Luckless Melton rider Hart has meet to forget at Snetterton

Hart's weekend was marred by three spills and engine failure EMN-170404-115809002
Hart's weekend was marred by three spills and engine failure EMN-170404-115809002
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The Snetterton hoodoo returned to haunt champion motorcycle racer Antony Hart as he opened his 2017 campaign at the Norfolk circuit.

The Melton rider had his first bad crash at the track several years ago, and he was to have three more this time around, along with two engine failures during his weekend of racing.

This year Team Hart are racing on five fronts, including the Classic Racing Motorcycle Club 350 Grand Prix, the National ACU Championship and King of Classics on his bike.

Hart has also been invited to ride in the 125 Championship on a competitive Honda RS125 belonging to David King, from Devon, as well as the Len Manchester three-cylinder 500 which has been moved into a different class against more powerful and more recent Superbikes.

The weekend opened aboard the 500, but the long straights of Snetterton favoured the big engine super bikes so second place in class was a good result.

Then came a win in the 125s after working his way to the front against some very good young riders.

But the great start went downhill as Hart went immediately into the 350 GP.

After a good start, the bike’s gear linkage broke to end his race on the opening lap before torrential rain ended the day’s racing.

The Leicestershire rider was out early on Sunday morning to get in extra practice on the 350 following its breakdown, but on just the second lap, the front wheel hit a damp patch and down he went.

The spill also saw Hart miss qualifying for the King of Classics race and meant a back row start on a very competitive grid.

Hart brought the 500 home second in class despite a loss of power midway through the race, but it ended the bike’s weekend with a badly damaged engine.

In the following 125 race, he was then sitting comfortably in third place when the engine seized, locking the back wheel on one of the fastest corners and throwing its rider off.

Despite heavy bruising and a grazed hip and ribs, Hart ran half-a-mile back to the medical centre to get clearance from the doctor to race again.

He went straight into the 350 race at the back of the grid because of the previous breakdown, but rode through for an eighth place finish despite a pit stop to tighten a handlebar.

With a hastily-rebuilt 125, Hart caught the leading pack from a back row start, but on the sixth lap he went down at the same corner when a rival’s bike cut out in front of him, leaving him with nowhere to go.

But there was still time to grab a spirited seventh place finish in the Race of Aces, despite once more starting at the back of the grid.

Hart will hope for a less frantic meet at Pembrey, in south Wales next time out.