Motorcycle racing has dominated Stoke-on-Trent-based Chris Spooner’s life for the best part of two decades.
Starting out in his competitive career at the age of just 17 with his local racing club, Chris has gone on to enter (and win) countless championships across the country, gaining some seriously impressive trophies along the way.
Chris now rides in the Blackbird Corporate Golden Era Supersport 600 class of the Thundersport GB series, with his race motorcycles kitted out with EBC’s GPFAX and Double-H™ sintered race pads with X-Series floating discs.
Chris talks us through each year of his career to date in his own words…
2001: At the age of 17, I entered my first race with the East Midlands Racing Association (EMRA) at Mallory Park on a Suzuki X7 with the Earlystocks club (a club which aims to keep racing costs to a minimum). Never having raced before, I was unsure what to expect, but after competing in my first ever meeting and finishing 3rd, I was hooked from the start! I eventually took 3rd place at the end of the season.
2002: Remained with the Earlystocks club on the same machine, and by this time had a much better knowledge of the circuits we were racing at. I had some good results throughout the season, securing nothing less than 3rd position, as well as taking my first race win at Aintree in the wet! I finished 2nd at the end of the year.
2003: Wanting more of a challenge and to progress in racing, I decided to buy a Kawasaki ZXR400 for the Formula 400 class, a class that has always been well supported with some very good racers and a variety of machines. It was completely different to what I had been used to, but I soon got to grips with the new bike, putting in top six finishes by mid-season. Unfortunately, the first season in the 400 class in 2003 came to a disappointing end as a huge high-side crash at the final meeting of the year at Darley Moor saw me suffer fractured vertebrae and a broken wrist, which had to be pinned and plated. This meant a huge setback not only physically, but financially as far as repairs went and it took much longer than anticipated to get race-fit again.
2006/2007: It was not until 2006 that I felt physically and mentally ready to ride again. I continued doing track days and test sessions all that year and even during 2007, but it was at that point that I needed to race again. So, I joined Darley Moor MCRRC for the last two meetings of 2007, where I confidently finished in the top 10 in each event and was very much looking forward to 2008!
2008: Not the best start as during pre-season testing, the bike got completely wrecked in a crash at Oulton Park, meaning a delay in the start of the season for me. Regardless of the initial setback, progress was made throughout the year and I finished a respectable 5th in the Darley Moor Lightweight Championship and joint 5th in the Formula 400 class.
2009: The 2009 season saw some very eventful rounds, podium finishes, crashes, and race wins! After a respectable start to the season at Darley Moor, finishing in the top six for the first few rounds, scoring valuable points every time, it wasn’t until mid-way through the championship that the podium finishes began which is when I really started to move up the table and pressure the front-runners. This came as a result of riding at technical tracks, including Oulton Park, Cadwell Park, and Anglesey. After all the hard work and battling at every round I took 3rd in the DMRRC F400 Championship at the end of the season.
2010: This season was my most successful, bagging two championships: Darley Moor DMRRC Formula 400 and the DMRRC Lightweights. I also had numerous race wins and podium finishes with other clubs, including EMRA, Derby Phoenix, Wirral 100 and Thundersport GB.
2011: This season was somewhat disappointing considering the high I finished on in 2010. Choosing to compete only at Darley Moor and with EMRA at Mallory Park (mostly due to financial reasons) I finished on the podium at every round with both clubs but this was not enough to see me retain my title as the Lightweight or Formula 400 champion.
2012: Missing the first 2 rounds with EMRA meant that the season would be tough to pull back the deficit. Achieving consistent top three-placed results meant I would finish runner-up in the F400 EMRA Championship, missing out to first place by one point! This would be my final season racing, as the start of 2013 presented me with a huge bill to fix the van, plus lack of funds to further my progression, meant I would choose to take some time out.
Fast forward to 2019… The opportunity arose to test a couple of Honda CB500s provided by Simon Colclough at The Motorbike Mover and Carl Vickers from CV Racing, and to have some financial support from Delkevic Racing. Although having spent very little time on the CB500, it was obvious to me from the first track day session that I needed to scratch that racing itch once more – what better class to throw myself into than the most heavily-subscribed class in Europe: the Thundersport GB 500 class?!
The aim of this short season was to re-learn my race craft and gain confidence in the short circuit scene once again. It was certainly a reality check, when in my first race at Mallory Park I did not qualify for the Elite/Sportsman class as intended and instead found myself on the front row of the Cup/Novice grid. I came first in class in all four races that weekend, and learned just how tough this class was!
The rounds following on from this saw me qualify in the Elite/Sportsman class and make progress through the field each time, with my best finishes being at the Anglesey meeting: finishing 5th in class, 11th overall and within reach of the top 10. The final round took place at Oulton Park where, although crashing out for a DNF, I was lapping consistently inside the top 10 times of the Elite riders.
2020: I was ecstatic to be invited by CV Racing to join them and race in the Blackbird Corporate Golden Era Supersport 600 class within Thundersport GB for 2020. Once things return to normal, I am looking forward to working with the team and will be looking to make progress throughout the rest of the season.