8 a.m. on a glorious sunny morning in Northwich and the sound of a works racing Honda echoed through the streets of this delightful Cheshire market town. Northwich’s very own Grand Prix in a Car Park had burst into life for Thundersprint 2012.
The Thundersprint Bike Show, held on the piazza outside the Memorial Hall, saw a huge attendance but the following day was on a galactic scale with riders and fans queuing to get into the town centre even before the first light of dawn.
When practice began at 8:40, the grandstands were already packed and everything was set for what proved to be a truly enormous crowd. Noone knows precisely how many Thundersprinters came this year, but there were enough to fill over four miles of pavement for the spectacular lunch-time Cavalcade.
To launch the racing a Second World War Spitfire roared over the skies of Northwich accompanied by the cheers of thousands of fans. As the Spitfire departed, racers began four solid hours of entertainment with bikes ranging from classic Grand Prix machines – and equally classic riders like 81 year old, six times World Champion, Jim Redman – to current GP stars such as Danny Webb riding the latest AJP machine.
Hannah Squirrel, Associate Director of Thundersprint title sponsor Bennetts, said: “This year’s Thundersprint proved to be the most spectacular yet with some first class entertainment both on and off the track for what was surely a record-breaking crowd. Frank and Carol Melling should be immensely proud of what they’ve achieved.”
Event Director, Frank Melling, said: “We succeeded in all that we had hoped for in terms of attendance and the obvious pleasure the Thundersprint provides to the whole community. More than anything else, we want an event which is inclusive and where everyone, from hard core motorcycle racing fans to Mums and Dads with a little one in a push chair and the family dog trotting alongside, is welcome.
“We are very grateful for the superb help we receive from Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cheshire Police and our title sponsor Bennetts. But, more than anything else, we feel very moved by the warmth and affection shown to the Thundersprint by the people of Northwich.”