As the speeds crept up, Donington Park proved itself a brilliant hub of the classic scene once again
BHR and CRMC rounds from 3 Sisters, Cadwell, Donington, Mallory and Snetterton.
The Donington Park Classic Motorcycle Racing Festival, organised by the Classic Racing Motorcycle Club and promoted by MSV, has established itself as one of Europe’s leading such events, with its combination of static and track-based displays of historic race (and some road) machinery, combined with trade/club stands and, of course, a full blown CRMC meeting (incorporating FIME Vintage championships) at its core.
As always there were plenty of famous faces to be seen around this year’s paddock and track, with Steve Parrish seemingly popping up everywhere, including of course the commentary box. Alex George was equally as active and Charlie Williams was kept busy between chatting with the fans, signing his book ‘CW’ and racing in the Lansdowne Series.
John Cooper was also on hand all weekend to sign copies of his new book ‘Mooneyes’.
Running throughout the weekend was the fifth round (of seven) of the CRMC’S 2019 championships with Sunday’s programme featuring the club’s two UK championships: the Minnovation/acu Classic 500 and the Hercberg International/acu Post Classic. For the last decade the winner of the Donington Post Classic ACU round has had the additional kudos of receiving the magnificent trophy named after the man who brought the circuit back to life in 1977, Tom Wheatcroft.
To make race success even more satisfying Classic Racer has traditionally provided an additional £1000 prize money, this year being no exception with the race being billed ‘The Wheatcroft Trophy powered by Classic Racer’.
CR’S Malc Wheeler was on hand to present the trophy and £500 winner’s spoils to Lee Hodge, who edged a brilliant duel with Minnovation team-mate Joe Barton that demonstrated a breathtaking level of speed, skill and commitment on their near identical 1260 P&M Kawasakis.
The early stages saw John Dieterman Jnr (Ducati TTF1 1199), Phil Atkinson (Rose TZ350) and Richard Molnar (Molnar Ducati TTF1 1199) in contention but they gradually lost touch with the Minnovation duo as they set a blistering pace at the front.
Lap after lap Hodge and Barton played a game of high-speed cat and mouse with backmarkers becoming increasingly influential and it was Hodge who grabbed a vital advantage at the start of the tenth and final lap after Barton went slightly wide at Redgate.
The win lifted Hodge back to within three points of Barton in the championship with two rounds to go and saw him set a new CRMC outright Donington lap record at 1:12.752 – an astonishing 97.93mph.
At this rate, how soon might we be seeing the first CRMC 100mph Donny lap?
1. Joe Barton (106) and Lee Hodge (14) giving it their all during their titanic Classic Racer Wheatcroft Trophy battle. 2. CR’S Malc Wheeler enjoys a Wheatcroft Trophy start line chat with the CRMC’S Jono Yardley. 3. No parade of historic race machinery worthy of the name would be complete without one of these! 4. John Dieterman Jnr (Ducati TTF1 1199) put in a strong ride to grab third place behind the flying Minnovation Kawasakis. 5. Malc Wheeler wrestles Lee Hodge for the Wheatcroft Trophy as Joe Barton and team supporters look on. The result left the Minnovation duo neck and neck in the Hercberg International/acu Post Classic championship with two rounds to go.