Melton racer Hart maintains international series lead

Ant Hart on the podium (right), with Phil Atkinson, and Mike Edwards (left). EMN-180808-114050002
Ant Hart on the podium (right), with Phil Atkinson, and Mike Edwards (left). EMN-180808-114050002
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Antony Hart’s bid for a first international title gained further traction after surviving a storm-hit weekend in Wales.

The Melton motorcycle racer maintained his lead in the overall standings after round three of the International Classic Grand Prix Championship in Anglesey.

Hart was looking forward to competing on home turf, but torrential rain and galeforce winds hit the picturesque circuit and would prove his toughest opponent.

Practice and qualifying had to be postponed and at one stage the meeting looked like it could be cancelled, but a slight improvement in the weather by midday allowed a shortened practice and then qualifying.

With qualifying reduced to only one session, the riders had to tread a fine line between setting a good time and staying on two wheels in the tough conditions.

Hart managed this in fine style, staying upright and setting the fourth-fastest time despite his machine losing power partway through the session.

Back in the pits, the cause for the power loss was found – a faulty spark plug which had damaged the piston.

An enforced engine strip and rebuild gave the hard-working Hart team a late night in the garage to get the TZ 350 Manchester Yamaha ready for the Sunday’s two races.

The wind and rain returned on Sunday morning, delaying any track time until noon when the riders were given a short practice session to judge the conditions, and the decision was taken to shorten the races from 18 laps to 12.

With his bike back up to speed, Hart used the first couple of laps to judge the track conditions before increasing his speed and moving up the order to finish second.

With better conditions, the lap times improved in race two run later in the day, and after another brilliant ride, Hart again brought his machine home in second place to preserve his championship lead.

Team manager Arnold Fletcher said: “The team had all worked very hard to turn what looked like being a disaster into a proper result, and with Ant’s brilliant riding in very difficult conditions, he maintained his championship lead.”