The race season got hectic for Melton motorcycle racer Antony Hart as he headed back to Donington Park for his second meeting there in a fortnight.
The dry and war conditions were in stark contrast to the previous visit, and Hart began accordingly by clocking the second-quickest lap time in qualifying.
He led race one from the start, with his nemesis, Phil Atkinson, tucked behind in second place, but on lap three, Atkinson’s bike suddenly stopped, leaving the Leicestershire rider as the clear winner.
With Atkinson’s bike rebuilt, the cat and mouse racing repeated itself, with Hart leading until the last corner when Atkinson pounced, leaving thre Melton racer no time to reply.
He finished less than half-a-second down, but the runners-up finish still kept his championship hopes alive.
The meeting was one of the biggest of the season, with a round of the European Vintage Cup to squeeze into the schedule.
It reduced Sunday’s programme is changed to a one-race format in the Classic Motorcycle Club championship, plus the prestigious Wheatcroft Trophy race.
The final club race of the weekend was longer than normal, but again turned into the Hart/Atkinson showdown.
Hart made another terrific start and led the pack away as Atkinson latched on behind.
Having led the way for seven laps, Hart’s bike then refused to change down the gearbox on the next lap, before stopping and then starting again.
The process happened in just three seconds, but left Atkinson out in front.
With only two laps to go. Hart set the fastest lap time as he tried to reel in the leader, but all was in vain and he finished second again, just one-and-a-half seconds down.
Between all this was the main feature race for the Wheatcroft Trophy which is open to all classes.
Unless the rains arrive, the smaller Grand Prix bikes are outclassed by the more powerful superbikes, and that’s how it happened again with the superbikes taking the top four places.
Hart came home in sixth place after a very hard ride, a fine result against some very fast and expensive machinery.
The Melton race team now takes a month off before their next outing at Mallory Park.