MIKE McDonnell made a piece of history at Darley Moor last weekend as he took a hat-trick of wins in the CRMC double-header.
The TZ125 man became the first Yamaha rider ever to take overall victory in the Honda-dominated Post Classic 125 series as he powered to three wins and a third in the up-to-1982 group, even bagging Rider of the Day honours on Saturday.
The popular Classic 125 grid is split into three classes: piston-ported machines up to 1982, largely a grid of MT125 Hondas, open 125s up to 1986, all RS125 Hondas, and – new this year – a third group for 125s up to 1989.
His 1981 G model, which was the sole Yamaha in the field, is owned by Derek Skinner – a regular in the GP Originals series on a 1978 Yamaha TZ 350.
Originally exported to South Africa, Skinner bought the 125 in 2008 after it had been imported to the UK. After complete rebuild by TZ expert Lea Gourlay, he campaigned it himself for several years.
But two years ago, he handed the bike to friend and fellow Classic 125 rider McDonnell, who was Honda-mounted at the time, and the pair have been working together to put the Yamaha on the top spot since.
Following McDonnell’s back-to-back wins on the opening day of action last weekend, trackside commentator and Rider of the Day selector Graham Lawlor admitted the accolade was all down to determination.
“As always there were many contenders for Saturday’s Rider of the Day award, but I decided that Mike deserved it as a reward for all his and Derek’s perseverance in getting that TZ125 into the piston port winner’s circle,” Lawlor said.
*Words: Rob McDonnell