SHOWBOATING LEON HASLAM STARS IN BEST EVER THUNDERSPRINT

Superbike star Leon Haslam wheelies and slides his Ducati 1000 and the crowd screams for more. The howls of classic Honda fours and Gilera GP bikes bounce off the walls of the town centre stores: you just know that there is no-where else this could be but the Thundersprint in Northwich town centre.

Organiser Frank Melling was a happy man at the end of this year’s record breaking event. “We’ll never know exactly how many spectators packed into Northwich but Vale Royal Borough Council’s official figure, backed up by Cheshire Police, is over 130,000 and their assessment is good enough for us. Thundersprint 2006 was a huge success!

“What is even more important is that we had no-one injured either on or off the track. If any event has a huge, happy crowd, with no accidents, then that’s the best reason to be satisfied.”

The action began with the Thundersprint Cavalcade which has become one of the highlights of the event. Lunchtime saw 200 race, and a few road bikes take a five-mile trip around Northwich cheered on by literally tens of thousands of Thundersprint fans who packed every inch of the five mile route.

There were so many highlights that it is difficult to know where to start. The head to head battle between Jim Redman and Sammy Miller was incredible. Miller has already booked his ride for next year. “The Thundersprint is an amazing event and completely different from anything I have ever seen or ridden in before. It truly is unique and the crowds are enormous. I’ll be back next year with an even quicker bike!”

Completely different, but just as entertaining, was British Superbike star Leon Haslam. Leon, showboating Ducati Manchester’s brand new Classic 1000, had the trackside grandstands shaking with delight.

Leon was bowled over by his weekend away from his day job. “I had such a good time. The crowds were fantastic and so enthusiastic. It was great to be able to meet so many of them over the weekend, away from the pressures of championship racing. I loved every minute of the whole experience. If my racing commitments allow it, I’m already booked in for next year.”

Almost inevitably the incredible Jaeson Caunce dominated the 350 Classic Class but this year, the fastest time of the day went to Irish Road Racing Champion Gary Jamison who took his Drixton Honda round the tight Thundersprint track in an eye-watering 22.46 seconds. Truly, an inspired piece of riding.

Away from the track, spectators tucked into curried goat and Thundersprint flavoured ice-cream whilst the Morris Dancers jingled past and the Blues Harmonica player serenaded the Manx Nortons warming up for the Classic 500 class. Not an ordinary motorcycle race by any stretch of the imagination but something very special for anyone with a love of two wheels.

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