Author: Frank Melling Posted: 24 Apr 2014
If you have any interest in motorcycles then there is only one place to be on the planet over the weekend of May 10/11 - and that’s Darley Moor, near Ashbourne in Derbyshire, for Thundersprint 2014.
Biggest, best, most – they’re all subjective but for 100% certain there has never been such a wide range of GP stars, young and old, gathered at one single event. At the head of the list is Scott Redding, following his 7th place at Losail in his first ever MotoGP race.
Scott said: “I have ridden the Bennetts R1 at the Thundersprint twice before and I honestly loved every minute of it. GP racing is a serious business – very serious indeed. My mind is entirely focussed on winning and I really do miss the chance to mix with the fans.
“The Thundersprint is a giant, two-day party for anyone who loves bikes and, best of all, I’ve got the time to talk to fans, have photographs and be with them socially. In fact, all the things I love but can’t do at a GP.
“Darley Moor looks like a great little track so I’m going to have a play about on a Honda Fireblade and just have a good time. I can’t wait until May.”
Sharing the track with Scott will be World Supersport Champion Sam Lowes who also scored an equally impressive sixth at Losail in Moto2 – despite having never seen the track before.
Sam said: “The Thundersprint is going to be like a GP paddock with Scott Redding, John McGuinness and all the classic greats.
“Personally, I am looking forward to meeting six times World Champion Jim Redman who has been one of my Dad’s heroes forever.
“It’s going to be a real privilege for me to share the same paddock as these legends.”
Maybe Sam will get some tips from TT legend John McGuinness, in case the young GP star ever decides to go road racing.
John said: “I have been meaning to ride at the Thundersprint for years and years but there has always been some clash which has prevented me from making an appearance and so I am really pleased to be there at last.
“In some ways, the Thundersprint is very like the TT because there is a really relaxed atmosphere for the spectators with Mum’s and Dad’s and the family dog there, alongside hard core race fans.
“The difference is that no matter how much I want to be with fans, the TT is a serious business and my mind has to be focussed on racing.
“The Thundersprint will be completely different. I will have all the time in the world for fans and when I am not having a play about on the track with Scott Redding and Nick Jefferies I will be in the paddock talking about the TT.
“It’s going to be a great weekend and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Leading the classic entry is six times World Champion, six times TT winner and the first person to win three GPs in a day – the incredible Jim Redman.
Jim has been a regular at the last 15 Thundersprints. He said: “I look forward to every single Thundersprint because it is the only event in the year where I actually race – if only against the clock.”
Scott, Jim and the other stars will be on the track for two days and they will all be taking part in the Thundersprint hillclimb which is on Sunday afternoon.
Away from the paddock, there is a huge trade area, Fine Food court and what is billed as Europe’s biggest inflatable fun centre. Kids and pets are very welcome at the Thundersprint and both have free admission.
But for many Thundersprinters, the highlight of the weekend will come on Sunday lunch-time with a full aerobatic display by a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire.
Thundersprint organiser Frank Melling explains the philosophy behind the Thundersprint, “We want to show the very best of motorcycling to the widest possible audience. This is why everywhere except the paddock is open and our star riders are completely accessible.
“Regardless of what your interest in motorcycling is you will find something to excite you at the Thundersprint – whether it’s a Pre-War vintage racer, a stunning restoration of a British classic or simply a day out with the kids in a relaxed atmosphere.
“If you can’t enjoy yourself at the Thundersprint you really don’t like bikes!”
Thundersprint 2014 swings into action over the weekend of May 10/11 at the beautiful Darley Moor circuit in Ashbourne, Derbyshire with the gates opening at 12.00 on Friday 9 May.
A weekend admission ticket is £10 and camping for the weekend is £20. Well behaved pets, and kids, come in for free.