Melton motorcycle racer Ant Hart made a good start to the domestic season in the opening round of the CRMC season at Castle Combe, in Wiltshire.
The BE Event Hire-sponsored rider has a new challenge this year riding the SDS MOT Centre 1260cc Kawasaki in the Classic Superbike Series, as well as his usual Yamaha TZ350 in the 350GP Championship.
The weekend started well on Hart’s first visit to the track, with two solid practice sessions as he looked to learn the new track and get used to the new bike. He qualified second on the grid on the TZ350, and a better than expected seventh on the Superbike.
A great start to the first Superbike race took Hart third into the first corner, a position he comfortably held until the flag.
But a first-lap DNF blighted race two, relegating him to the back row for the next race.
After a straightforward repair, Hart lined up in position 46 on Sunday morning where another good start put him mid-pack on lap one.
On a circuit that is difficult to pass, he could only make it up to fifth position by the end, but more good points for the championship with the second-fastest lap of the race.
The Leicestershire rider started second on the grid for the final race, and yet another good start put him in the lead into turn one, with Alex Sinclair following closely.
They two riders twice swapped places on the opening laps, but Hart then pulled out a lead to more than one-and-a-half seconds which he held to the flag, taking his first win on the bike.
“To be honest, going into the weekend I’d have been happy with a top 10, so to come away with a win is a great start,” Ant said.
“The bike is much easier to ride than I thought; it stops well, turns well and has plenty of power so it should be an interesting season.”
Hart started the 350GP races with a great win over Phil Atkinson, and he repeated the result in race two after Atkinson’s bike expired on the final turn.
But race three didn’t go according to plan despite grabbing the lead into turn one.
On approach to turn two, the throttle stuck open, forcing him to pull off the track and stop.
Quickly realising the problem, Hart fixed the problem on the side of the track and carried on, more than a minute behind the leader.
He pushed for the whole race and clawed his way back up to fifth, which could be important points come the end of the season.
The Melton racer finished a good solid second behind the flying Jamie Coward on the Craven TZ350 in the final GP race, giving him the championship lead after round one with 81 points.
The final race of the weekend for the BE Event Hire rider was the prestigious King of Classic, open to all bikes.
Hart chose to use the smaller, more nimble TZ350 as the lap times were slightly quicker, and after a good race, he had to settle for third behind the other TZ350s of Coward and Atkinson.
He added: “As usual, I’d like to thank everyone who helped over the weekend.
“My dad Ron and Steve Dobbie for letting me use their great bikes, my sponsors BE Event Hire, TK Motorcycles and SDS MOT’s, and also Arnold Fletcher and David King for helping on the day.”
The next round is at Pembrey, in South Wales, on May 4 and 5.