Power on parade at Northwich's Thundersprint
Northwich came alive with the sights and sounds of Thundersprint
At one stage in the Thundersprint weekend, Northwich looked like a set from a horror movie. Lightning flashed, thunder rolled and rain lashed down in Biblical proportions. But you can’t have a Thundersprint without beautiful weather and by dawn, the clouds had cleared and there was a mile-long queue to get into Northwich’s very own ‘Grand Prix in a Car Park’.
The Thundersprint paddock looked, more than ever, as if MotoGP had come to town. Cal Crutchlow was the star turn, entertaining the crowds on Wigan Yamaha’s MotoGP replica R1. Cal said: ‘ No matter what people tell you about the Thundersprint you have to be here to understand it. The crowds were huge and they are such great people. I signed a million autographs.’
It was the first time at Thundersprint for Bennetts, the event’s new title sponsor. Associate director Hannah Squirrel said: ‘We had a great time with our sponsored rider Scott Redding who spent the whole weekend mingling with fans and thrashing the Bennetts’ R1 round the incredible ‘Grand Prix in Car Park’ track.’
BBC TV’s Matt Roberts made his track debut on board a Suzuki GSXR. ‘Lining up with a grid full of GP stars is not the best way for a novice to start a track career but I’m a definite for next year’s Thundersprint. Lorenzo watch out!’
Event director Frank Melling said: ‘This was our best ever Thundersprint. The crowds were even greater than the huge numbers we had in 2010 and all riders – from modern superstars to classic racers – put on a great show.
‘The support from Cheshire West and Chester Council and Bennetts was outstanding. With their help, we are able to offer a world-class event with free admission, free parking and free grandstands, meaning that the whole community can enjoy one of the great spectacles in motorsport.’
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If the modern stars were there to entertain, there was some serious racing being done by the classic stars who came from all over Europe to race in what is the world’s most prestigious classic sprint.
French ace Alain Marie, riding a fabulous ex-works BMW twin, battled it out with Brit Tony Hudson, and his Honda 4, for honours in the Masterclass while six times World Champion Jim Redman screamed another Honda 4 around -showing that just celebrating your 80th birthday is no barrier to being fast.
But for nail-biting excitement, there was no beating the Classic 350 class where Jason Caunce, on board his home built Honda K4, was locked in an epic battle with Jerry Ashton and the fastest MV Agusta twin in the world. The final decision went to Caunce with a time of 20.86 - and an amazing effort which was also faster than all the modern bikes.