A successful season ended in spectacular fashion as motorcycle racer Antony Hart trumped big budget teams to land FOUR championship titles.
Racing in the final round of the season at Snetterton, the Melton ace achieved the main objective for 2015 on Saturday when he added the 350 GP Championship to the Honda 125 crown.
But there was better to come on Sunday for Hart and his mechanic dad Ron as they clinched the ACU National Championships, an official British championship.
A sensational quartet of prizes was then capped by claiming the prestigious King of the Classics title, contested by the best riders from each class over the season.
“I’ve won the 125 championship six times so I was favourite to do that one again, but to win all the other three as well was unbelievable,” Hart said.
“It’s not really sunk in yet. I suppose it will when we go to the awards night in December and I receive all of the trophies!”
Ron added: “I was quite confident in my ability to build a good bike and Ant has been in the form of his life this season, so we were confident we could get near the top of at least one of the championships.
“But to return with all four championship in the bag is quite a feat for a pensioner, a transport manager and no budget!”
Just needing a points finish to take the 125 crown, Hart finished in style with a class win and a new lap record before lady luck, for once, smiled his way.
Trailing by 11 points going into the final two races, the championship leader crashed out under pressure in the first, allowing the Melton rider to reduce the gap to four points.
And lying second in the final race, two places ahead of his rival, a red flag spelled a premature finish with two laps outstanding, and the championship was Hart’s by three points.
He said: “It all seemed to go my way in the 350 GP with Dean (Stimpson) crashing out in race one.
“We then felt we could really celebrate as any more wins would have been a bonus. It took a lot of pressure off which showed in my riding the next day.”
Hart knew he just had to finish ahead of title rival Stimpson and protect his three-point lead to capture the ACU National Championship on Sunday.
And, riding relaxed and unhindered by pressure, Hart did so, by one place.
“After a few laps I started to pull away from him and once a big gap had appeared, it was just a case of finishing the race and praying nothing went wrong with the bike,” he said.
“I remember taking the chequered flag and screaming in my helmet. This was the most important one.”
The odds were stacked against the Hart team in the decisive King of the Classics race.
Talented young rider George Hogton-Rusling was hot favourite, backed by a team with a handsome budget and aboard a much more powerful machine.
But having established an unassailable lead, Hogton-Rusling’s engine began to lose oil, finishing his race, and meaning Hart’s second place finish was enough to secure a clean sweep.
Hart said: “What makes it feel an extra special achievement is that fact most of my rivals are riding for big, well-funded teams, whereas I’m riding a bike built and prepared solely by my dad.
“None of it would have been possible without the support of Simon and Margaret at BE, Arnold Fletcher at Len Manchester, and Laura throughout the year.”