Motorcycle legend Ron Haslam will make a racing appearance at Donington Park this Sunday (13 August) at the inaugural Donington 500 event.
Ron last raced back in 2005, and will be competing in the 250 Endurance Race at this brand new meeting, designed to showcase the affordability and accessibility of motorcycle racing at all levels of the sport, especially at grass root level.
Haslam will be joined in a team with fellow riders John O’Toole and Jack Tynan. O’Toole is Haslam’s son-in-law and Tynan is a mutual friend, showcasing the very real and welcoming family nature of the sport. Both O’Toole and Tynan have been tutored through the Ron Haslam Race School, which regularly takes place at Donington Park. To further support the event, Ron and Ann Haslam are sponsoring the race with a £500 cash prize.
Speaking about the Donington 500 Haslam commented: “The reason I am dusting down my leathers is to support the sport that has been a large part of my life. I want to show people how affordable it can be to take part – either as a competitor or as a fan – and Donington Park have echoed this by offering spectators entry for a fiver, just like the good old days. Obviously racing again at Donington Park is a big factor for me as I have a huge nostalgic connection to the circuit. This will be the first time all three of us have raced together so it’s going to be interesting, but endurance racing is all about stamina and consistency so we will be working very much as a team rather than looking for individual glory.” Donington 500 set to introduce newcomers to motorcycling
It is entirely fitting that Haslam’s return coincides with a new-format racing event at Donington Park. The Donington 500 is the brainchild of Bob Adams, Donington Park’s Sporting Director, with the intention to reposition the sport of motorcycle racing as one that offers both affordability and enjoyment at a grass roots entry level. With spectator tickets being offered at just £5.00 per person, Donington Park’s aim is to encourage as many enthusiastic riders and spectators as possible to be part of what promises to be an action-packed day.
The Donington 500, run by Thundersport GB, will feature a selection of different grids, with the showcase race being the Donington 500 Two-Fifty Endurance, in which Haslam will be racing, wholly contested on CB500 machinery fitted with Dunlop Alpha 13SP tyres. This will be a pure endurance style competition with just one motorcycle shared between each team of riders. Each team will need to balance outright speed with fuel stops, brake pad changes and the ability to nurse a motorcycle to the finish in order to stand a chance of outright victory.
Donington Park in conjunction with Thundersport GB are also keen to firmly establish the link between affordable racing and childrens’ racing. Therefore, for the first time in modern racing, the Cool Fab Racing Conti and Metrakit GP50s and GP70s will be sharing equal billing with the adult classes at an ACU-sanctioned event, with no less than three races for these mini Grand Prix motorcycles.
Other highlights of the day’s programme include the GB Racing Military Races, which will showcase serving military riders with a full set of three championship races and the Thundersport 21st Century Challenge. This is a race for any rider born in the 21st century riding a production-based machine up to and including a 650cc twin engine. The race will feature motorcycles such as Aprilia RS125s, Kawasaki ZX300s, KTM RC390s and Suzuki SV65s. The results will be based on a sealed handicap system.
For those yet to sample the thrill of riding on two wheels, the Ron Haslam Race School will be on site to give information and take bookings for its world-renowned Honda Riding Skills courses. All equipment is supplied for participants to sample track action so there is no initial outlay required to find out more about the thrilling world of motorcycle sport.
Donington Park Sporting Director, Bob Adams, said: “I have long been conscious of the seemingly ever-increasing costs associated with getting into bike racing. Some costs are real and others just perceived, but the fact that getting involved has an aura of large expense is a very good reason to address the issue.
“Back in the day there were many one-day race meetings that were completely standalone with no practice day or pre-event qualifying sessions. The whole spectacle was accomplished between 9.00am & 6.00pm on race day. A few of these events remain but none that take place on the premier race circuits such as Donington Park. The Donington 500 is designed to recreate that 1990s style of race meeting, but with 21st century safety standards.”
Tickets for the Donington 500 on 13 August will be available upon arrival at the circuit, priced at just £5. Children aged 13 and under go free. For more information, visit www.donington-park.co.uk