With the Valladolid Feira and race meeting being only one week after Bilbao, we all packed up and moved out of the paddock early on the Monday morning and set off in the direction of Valladolid.
My traveling companions also decided that it was now time to move on in their quest to get to Marseille. I took them as far as the major road junction just south of Vitoria-Gasteiz, a convenient point for them to get a lift from vehicles heading in the direction of Zaragoza, Barcelona and eventually the Spanish and French border, near Perpignan.
Some months later when back in England, I received a letter from my young friends telling me their trip through Europe had been a great success and thanking me again for the lift through France to Spain. They also thanked me again for contributing to their travel funds! Enclosed with the letter were some photo’s they had taken of me racing and looking very pale standing on the podium in Bilbao.
Having dropped my passengers off, I now had to put my foot down in the Dormobile to catch up with the Thames vans of Ramon Robinson and Barry Smith with whom I was to travel, in convoy, for the most of the Spanish Series.
Valladolid was already a major commercial and industrial city in the 60’s and it took us some time to find the race organisers office and then the international camping site which they recommended to us in a small town some way out from the race circuit and the centre of the city. The camping site was located in woodland by a river in a most idyllic setting and with a good café and all mod-con facilities. It turned out to be well worth the journey in and out of the city between practicing and the races, to be on this site.
Another real urban street circuit in the very centre of the old city, the circuit comprised of a half mile section of dual carriageway with a hairpin bend at one end. At the other end, there was a turn off into a narrow road in the form of a short S bend linking the dual carriageway to a ‘Plaza’ or Square with a small public park in the centre of the Plaza. The circuit continued around three sides of the Plaza before returning through another short S bend backtrack onto the dual carriageway. There were tram lines running down both sides of the dual carriageway and the surfaces of the two short S bend sections were partly cobbled!
With these track conditions, it was inevitable that we would get some rain and we did! Fortunately, it came as only a short shower during early practice and certainly livened things up for a while!
With my recent experience of riding in the rain at Dundrod, I was feeling more confident than most in these conditions and whilst the circuit remained wet I was at or very near the top, of the practice time sheets in both classes. Unfortunately, this was not to last once the circuit started to dry out!
In the last practice session of the day, an incident occurred which Ramon Robinson recently described as follows:-
“Another memory from Valladolid was from a 125 practice session when I heard your four stroke rumbling close up behind. I tried a new line around one of the cobblestone bends to find better grip when it all broke loose and I went down, to my amazement, I bounced right back up again and carried on! I didn’t know until you told me afterwards back in the paddock, that you were right on the outside of my back wheel preparing to pass when I went down and my right leg went up and kicked your front wheel out from under you!! You thought that I had gone down too until you looked up and saw me disappearing down the road. I don’t know how we got away with all of this back then?”