As in the case of the Bilbao and Valladolid races, the Jerez circuit races were also run in an anti clockwise direction. Again as in Bilbao and Valladolid, there was a tremendous atmosphere in Jerez during the ‘Feira’ and throughout the practice sessions and races. Indeed it was as if the whole town were involved, one way or another, with the races and in supporting the riders of all Nationalities.
The enthusiasm of the spectators was so high there was a serious risk of injury at times to both riders and spectators when they pushed forward against the barrier ropes around the circuit to get a closer look at the riders to such an extent on some occasions they were actually sitting or standing on the circuit whilst the racing was in progress!
On more than one occasion I came around a bend to find that the straw bales which had been placed on the outside of the circuit bend, had been pushed further in during the race! This all made for exciting racing although one or two of the riders who did fall claimed they were brought down by spectators moving the position of the straw bales!
My practice sessions on both the 125 and 250 went well but once again, I was finding my standard Moto Parilla front brakes were not up to stopping the Parillas quickly enough at the extremely sharp hairpin bends on these short circuits. This allowed some of the riders with better brakes and/or lighter bikes, to pass me when we were approaching these tight bends. This was something I had not been accustomed to before coming to Spain!
Once again under a clear blue sky the 15 lap 125 race got under way. Starting from the front row of the grid but surrounded by Spanish factory riders, I had another very good start but just could not keep up the pace of Ramon Torras (Bultaco), Saniago Herrero (Lube-Renn) or Cesar Gracia (Lube-Renn) even when I had the opportunity to slipstream them during the early laps.
After the leading group of riders had broken away from us I had a ding dong battle with Ramiro Blanco (Bultaco) with whom I changed places lap after lap and I was indeed fortunate to be just ahead of him on the last lap which gave me my third podium finish since arriving in Spain
The race was won by Ramon Torras (Bultaco) followed home by Cesar Gracia on his factory Lube-Renn – A high cam 124 cc Parilla again finished in third place.
The 250 race turned out to be more of a struggle when after a fairly good start from the 2nd or 3rd row of the grid, I soon became mixed up with a group of 5 or 6 riders including a Montesa, an Ossa and a Ducati, in addition to two hot Bultacos.
Ramon Torras on his Works Bultaco and Barry Smith on his Aermacchi had very good starts and were well out ahead of our group.
Slipstreaming down the straights and then trying to outbrake each other at the hairpin bends, I cannot now remember just how many times we changed positions in our group as we all battled, during the whole of this 20 lap race.
At some distance into the race when our group had been reduced to only 3 or 4 riders, we were very close together rounding the square with the open air market when suddenly, without any warning, the bike immediately in front of me sized up! The unfortunate rider and I were both at the point of changing down to 3rd or 2nd gear and leaning over as we were diving into the bend onto the start and finishing straight. One second he was there and in the next he was gone, hitting the straw bales and Armco type barrier dividing each side of the dual carriageway just at that point ricocheting off of the barrier across the track. I must have come within inches of hitting the rider and his bike but the incident was fortunately for me, all over even before I had time to react.
By the time we came around on the next lap there was no sign of the rider and his bike but there was still straw all over the place at the point of the incident and for more than 100m’s further down the circuit!
From this point of the race with many riders dropping out I found myself riding more or less alone during the closing laps with only one rider in sight ahead of me (Chris Goosen) when I came onto the long straight, I could not close on him and had to be content with taking 5th place at the finish
The race was won by Ramon Torras (Bultaco) followed home by Barry Smith (Aermacchi) and Ramon Maria Millet (Montesa)
In addition to the start and prize money from both races, I was later presented with the most impressive silver ‘Valdespino Trofeo’ for I assumed my 125 race finish.
It was only some time later we were informed Luis Saez had crashed on his Montesa in the 250 race seriously injuring himself and a number of spectators when his bike went off the circuit and hit a small mobile market stall.
With Barry Smith also gaining, a podium place finish in the 250 race, the Colonials and I along with our local supporters had quite a party in Jerez de la Frontera that night, the details of which I had conveniently forgotten by the morning!
There had been another meeting originally planned following the Jerez meeting for Malaga or Valencia, I cannot now remember in which City it was to have been but in any event it was cancelled (claimed at the time for lack of funds) This left the non-Spanish International riders with time to kill before setting off to Montjuic Park, Barcelona. Some of us drove down to Gibraltar whilst others, it seems, made for Mallorca for the final event in the European Hill Climb Championship.
I went with the group to Gibraltar where 3 or 4 of us took the ferry across ‘the straights’ to Tangier for a day, my very first of many visits to come to Africa.
Returning from Tangier to the Rock late in the evening of the same day, we stayed the night in our vans before setting off for Barcelona early the following morning.