NORTHWICH will become petrolhead heaven again this weekend when the 13th annual Thundersprint event rolls into town.

Tens of thousands of bike fans are expected turn out on Saturday and Sunday for Mid Cheshire’s showpiece event. And organiser Frank Melling is promising one of the best ever.

“If you have any interest in motorcycles, there’s only one place to be this weekend,” he said.

“Every year the Thundersprint gets bigger and better – and this one’s going to be spectacular!”

Witton Albion FC open its doors for weekend campers for the first time at noon on Friday, and will remain open until Monday morning.

The Thundersprint Bike Show will be held next to the Memorial Hall throughout the day on Saturday, with more than 100 classic and modern bikes on display. Ducati Manchester and Knutsford Honda will be running test rides all day and admission is free.

The 2009 show will be the first since the death of 23-year-old Greenbank racing prodigy Craig Jones, who died in August after a crash at Brands Hatch.

And, fittingly, it will be his close friend, double World Superbike champion James Toseland, who takes a starring role in the weekend’s entertainment.

But the MotoGP star will be impressing fans with his singing rather than his speed at Northwich Memorial Hall on Saturday night, when he performs with his band, Crash (8pm, tickets £15 from the venue or on 01606 814640).

Mr Melling said: “Sunday sees the Thundersprint itself taking place right in the town centre, and there is no charge for admission, parking or the excellent grandstand seating.

“Everything has open access with absolutely no restricted or VIP areas. If you want to mix with the stars like JT and six-time World Champion Jim Redman, you’ll never get a better chance.”

The Thundersprint Cavalcade – 200 race and road bikes completing three 2.5-mile laps of the town centre – sets off at noon on Sunday.

An RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire will roar over Northwich at around 1.20pm, with the afternoon’s racing running from around 1.40-5pm.

“It is going to be a flat-out weekend,” admitted the organiser. “But there is nowhere in the world offering more for anyone with an interest in bikes.”

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