AC/DC’s Johnson rocks his way to respectable eighth

HIGHWAY TO HELL: Brian Johnson in action during the Croft Circuit Nostalgia Meeting

HIGHWAY TO HELL: Brian Johnson in action during the Croft Circuit Nostalgia Meeting

First published in Sport

AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson left fans ‘thunderstruck’ at the fifth annual Croft Nostalgia Weekend last weekend, and had so much fun he is eager to return to the retroflavoured festival next year.

The weekend delivered a second dose of sublime racing action and on-and-off-track entertainment, from classic car collections to Routemaster buses, period live music, circuit parades, military processions, a spectacular firing display, aerial aerobatics and a through-the-decades fashion show – the scene for a surprise marriage proposal, with Darlington’s Jennifer Wiper being crowned ‘Best-Dressed Lady’ in vintage attire.

The drivers were watched over by Chris Meek, one of the starters in the inaugural 1964 Daily Mirror Trophy Meeting, 50 years ago to the day, and circuit founder Bruce Ropner.

Saturday’s pace-setting Mini Coopers initially duelled for the lead again in Sunday’s Historic Touring Cars race, before the Ford Lotus Cortinas and Warren Briggs’ menacing Mustang powered to the front. Tim Davies broke clear in his Lotus Cortina whilst Briggs muscled his way through to runner-up laurels.

Mike Gardiner’s Lotus Cortina wound up third whilst AC/DC’s Johnson made it two top ten finishes, hustling his Mini Cooper to eighth overall and class victory.

HAMSTERLEY rally driver Stephen Petch swapped his chosen gravel surface for the tarmac roads of Otterburn military ranges last weekend and came away with a superb top six placing.

Along with Crook co-driver Michael Wilkinson, the pair were contesting the latest round of the 2014 REIS Get Connected MSA Asphalt Rally Championship in Northumberland and were in action in the SGP Motorsport Hyundai Accent WRC.

Petch battled against series regulars over 12 challenging and high speed stages to post sixth overall at the finish, three minutes behind winners Peter Taylor from Carlisle and Gateshead co-driver Andrew Roughead in their Ford Fiesta S2400.

Giles Dykes from Barnard Castle guided David Tinn to a superb top ten placing in their Millington Proton Satria.

Teesside businessman Peter Stephenson and co-driver Ian Windress from Northallerton brought their Ford Focus WRC home in 18th overall and first in class.

The Durham pairing of Mark Borthwick and co-driver Peter Gibson finished 19th overall and fourth in class in their Ford Escort, five places ahead of Consett’s Barry Renwick who along with co-driver Steve Dargan took fifth in their Ford Escort.

Bedale’s Tommi Graham and Mike Bailey claimed 26th overall and 6th in class, just one place and 11 seconds ahead of Bishop Auckland crew John Pye and John Coxon in their Mitsubishi. Richmond brothers Mark and Andrew Constantine took 32nd overall to finish second in the 1400cc class.

Sadly for six other crews, they failed to see the finish.

SS7 claimed Witton Gilbert driver Ed Todd and co-driver Andy Brown in their GTM Coupe and so too, Thirkleby driver Rob Herrington and co-driver Alex Taylor in their Ford Escort.

NORTHALLERTON motorcycle Enduro rider Robbie Wallace was competing rounds nine and ten of the British Sprint Enduro Championship last weekend at Black Dog Woods near Frome.

Riding his Motoconnection, Putoline Oils and RFX-sponsored Yamaha YZ125, in the open sections there were perfect conditions with little or no dust. Riding in the Enduro21.com under 19 youth class, Wallace had a shoulder injury still in evidence.

Round nine on Saturday, and Wallace made a good start with a second fastest time on the first test. After a third fastest on the second test he came in with a deflated front tyre so the wheel was swapped. The next two tests went smoothly although Wallace was complaining of blisters on his hands. On the fifth test Robbie was late arriving at the finish and appeared ten minutes late and out of time taking a test maximum.

The front wheel bearing had collapsed. Disappointed he set out to recover lost ground, taking a third place.

Round ten on Sunday saw overnight rain and the track reversed which made it trickier and Wallace made a slow start due to aggravating his shoulder injury. By test three, Wallace’s form was improving.

He managed to find new lines to sustain another third place and another podium finish to occupy third in the championship.

LAST Thursday saw the Redcar Bears speedway team in Premier League action at their home track at South Tees Motorsport Park, in a local derby against Newcastle Diamonds.

Both teams had to use rider replacements but The Bears had a comfortable lead of eight points after nine heats. However, by Heat 12, The Diamonds had levelled the scores. Heat 13 saw the Bears’ Aaron Summers and Richard Lawson score a brilliant 5-1 to give The Bears a four-point lead. The Bears won Heats 14 and 15 to maintain a four points advantage, secure victory and to add two points to their league tally.

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