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Classic Motorcycle Festival shaping up to be busiest yet

Wednesday, July 26 2017

Europe's largest classic racing festival returns on 4-6 August, for the fifth running of the Classic Motorcycle Festival.

Brace yourself for 49 top class races, courtesy of the Classic Racing Motorcycle Club, from bikes dating as far back as the 1950s. But this is so much more than a race meeting, we have a star-filled cast attending including former Grand Prix racers Simon Crafar and Alex George, multiple Isle of Man TT winner Phillip McCallen and all round legend Steve Parrish. In addition, there are hundreds of bikes on display, including some fabulous Barry Sheene examples, as well as hundreds more from the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club on show on the Melbourne Loop.

The event will also commemorate the 1977 re-opening of Donington Park, with a special ceremony involving riders and bikes from the very first race event at the re-opened circuit, as well as numerous parades throughout the weekend.

Here's what visitors to the festival can look forward to this year:

Charlie Williams rides again

In line with the celebrations marking the 40th Anniversary of the re-opening of the Donington Park Circuit in 1977, there will be a special race on the Sunday to mark the 40th Anniversary of the 125cc Honda MTR production racer.  The ultra-competitive MT race series started in 1977 and the winner of the first race was non-other than Charlie Williams, who is back 40 years later to compete in the MT's 40th Anniversary race.

Gerald Davison was instrumental in setting up the MT race series and has been invited to present the Gerald Davison Trophy to the winner.

Barry Sheene Suzukis

Two of Barry Sheene's World Championship winning Suzuki Grand Prix bikes will be on display throughout the event. The machines on display are the 1976 Suzuki 500 Texaco Heron Grand Prix (Frame No. RG500-11, Engine No. G500 1101) and the similar model from 1977 (Engine No. 1204).

Donington 40th Anniversary Event

Celebrating the 40 years since the circuit re-opened will be eleven riders from the first motorcycle meeting in 1977.  They will have the honour of opening this year's 40th Anniversary meeting at the Donington Classic Motorcycle Festival.

Crafar Guest of Honour at Donington Classic Motorcycle Festival

Simon Crafar is the Guest of Honour at the 2017 Classic Motorcycle Festival and is delighted to team up with the Pepsi RGV500 Suzuki from the Steve Wheatman Collection.  Simon will be re-acquainting himself with Donington circuit, the scene of his 500cc Grand Prix win in 1998.

Other star guests include fellow Grand Prix racer Alex George, multiple Isle of Man TT winner Phillip McCallen, while Festival regular and all round legend Steve Parrish will also be present once more.

Donington Festival stages the final round of the FIM Europe Vintage Championship

The final round of the 2017 FIM Europe Vintage Championship will be held at the Donington Classic Motorcycle Festival meeting. Seven of the 2016 Class champions are entered to defend their titles, but will face stiff opposition from UK riders that are particularly strong when it comes to Classic Racing.

German bikes to race for the first time in England

Team Rennkollektiv Simson, which competes regularly in the DHM (Deutsche Historische Motorradmeisterschaft) series will make the long journey across Europe from Saxony, in what was East Germany, to bring its rare machines to race and parade over the weekend. The machines were built in the 1950s and only fifteen race machines were ever produced for sale, together with another handful of works machines that were exclusive to factory riders.

Norwegians head for Donington Park

A team of eight Norwegian riders are making the trip to the 2017 Donington Classic Festival equipped with immaculate solo and sidecar machines that include Triumph Tridents, Yamaha TZ500, Honda CB500, Honda CB750, Honda CB900, BSA Rocket 3 and a Trident sidecar outfit. They will be using the Team Rana bus for transport and will set off from Mo I Rana, close to the Arctic Circle in Norway, for the 1,918 mile trip to Donington Park and compete in the European Vintage Championship.

Wheatcroft Trophy Race

The main event of the Festival weekend is the Wheatcroft Trophy Race that has attracted over 60 entries with the fastest 40 in qualifying making up the grid.  The variety of machines is stunning with all the major manufacturers represented including Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Triumph, Norton BSA and BMW. Amongst the smaller manufacturers are P & M Juchem, Moto Martin, Maxton and Harris.

Stan Woods to present the ACU 500cc Awards

Stan Woods riding his Suzuki RG500 won the first 500cc race when Donington re-opened in 1977 and is returning, spritely as ever, 40 years on to present a replica of the 1977 trophy to this year's winner.   

Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club set for hundreds of display bikes

The Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club display moves to the Melbourne Loop section for this year's event and will again feature a huge display of classic bikes, with over 400 machines set to be on show. Over 30 clubs are present, ensuring a huge variety of bikes to savour.