Husband and wife sidecar racing team Giles and Jen Stainton were at Darley Moor for the final race of the 2016 Darley Moor club Sidecar championship and they were pleasantly surprised to find that after recording a sixth place in the race they had secured third position in the final standings.
The Lincolnshire duo were looking forward to Saturday as the track time allocated for testing is very generous and usually seems to run smoothly for them.
Jen commented: "On Saturday we had a massive six sessions out on track each lasting about 10 laps - such a great value day. Although there were no timings for the day we felt that we were picking up pace and becoming smoother around the track. The consistency of the conditions and the amount of track time we had confirmed that the bike was handling and performing well and this feedback was giving Giles great confidence."
Sunday was race day and timed practice went smoothly for the pair who posted a strong sixth place in a grid of 16 outfits which included the current world F2 Cup champions Ben and Tom Birchall.
As the 15 lap race got underway on Sunday afternoon the nerves kicked in and they struggled with traction off the line. But finally they found the grip they needed and set about chasing the outfit in front into the first corner. Several laps into the race it was red flagged due to an incident at the hairpin and the teams regrouped to restart the now 12 lap race.
This time team SaS got away to a better start and began an exciting race long battle with Bruce and Ashley Moore. Jen explained: "Every lap we were switching places and the race seemed to be over in a flash and instead of Giles' focus being on getting the perfect line it suddenly became about tactics, overtaking and survival. In the heat of the battle we were both pushed out of our comfort zones and the racing became less methodical and more natural. We were pipped to the post by Bruce and Ashley but we both learnt so much from the battle and gained so much as a team. We were even more excited when we learnt that we had achieved a personal best lap time of 1m 05s.
"Thank you to our sponsors for supporting us this year; Interfuse, LR Hutchinson, Elite Signs, MMC, Andrew and Vanessa, Paul's Auto Resprays. Thanks also to those that come and support us and to Sid Diggins for the fantastic photos. It's all greatly appreciated."
Although they completed only five of the eight rounds the couple were delighted to find they were third in the F2 championship and feel they now have the confidence to have a shot at the British championship next season.
The final outing for 2016 will be at the Cadwell Bonanza at the end of October where there is sure to be some fantastic sidecar action.