August 5-7, 2016
This is the fourth consecutive year in which the CRMC has taken part in Donington Park’s Classic Motorcycle Festival and with the weather behaving impeccably the crowds flocked to the East Midlands circuit to enjoy what has become one of Europe’s biggest celebrations of motorcycling. With massive display areas, big parades, and star names including guest of honour Steve Baker, Jim Redman, Steve Parrish, Sammy Miller, Stan Woods, Charlie Williams and Chas Mortimer, the thread running through the three days was the CRMC’S 49-race programme, with nearly every race fully or over subscribed.
Sunday’s feature race was the 10-lap Wheatcroft Trophy, with Classic Racer once again dipping deep into its pockets to provide £1000 of prize money, with £500 of it going to the winner, together with the superb trophy. All weekend it was South African Phil Atkinson (Veryard TZ350), Wales’s Alex Sinclair (Louigi Moto Ducati 750) and Yorkshireman George Hogton-rusling (Hercberg XR69 Suzuki 1300) who were the quickest men around the East Midlands circuit but the whole race dynamic changed when Atkinson retired after the sighting lap with an overheating engine. Hogton-rusling needed no second invitation and blitzed into the lead, never to be headed. Sinclair put in a remarkable ride on the Ducati to take second place less than eight seconds behind, with Ant Hart (TZ350) holding off Rob Wittey (Kawasaki 1100) and Mike Cooper (Craven TZ350) for third place after a great scrap.
With all grids full to the brim and perfect racing conditions, spectators were treated to an exhibition of everything that is good about CRMC racing, with just about every race seemingly going down to the wire. There was added interest from the fact that many competitors were also competing in the concurrent FIM Europe Vintage Championship, which ensured an even larger contingent from Scandinavia and continental Europe than usual. Similarly, the sidecar entry was boosted by the Camathias Cup, with well over 30 outfits on the grid. Away from the regular CRMC championships, Cormac Conroy (Ryan BSA 930) clawed back some points over championship leader Chris Chapman (Rob North 930) in the Classic Racer Syndicate UK Classic 1300 series, Phil Atkinson ran away with the Scitsu/acu Post-classic 350 round and Mike Cooper headed off a determined Richard Molnar to take the Minnovation/acu Classic 500 honours.
Top: Unstoppable! George Hogton-rusling (Suzuki XR69 1300) blitzed his way to the top step of the Wheatcroft podium, collecting the superb trophy and £500 of Classic Racer’s overall £1000 prize fund.
Above: The Wheatcroft podium. Donington Park managing director Christopher Tate and Classic Racer editor Malc Wheeler flank the top three. L to R, Alex Sinclair (second, Luigi Moto Ducati), winner George Hogton-rusling (Hercberg XR69) and Ant Hart (third, Harris TZ350).
Kevin Wholey (1, FZ600) won all four of his production races but he had to fight for every inch of track. Here he trails Danny Imberg (17, FZ600) with the similarly mounted Grant Goodings (46) also in the mix.
The Lansdowne travelling circus put on a brilliant display of committed racing, with Manx Norton mounted Dean Stimpson (79), Chris Firmin (999), Glen English (25) and Mike Russell the stars of the show.
Early action from the Minnovation/acu Classic 500 race, with Gary Thwaites (77, Shelton G50) leading Lee Hodge (14, Minnovation G50). Hodge was forced to retire when leading on lap six and Mike Cooper (Craven Manx, not in picture) came through to win.
Fabulous 125 action had the big crowds on their feet all weekend. Steph Waddelow (125, RS125 Honda) and Andy Sawford (16, RS125) each scrapped their way to a hard-earned win in the Open class.
Steve Baker was smooth and quick on Roy Flower’s replica Yamaha Canada TZ750 in the special parades.the guest of honour was the epitome of politeness and friendliness throughout the weekend.
Ely-based South African Phil Atkinson was in scintillating form on Graham Veryard’s TZ350, with comfortable wins in the ACU Post-classic 350 race and a clean sweep of the club races.
Will Loder (Greeves Silverstone) gives it everything on his way to success in the 250 European class.
Left: Richard Molnar (Molnar Tickle Manx 350) holds off a gaggle of K4 Hondas led by Simon Walsh (27, Garfield Honda) in the 350 event.
A triumphant Phil Atkinson holds the bubbly aloft as he celebrates victory in the Scitsu/acu Post-classic 350 race. Runner-up Lee Hodge (Minnovation TZ350, left) and third-place finisher Alex Sinclair (right, Fox TZ350) share the podium, together with Jim Redman.
Minnovation/acu Classic 500 podium. L to R, Richard Molnar (second place, Molnar Manx), winner Mike Cooper (Craven Manx), Harley Rushton (third, Craven Manx) and FIM Europe representative Igor Boskovic.
Right: Charlie Williams was circulating rapidly on Mike Farrall’s lovely Rudge TTR in the Lansdowne TCM class.
The ACU 350 Classic podium with winner Will Loder (Greeves), second-place man Gary Freeman (left, Honda) and Olie Linsdell (right, Honda). Only 0.4 seconds separated the three men after 10 hard laps.
Work pressures have caused Mike Cooper to miss a couple of meetings this season but he was back with a bang to win Sunday’s Minnovation/acu Classic 500 race on the Craven Manx that has carried him to three ACU championships.
Despite a couple of glitches, Kevin Hunt and Alan Cracknell (66, Patterson Imp) carved out a couple of victories in the sidecars, which produced great racing all weekend.