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The Interesting History Associated with Donington Classic Motorcycle Festival

The 3-day spectacular Donington Classic Motorcycle Festival is one of UK's biggest and much-anticipated historic motorcycling celebrations. Read on to learn more about the history of this amazing festival.

The 3-day spectacular Donington Classic Motorcycle Festival is one of UK's biggest and much-anticipated historic motorcycling celebrations. Visitors would be able to enjoy races, displays, and parades. The venue has a lot of history attached to it.

First English Permanent Park Circuit

    The first race took place in 1931. It was a Whit Monday. Motorcycles raced through the narrow lanes located inside Donington Hall Estate. The track was subsequently widened in 1933 and made permanent. From then on, it became a regular venue for Grand Prix racing.

    For a brief period in 1939, competitions were halted due to the advent of the Second World War. The ground was used by the Ministry of Defence as a military vehicle depot.

    Return to Motor Racing

      Tom Wheatcroft purchased Donington Park in 1971. He was a local man who built his fortune during the post war years. He bought the place solely due to his passion for motorsport.

      In his younger days, before the Second World War, he enjoyed watching the bikes racing each other at the circuit. He spent the war driving tanks.

      Wheatcroft built a lucrative building business after he went back to civilian life. After going back to his first love, he sponsored a number of drivers at multiple levels. At one point in his life, he had the biggest collection of motor racing vehicles in the world. The collection of cars is now displayed at Donington Grand Prix Exhibition museum.

      Favourite Circuit

        Donington became popular in 1987 when the FIM World Championship British Motorcycle Grand Prix was staged there. The place helped to up the game's spectator appeal. This brought in record visitor numbers, making the event profitable.

        The venue soon became the racing circuit of choice among participants of Moto GP motorcycling and the British Superbike Championships. The turns and twists featured on the circuit offer the crowd a thrilling racing spectacle and the skills of the riders are put to extreme tests.

        For many spectators, Donington remains their favourite. This is due to its history being associated with Barry Sheene. The latter was a world champion in the 500 cc category. He took up racing again at this venue, after suffering a terrible crash in the Silverstone circuit riding a Yamaha.

        Festivals, Markets and Other Leisure Activities

          The next 30 years witnessed a phenomenal growth in motorcycle racing in the United Kingdom. Under Wheatcroft's direction, Donington became known as one of the world's best circuits and became home to a large Sunday market. In 1993, the European Grand Prix was held here.

          Good and Bad

            In 2007, the Wheatcroft Family entered into a 150-year duration lease with a new company, the Donington Ventures Leisure Limited. The first few years were good, with the venue hosting the longest, and the biggest event in the world of World Championship Motocross- the Motocross des Nations.

            In 2009, the company went bankrupt and Silverstone acquired Grand Prix contract. It was opened in 2010 after the track passed a critical safety examination. Its future is now bright.

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