THE weather might not have put on much of a welcome for the arrival of family motorbike festival Thundersprint, to its new home at Darley Moor Race Circuit, but the townsfolk turned out, wellies on and umbrellas in hand, to enjoy the spectacle.
It was the first time the festival, which has established itself over the years in other parts of the country, had chosen to base itself in this part of the Midlands, setting up shop at the town’s triangular airfield circuit off the A515 and the organisers delivered on their promise of bringing along the stars of the motorcycling world, including Moto GP rider Scott Redding, to show their mettle on the track.
The action on each day began with a cavalcade, historic racing bikes lining up on the track alongside modern superbikes, sidecars and even a motorbike-engined bubble car and this was the curtain-raiser for the races that followed, which drew the crowds to the track side to watch the riders compete on the soaking tarmac.
Ahead of the cavalcade, on the Sunday, Ashbourne’s vicar Rev Canon Geraldine Pond was invited to bless the event on the main stage, which also featured entertainment that included a touch of George Formby among the line up of acts.
Ashbourne’s church leaders had also set up a family area in a large gazebo, offering a quiet and dry place to sit and shelter, which became busy during the worst of the downpours.
Away from the circuit families were able to get up close to the two-wheeled machines in the open paddock and meet their riders, with stands set up representing some of the industry’s biggest names such as Harley Davidson, Yamaha and KTM.
Rides for the children proved popular, despite the torrential downpours, which swept in quickly, occasionally replaced with warm sunshine, but usually blown away again by the blustery winds.
The show’s organisers had set an entry price at £5 for adults with free admission for children - which was aimed at attracting families and activities and stands away from the track were designed for everyone to enjoy.
But it was the motorbikes which dominated the two-day festival, which ran over Saturday and Sunday, and among the bike-themed attractions was the chance to ‘ride’ a Harley Davidson motorcycle on a rolling road and to peruse the numerous stands offering parts, accessories,