Thunderfest 2011-Another Resounding Success

October 3, 2011
Courtesy of Thundersprint
Brian Jackson at the 2011 Thunderfest.
Brian Jackson on is Honda 50 at Thunderfest 2011.

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Thunderfest 2011 – Another Resounding Success

The sun beat down on yet another successful Thunderfest at Darley Moor, with a packed grid of classic riders striving to reach their personal target times in a tough, 16 lap competition.

Thunderfest is Britain’s only time trial – a test of riding skill as well as speed. Competitors decide their own average speed and then battle to ride smoothly and consistently to achieve it.

With bikes ranging from early 250 Hondas to late post classics, there was a great display of biking nostalgia in the Darley Moor paddock.

The riders were equally diverse with current classic racers and hillclimbers mixing it with gentleman riders who had very limited track experience.

In fact, one of the attractions of Thunderfest is that participants don’t need an ACU road race license but can ride with a sprint, hillclimb or one event license purchased on the day.

After two, long, free practice and qualifying sessions, it was time for riders to declare their target speed for the 16 lap Thunderfest.

At one end, there were the optimists led by Frank Melling on his Matchless G.50. Frank said: “I had managed a few laps at over 71mph in practice so I thought that a 70.01mph average was achievable – but I didn’t take account of the reverse grid on the start which puts the fastest riders at the back – and with a lot of passing to do.”

As things turned out, Melling was far too hopeful and was a full 0.74 mph adrift of his declared time – and that is forever in Thunderfest terms.

By contrast, the slowest time was declared by Brian Jackson, on his lovely little Honda 50, and he was just 0.10 miles faster than his target – which gave him the class “B” win.

But the true Thunderfest master was ex-racer Frank Jones whose super smooth and accurate riding on his 1969 Triumph Bonneville production racer saw him just an incredible 0.05 mph from his declared time – and that with a speed of over 60 mph too.

Frank Jones at the 2011 Thunderfest.
Frank Jones on his 1969 Triumph Bonneville at Thunderfest 2011 took the class ‘A’ win.

Frank was delighted. He said: “It’s been a long time since I’ve been on the top step of the podium but the Bonny ran really well today and I felt total confidence in it.

“For me, and lots of other riders, Thunderfest is the perfect compromise between flat out racing, which I don’t want to do any more, and parades which lack the competitive edge.

“Thunderfest sits right in the middle and the amount of track time that we get is enormous.

“I am already planning on being here next year.”


Class “B”
1 – Brian Jackson – 50 Honda: – 0.10mph
2 – Cliff Shorter – 250 Ducati: + 0.31mph

Class “A”
1 – Frank Jones – 650 Triumph: – 0.05mph
2 – Tony Head – 650 BSA: – 0.39mph 

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