Celebrating their 61st season, the popular North East Motor Cycle Racing Club gets the 2024 season underway at Croft Circuit near Darlington this weekend with another quality field set to battle it out in the various classes.

Around 100 solos and over 40 sidecars will be in action over a fast and furious weekend as riders aim to blow off the winter cobwebs in style around the full international 2.127-mile circuit.

Leading the entry in the sidecars are defending world champions Todd Ellis and French passenger Emmanuelle Clement who go in search of the prestigious Mac Hobson Trophy in the Open class. The pair won the world title in 2022 also and are three times and defending British champions whereby they will contest the opening round of the FSRA F2 Sidecar Championship at Croft also.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Double World Sidecar Champions Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement head a stellar entry list at the opening Croft meeting of 2024  Picture: Charlotte Hewett

That event will be an intense affair with other leading crews set to do battle including TT winners Conrad Harrison/Ashley Moore from Bradford along with Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley as well as former British champion Sean Hegarty/James Neave in the field. Humbersiders Daryl Gibson/Tom Christie will be a major threat, as will Lancastrian John Holden/Frank Claeys whilst Durham’s Lee Crawford along with passenger Scott Hardie will be hoping for a decent silverware haul.

Leading lights on two wheels include TT winner Dominic Herbertson from Hexham who will face stiff opposition from Ripon’s Manx Grand Prix winner Matt Stephenson. Lanchester youngster James Alderson aims to put an injury-hit couple of seasons behind him whilst other local riders aiming to impress are David Bell from Chester le Street, Northallerton’s Graham Ashbridge and Masham rider Fred Driver-Smith, son of the late Simon ‘Ronnie’ Smith.

Local aces Richard Charlton, Tommy Fielding, Mark Goodings and John Cliffe will also be men to watch as the overall winner of the F600 class will lift the historic Laird of Croft Trophy.

There are also classes for GP125, Classics, Post Classics, Lightweight Super and Stock Twins, Pre-injection 600 and Open, Thunderbikes, Formula 400, 400/500 Twins/Singles, and Production/Open Super Scooters as well as the usual popular categories for Open Sidecars, 600cc, and Unlimited Open class bikes.

Practice gets underway at 9.30am on Saturday and 12.05pm. Adult admission costs £16.50 on both days with accompanied children aged 15 and under admitted free on both days. There is also free car parking and free paddock access.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, April 10 car racing fans are also able to get their 2024 season off to a start when the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship hosts one of its three official test days at Croft prior to the competitive campaign kicking off later this month.

Admission is free, although charitable donations are welcomed whereby the proceeds will be divided between Race Against Dementia and the Great North Air Ambulance. Gates open at 9.30am.

Croft’s new Café, Hanger 50, is now open and serving refreshments at all meetings at Croft Circuit as well as the BTCC test day.

Further information is available from Croft Circuit on 01325 721815 or at croftcircuit.co.uk. Tickets for all 2024 events are now available to purchase along with Season Passes and Driving Experiences.