This year’s Thundersprint, held in the pretty market town of Northwich over the weekend of May 12/13, has attracted a fantastic entry of classic motorcycle racers.
The sprint races take place in Cheshire West and Chester Council’s car park right in the centre of Northwich. The highly supportive Council has brought the car park up to full race standards and it now boasts an excellent, quarter mile, twisty sprint circuit right in the town centre.
Leading the fantastic entry is six times World Champion, Jim Redman. Jim says: “I have raced in every Thundersprint except the very first one and I think it would be illegal to organise a Thundersprint without me there!
“Although I have ridden at many events in 50 years of competitive motorcycling, there are none better organised than the Thundersprint. It’s amazing how a town centre is transformed into a race circuit overnight and I love the intensity of the atmosphere
“The Thundersprint is the nearest thing to a classic Grand Prix that still exists in terms of the sheer excitement and scale of the event. There are many other classic bike events in the world – and I enjoy them all. But what makes the Thundersprint special is the atmosphere. It’s electric. The crowds packed next to the track, the noise, the smells – the sheer intensity of the event is unique. I ride all over the world and there is literally nothing else like the Thundersprint anywhere.
“As usual, I will be in action on Clive Brooker’s immaculate Honda CR750 and this year I’m looking to win the Masterclass!”
Another biking superstar is European Champion Sammy Miller. Sam will be racing his fabulous Honda RC181 replica in the Thundersprint but will be also be bringing his freshly restored Moto Guzzi V8 for its first ever public showing.
Sammy said: “I come to the Thundersprint every year and have a great weekend at what is a truly unique event. The Thundersprint is the perfect place to show our Guzzi which was my Christmas present to myself. There is no more exotic bike in the motorcycling world and the Thundersprint is the first occasion where the bike will be run in public.
“Thundersprint fans are the most enthusiastic in the world and they deserve the first chance to see the “V8” in action.”
Lining up with Sam in the Masterclass will be French classic racing icon Alain Marie and his scarily quick, ex-works BMW – a 1070cc monster of a machine – whilst Peter Kent will be screaming his ferocious TR 750 Suzuki round the tight track.
One of the “must see” sights of the Thundersprint is Graeme Hardy, perhaps better known as “Forge Formby”, who will be blasting his 1924 “Shuttleworth Snap” through the trees. Last year, Graeme managed to break the one minute barrier for the quarter mile – a hugely impressive slow time by any standards!
The sidecar class features previous Thundersprint winners “Sideways” Moz Baines and passenger Peter Jordan slithering their outfit through corners against Thundersprint stars Graham Hilditch and Tony Dalton aboard their fire breathing Weslake. Neither crew will give an inch so watch out for some fireworks.
Later classics are just as well represented. The hot tip for the 350 class – and probably fastest time of the day – is Jaeson Caunce riding his Honda K4 rather than the Daytona Triumph which recently featured in OBM. Chasing him hard will be Thundersprint regular Jerry Ashton, on board his very well sorted MV Agusta.
Fans of heavy metal will love Paul Rushton’s mighty Rickman Commando. Paul rides the bike as if it is a lightweight round the tight, demanding track and has the huge crowd on its feet.
The Thundersprint finale features a fantastic line-up of later classics with ex-British sprint champion Peter Wilson going head to head with Glenn Kirkham riding his magnificent, and very original, Honda CB1100R.