Thunderfest Returns to Darley Moor for 2012

August 9, 2012
Courtesy of Frank Melling

Brian Jackson riding his Honda 50.Mike Hunt and his 500 Suzuki
Bikes will range from 50cc up to 750cc as riders’ challenge themselves to push their skills with these vintage motorcycles.

The Thunderfest returns to Darley Moor for the third time on September 16th with a bigger entry than ever and a vast array of classic bikes ranging from screaming 50s to mighty 750cc British heavy metal.

The idea behind Thunderfest is that riders set their own target speed and then aim to ride as close to this as they can. This requires a high degree of riding skill and concentration with the top riders able to circulate for 20 minutes, plus a lap, within a tiny fraction of 1mph of their target time.

As an added challenge, riders with the quickest declared target times start from the back of the grid and the much loved Thunderfest Le Mans start returns thanks to goodwill of the Darley Moor Motorcycle Racing Club who organise the event within which Thunderfest runs.

Frank Jones, and Brian Jackson, winners of classes “A” and “B” respectively will be both back in action. Frank Jones, who came incredibly close to riding perfection with a speed just 0.05mph outside his declared target said: “The key to doing well is to be really disciplined with yourself. If you are held up behind a slower rider then you have to do the mental calculations of how much you have been delayed and then get stuck in for half a lap to get back on schedule.

“Equally, you have to avoid getting carried away and start chasing a faster rider who will drag your speed up.

“I love the event. It’s a million miles away from a relaxed parade but still requires all the thought and effort of racing – but without the fairing banging aggression.”

Other riders have a more relaxed approach. Stockport’s Mike Hunt, riding the “Michaelfixit” sponsored T500 Suzuki, dating from 1972, said: “I start off with good intentions having worked out all the correct revs to change gear and when to brake to get right on my target speed. Then I start having so much fun that it all goes out of the door and I can’t stop smiling – which is why I’ll never win the event.

“I’m just there for a great day out and an awful lot of track time for a very modest entry fee.”

There are just five spaces left before Thunderfest has a completely full grid. Riders do not need a race licence – a one event ACU competition licence can be purchased on the day – but one piece leathers and an ACU approved helmet are essential. Any bike – road or race – made before 1978 is eligible. Most importantly, the organisers are looking for riders who can bring a smile and join in with what is a wonderful day of classic nostalgia.

Thunderfest is part of fantastic day of modern motorcycle racing promoted by the DMMRC. Spectator admission is incredibly good value at £11.00 for adults with Senior citizens paying just £6.00 and children under sixteen years of age completely free. Well behaved pets are most welcome. Paddock admission is free – including the classic paddock where the Thunderfest riders are based – and camping is free of charge.