Maria Costello MBE continues to improve in sidecar racing despite a stand-in passenger at the BMCRC-MRO Championship at Donington Park last weekend.
Looking to build on the previous meeting’s positive race results at Croft with the FSRA British Championship, the pairing of Maria and passenger Vicky were keen to return to Donington Park with increased confidence as they felt they had unfinished business there after a lacklustre event earlier in the year.
With Vicky falling ill and unable to race, Gary Wheeler, stepped in as replacement for what turned out to be a fantastic weekend of great results and multiple personal bests.
The weekend got off to a great start. With the newly refreshed engine and gearbox in place, Maria and Gary put in an unofficial personal best in their first practice session on the Friday.
Maria & stand in passenger Gary Wheeler.
Image Credit: Kalan Ruck Photography
The Saturday morning qualifying session was another successful outing on track and the new pairing produced yet another personal best for Maria, putting them on the grid in 12th place as the sixth fastest F2 outfit.
In the first race, Maria improved her personal best lap time again to 1:21.251 as they took 11th place overall. Trying some new gearing, they then claimed 10th overall in the second race and all but matched their lap times with a 1:21.664.
Returning the LCR to the first-race set up, Maria and Gary took their place on the grid and with a brilliant start gained positions and maintained them throughout the race. They improved their lap times again to produce a new best of 1:20:240 to claim 11th overall and move up to fifth-placed F2 finisher.
Unfortunately, a mechanical problem meant they were unable to start the final race, but both remained happy with such great success as a new pairing.
Mechanic Matt Williams said: “Standing on the pit wall watching lap times coming down makes all the hard work and preparation worthwhile. Of course it’s disappointing to DNS in the final race but the improvements Maria has made far outweigh the disappointment, she’s not been fazed by a different passenger and her racing has been class all weekend.”
Maria was delighted with the weekend’s efforts: “Huge thanks to Gary for jumping on last minute and for great passengering and helping me achieve new PBs. Special thanks to Matt for extra efforts, all his prep and continued hard work. Working with a new passenger and setting such good lap times and personal bests has been a fantastic experience and so important as the end of the season is approaching fast and every lap on track is helping to prepare me for next year when I return to the Isle of Man TT races. Of course Vicky was missed and all the team sends get-well wishes.”
The next events, on both two and three wheels, will be released shortly. In the meantime, Maria is preparing for a highlight of the year, the glorious Goodwood Revival and an announcement sharing what she’ll be competing on will follow.
Special thanks to all the 2021 SPONSORS:
• RAM SAFETY SOLUTIONS UK LTD
• MARK COVERDALE
• HEGARTY UK
• ROCK OIL
• MAC TOOLS
• QUINNS THE PRINTERS
• MJW SPECIALISTS
• PREMIER BODYWORKS
• NITRON SUSPENSION
• NOVA RACING
• HG CONCEPTS
• NGK SPARK PLUGS
• SARACEN BIKES
• RACEBIKE BITZ
• RACING BATTERIES
• HEL PERFORMANCE
• DR MOTO
• MSS PERFORMANCE
• JAP4 PERFORMANCE
• UNIT FITNESS PROGRAMMING
• CHRISTIAN BAKER
• TM DETAILING
• BRONWEN DESIGNS
• CYBER SIGN COMPANY UK
• EAGLES CREATIVE
Maria & Vicky in the mix at the FSRA British Championship round at Croft.
By Joy Richings
If you would like to become a partner or find out more about sponsorship opportunities with Maria Costello you can reach her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. New website coming soon.