Round 5 2022 – Donington Park

Through the visor of Tony Perkin

PJ Motorsport photography of the Lansdowne from Donington Park 2022

The CRMC once again hosts the Donington Classic Motorcycle Festival. The Lansdowne pilots are woken early doors Saturday by the straining turbines of aircraft departing/arriving at East Midlands airport, a quick peak outside revealed moist conditions, mmmmm! A quick sprint to the Lansdowne hospitality tea urn for a cuppa, a nod to the bleary eyed early risers then that lovely belly rumble that precedes a race meeting, love it.

With 41 entries expectations for some great racing was anticipated by the large crowd.


Qualification saw Matchless G50s one and two with Ripley Land’s Mike Hose taking pole with a scorching 1:24.797 minute lap ahead Luke Bailey. Ian Bain took third from series leader George Thomas on Tony Dunnell’s Manx with that man Fernando Mendes somehow squeezing fifth on his Goldstar and first Clubman with Matt Hebb next best in P7, the ever jovial Steve Parrott in P10. Ben Kingham had is race face on taking top Pre-55 on grid P11 with the meaty Vincent on open pipes. Stefan Radakovic next Pre-55 on another Goldie ahead of Richard Hann’s Triton. Richard was sporting the longest socks and shortest shorts in the paddock, seen outside of a ‘Pans People’ dance troop!

The 350 class had the wonderful John Cragg leading on grid P23 from his main adversary Jack Hebb in P30, followed by our overseas visitor Torsten Busch grid P33.

PJ Motorsport photography of the Lansdowne from Donington Park 2022

Saturday race one

Ex-champ Sam Clews stormed into the lead on his ACR Manx and was right up for it only to retire on lap two leaving Gorgeous George Thomas a free hand to hold a narrow lead for the win ahead of a very determined Ian Bain, back on a bike after a lay-off due to work but showing real class on the pace straight from the off.

Luke Bailey took the final podium position with another spirited ride getting well accustomed being in the front pack and a class win can’t be far away. The super close Clubman class was again with the front pack with Fernando Mendes kicking some ass claiming a class win and P4 overall, slightly overshadowing another cracking ride from Matt Hebb in P5 and third Clubman Robin Stokes in P9 overall.

The 350 class was claimed by a consistently quick rider wearing a stolen pair of Denis Taylor’s up-side down glasses. It’s our man John Cragg again just ahead of his ‘thorn in the side’ Jack Hebb with the man from Del Monte (or somewhere abroad), the very welcome Torsten Busch. Great to see you and welcome on-board.

Okay, now for the Pre55 class, we have a lad who is really making his bike work and pulling out results not seen before by this class of machine, a Vincent is all meat, and demands full commitment to make it really go and somehow stop, Ben Kingham is doing just that on a regular basis and once again demonstrated what a class pairing this is taking P8 overall and first in class. Stefan Radakovic again pulled no punches with his Goldie in second and P11 just getting the best of motocross man Richard Hann third.

Saturday race two

Ripley man Mike Hose turned up the pressure on the field leading from the get-go to take a deserved win much to team head honcho, Ian Garbutt’s delight, increasing his lead lap on lap ahead of an almighty scrap between Clews, Bailey, Thomas, Russell and Bain with literally nowt between them at the flag, Thomas taking second a real gnats sausage from Clews, with about half a second between the group of five!

Very determined Clubman Matt Hebb and Mendes gave real classy performances just holding off the increasingly reliable Stevie Parrott who is a real contender for the title as always there or there abouts. Meanwhile, in the 350s, John Cragg once again bossed the class as Jack Hebb planted more points in his pot though yet to find an answer to John’s fierce pace. Cliff Ransley worked out what was required to biff Torsten Busch and take the 3rd place trophy.

Last but not least we have the Pre-55 gang, Kingham once again giving the Vinnie some welly to easily take the victory over Hann with the current Championship Champ David Tetley out on Steve Lindell’s Royal Enfield Meteor and taking a well earned 3rd.

Our resident band “Sock & Crock”, a name inspired by our style guru Cliff Ransley (pure porn) strummed out the hits, with Paul Stephen and Robin Stokes really complementing each other as we enjoyed the BBQ and banter on another balmy evening.

PJ Motorsport photography of the Lansdowne from Donington Park 2022

Sunday race three

Another warm dry day saw Hose blast to the front ahead of Clews, Russell, Bailey, Thomas, Kingham and Mendes. All that close for the first few laps waltzing around Donny Park’s sinuous black stuff like an Indian charmers snake. Russell took top spot on lap three still under immense pressure from Hose with Clews not able to match their pace, he having enough on his plate resisting the Thomas surge! Lap six saw Hose DNF leaving Russell an easy finish whilst the rampaging Thomas just beat Clews into second by a nose. Luke Bailey on his gorgeous G50 put in another shift to take a well earned 3rd.

The Clubmen also gave their all. Matt Hebb again showing real class holding off the flamboyant Mendes whose cornering prowess is something to behold. Mendes in turn held off the experienced action man Robin Stokes, another great result in 3rd. Guess who romped to another fine 1st in the 350s? Hi, Ho it’s John Cragg, riding the wheels off the bike and giving bridesmaid Jack Hebb not a sniff this time. Busch unravelled the Ransley tactics for 3rd. There was no touching Kingsley in this race, the Vinney’s open pipes booming out an uncatchable soundtrack and leaving Hann to once again hold off Tetley.

PJ Motorsport photography of the Lansdowne from Donington Park 2022

Sunday race four

Sam Clews was on it from the start. The ACR Manx hit the front and usually he’s gone, but Russell and Thomas had other thoughts. They hounded each other, ducking and diving, all race long with the canny Russell working the tactical game best whilst Clews and Thomas tested each other all race with clews just taking the P2 at the flag.

Luke Bailey again put in a classy shift moving through to finish 4th bagging more championship points. Clubman Hebb put in another sterling performance taking top spot from Stokes who himself charged through to take a great 2nd place with a plucky Parrott hoovering up more precious points with style and determination. he was cock-a-hoop at the presentation as usual, an asset to the Lansdowne and a class rider.

Talking of assets to the series, in 350s John Cragg creamed the opposition once more. He really likes that little Manx and his experience and style will take some beating as Jack Hebb just can’t find the answer… yet he had to settle for second as Busch had the last laugh over Ransley taking p3. The Pre-55 chaps once again had Kingsley pummelling the Vincent up the pointy end easily taking P1 with Hann again 2nd from wily old fox Derek Bunning having a great ride on his Domi.

To sum up…

Another great festival, great Lansdowne show with a full grid of 40 riders with terrific battles through-out from the likes of Gordon Russell, Andy Glasgow, Stuart Tonge putting in some good performances, also great to see Alex Williams and Simon Hocking dipping a toe into Classic bike racing.

Thank you Team Lansdowne, Marshals and organisers for another cracking event.