara desert in Morocco following the route of the Dakar Rally.
And there’s also a tremendous prize for fanswho might be inspired by the action to give it a go themselves: a Harley-Davidson Sportster XL883 is up-for-grabs in a season-long competition which can only be entered by going along to a STUK meeting.
The action gets underway at 6pm (gates open at 4.30pm) Saturday, 16th June at Amman Valley Trotting Track, Tairgwaith, Ammanford, SA18 1UU. Please follow brown directional signs for Trotting Track, then signs for car-parking.
Adults £8, Concessions £6, Juniors (12-15 years) £3, Under 12s Free.
The first ACU-approved dirt track motorcycle race meeting was held at Dodd's Farm, near Droylesden in South Manchester on a half-mile cinder trotting track on June 25th. 1927.
Some argue that the very first motorcycle races of any kind on an oval track in Great Britain were held on the Carmarthen Park Velodrome in 1903. The meeting on Saturday takes place just 25 miles from that site.
There has been dirt track racing at Ammaford on one previous occasion: on a different circuit at the Trotting club. This happened on 12th. September 1970 to be precise, when an event billed simply as ‘Track Racing’ and the 500cc class was won by Antig-founder Tig Perry. Grasstrack bikes were used and it was essentially a Long Track format - the meeting was billed as 'Track Racing'.