Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th May
Words – Tim Langham (F.S.R.A. Press Officer)
Photographs – Jenny Wells
The opening round of the A.C.U. / F.S.RA. British F2 Sidecar Championship was held at Brands Hatch over the weekend of the 17th and 18th April. The unseasonably warm weather was matched by the red hot pace at the front of the field, where Lee Crawford / Scott Hardie (LCR Suzuki) took pole, a double win and equalled the long standing lap record.
The Super F2 podium was completed on both occasions by runners-up Sean Hegarty / James Neave (Baker Honda) and Steve and Matty Ramsden (LCR Honda). Quite a talking point was the brace of fourth places taken by former champions Gary Horspole / Kenny Cole (Shelbourne Honda), proving older carburetted outfits are still more than capable in the right hands. These teams have firmly established themselves at the top of the table, and have a very solid foundation on which to base their championship aspirations going forward.
The F2 Cup is already looking far less predictible, with the top three separated by a mere two points. Five different teams stood on the Cup podium over the two races at Brands, and while the wins were shared by Shaun and Ben Chandler (Baker Honda) and Brian Ilaria / Matt Sims (DDM Suzuki), consistency from Chris Schofield / Shane Colbrook (Ireson Honda) with a pair of second places sees them heading the table at this early stage. Third places were taken by Paul Riley / Jody James (MRE Suzuki), along with Roger and Bradley Stockton (LCR Suzuki).
All of the aforementioned teams will be in action in the second round at Donington Park, along with a number of others who had a rather more frustrating weekend at Brands. Alan Founds / Jake Lowther (LCR Yamaha) were running strongly in all sessions, but were forced out with machine problems in both races whilst well-placed. John Lowther / Matt Rostron (LCR Yamaha) managed a fifth place in the opening outing, but a misfire forced them into retirement in race two.
In the F2 Cup, Harry Payne / Mark Wilkes were looking particularly strong in testing at Brands, running on the same pace as the fastest of the Super F2 teams. However, they were forced out of Saturday’s action following an issue which left Wilkes needing an operation on a hand injury. They will be looking to bounce back with two solid points finishes at Donington to kickstart their Cup challenge.
Having missed the opening round for a variety of reasons, the likes of Conrad Harrison / Andy Winkle (Bellas Honda) and Howard Baker / Mike Killingsworth (Shelbourne Honda) will be joining the ranks of the Super F2 grid, as will Wayne Lockey / Mark Sayers (LCR Honda) – the latter pairing having been unable to compete at Brands owing to a terminal mechanical failure in the Friday test. In the F2 Cup, the 2019 runners-up Rob Atkinson / Mark Middleton (Bellas Suzuki) will be having their first outing of 2021, while Steven Pawley / Ian Tennant (GLR Honda) make their series debut.
Donington Park plays host to a number of “wild-card” teams who add some welcome extra interest to the grid. 2019 RKB-F1 champion Todd Ellis / Phil Hyde (Baker Honda) will be making a rare appearance on a short wheelbase F2 machine, and judging by Todd’s performance at Croft on this machine last season, they are sure to be amongst the leaders. Lewis Blackstock / Patrick Rosney (LCR Honda); Dean Lindley / Arlo Brown (DMR Suzuki); Matt Dix / Shaun Parker (Baker Honda) and Maria Costello MBE / Vicky Cooke (LCR Kawasaki) also join the regulars.
Practice and qualifying will take place on Saturday morning, with the opening sidecar race of the weekend in the afternoon. The winners of this race will be awarded the “Bill Boddice Trophy”; while a warm-up and race two will be held on Sunday.
The F.S.R.A. would, as always like to acknowledge the A.C.U. for their assistance and awarding the official “British Championship” title. Thanks also to our series sponsors: A.R.C. (Binchester / Newton Aycliffe); A.V. Craine & Son; Hegarty Plant Ltd; Leeds Parcel Company; Lockside Engineering; Pagid Racing (Breitenbach Rennsport); Rowtec Engineering Maintenance; and Whitby Cottages.
Finally, the F.S.R.A. would like to thank N.G.R.R.C. for hosting this meeting, and to all their dedicated staff, officials, marshals, medics and all the other volunteers involved in organising and conducting the event.
There will then follow a break of six weeks until the third round of the championship, which will be held at Anglesey Circuit over the weekend of the 26th and 27th June. In the meantime, please keep up to date with F.S.R.A. news, including race reports and up to date championship points on the website – www.fsra.org.uk