Melton racer Ant Hart hails '˜greatest' title win
Motorcycle racer Antony Hart toasted the greatest achievement of his career after he was crowned International Classic Grand Prix champion.
Two podium finishes in Germany were enough to clinch the 350cc title for the Melton ace.
He finished second behind Ian Simpson in both races to see off the challenge of his closest rivals at the historic Hockenheim circuit.
Hart has won a hatful of national titles during his successful career racing classic bikes, but placed this firmly at the top of the pile.
“It’s the greatest achievement so far in my racing career,” he said.
“Arnold’s put a huge amount of work in this year and the bike’s been better than ever, so that makes my job a little easier.
“I’ve just got to defend it next year now!”
Riding Fletcher’s Manchester Yamaha TZ 350, Hart had been in contention from the word go, leading the series from round one at France’s Paul Ricard circuit in March.
Heading into the final round with a slender six-point lead over defending champion Mike Edwards, Hart knew he would have to be on top form and avoid mistakes.
Having never ridden on this circuit before he set about familiarising himself with the layout in the first qualifying session, and clocked the second-quickest time.
But the session was most notable for a dramatic twist as chief rival Edwards crashed out and was ruled out of the meeting.
Starting from the front row in race one, Hart was second away behind Simpson, a position he held until the chequered flag to secure 20 points.
With one race to go, only a DNF would rob Hart of the title, and the Leicestershire racer rode brilliantly.
Pushing Simpson to the limit, Hart closed in on his rival and lined him up for an overtaking move.
With two laps left, the two frontrunners came up behind a group of back markers and Simpson had the better run through, allowing him to maintain first place.
But Hart added another 20 points to secure the title in style from French rival Foreau Guillaume, with Simpson third.
“I feel like this one’s definitely a team championship compared to all the other ones I’ve won so credit goes to everyone who’s helped along the way, too,” he added.
“My wife Laura and my mum and dad travel all around Europe with me.
“It sounds glamorous, but it’s not always. We arrived back from Germany at 4.30am on Monday morning, and Laura had to be at work for 8.30am!
“I also couldn’t do it without my main sponsor BE Event Hire who fund it all.”