Rain Stops Play At Anglesey In British F2 Sidecar Championship Round Three

Words – Tim Langham (F.S.R.A. Press Officer) / Photographs – Ste McNorton

The championship visited the popular circuit of Anglesey for the first time in three years – owing to Covid-19 restrictions preventing a round at the Welsh island in the previous two seasons. Similar to the 2019 event, strong winds made for tricky conditions on Saturday, while on Sunday weather conditions worsened resulting in abandonment of the meeting without any action on circuit.

Practice took place mid-morning, sharing the circuit with Wirral 100 club sidecars, along with the F.S.R.A. Pre-Injection teams. With thirty five machines of varying speeds and styles on track, times were modest, with several potentially fast laps hampered by “traffic”.

Unfortunately a mechanical failure in practice ruled Wayne Lockey / Ben Binns (LCR Honda) out of contention for the weekend. David Schofield / Josh Smith (Windle Suzuki) also missed qualifying whilst making repairs to their outfit.

Qualifying was held Saturday afternoon, later than anticipated due to incidents in other sessions. Title challengers Lee Crawford / Scott Hardie (LCR Suzuki) were sidelined as they exited Church Corner on the out-lap, meaning they would be resigned to starting the race from the back of the grid.

Championship leaders Pete Founds / Jevan Walmsley (LCR Honda) topped the session from start to finish, their best lap of 1.12:552 an unofficial record – that honour belonging to Simon Neary / Dips Chauhan – set way back in July 2010! Steve & Matty Ramsden (LCR Honda) were latecomers to the session, and despite completing only three laps they qualified second, 0.8s ahead of the Manx pairing of Mike Jackson / Jake Roberts (DMR Suzuki), with Conrad Harrison / Andy Winkle (Bellas Honda) fourth.

Fifth fastest, and looking to extend their unbeaten start to their F2 Cup campaign were Rob Atkinson / Mark Middleton (Bellas Yamaha), with their closest rivals in class Brian Ilaria / Arlo Brown (DDM Suzuki) sixth. The top ten was completed by Chris Schofield / Shane Colbrook (Baker Honda); Gary Horspole / Kenny Cole (Baker Suzuki); Paul Riley / Jody James (DDM Suzuki) and Tony Baker / Sarah Stokoe (Baker Suzuki).

With delays continuing to impact on the day’s proceedings, race one was reduced from a planned sixteen laps to ten, getting underway around 5.15pm. There was drama even before the start as the second placed qualifiers – the Ramsdens – pulled into pitlane on the warm-up lap with a technical issue, while Crawford / Hardie who had worked hard to change engine also pulled out on the initial formation lap.

Founds / Walmsley took the lead from pole, it but was the fourth placed qualifiers Harrison / Winkle who made the best start, slotting into second, although they were demoted to third by the end of lap one by Jackson / Roberts. The unfortunate Schofield / Smith were first lap retirements, having made the grid after overcoming their earlier problems.

A good scrap was developing for fourth place, with Atkinson / Middleton heading the F2 Cup charge, although they were passed on lap three by Schofield / Colbrook. These two teams were still in close company on lap six, with Ilaria / Brown only 0.3s in arrears in sixth.

Founds / Walmsley were in a class of their own, easing a gap of approximately three seconds a lap from Jackson / Roberts, who could afford no misdemeanour, with Harrison / Winkle still only around a second behind. Unfortunately Horspole / Cole and Stuart Anderson / Hannah Brunton (Lumley Kawasaki) joined the non finishers list with mechanical problems.

The battle for fourth was still raging, and undoubtedly the best action on circuit, with Atkinson / Middleton getting the better of Schofield / Colbrook on lap eight, with Ilaria / Brown still absolutely in their wheeltracks as the final lap began.

Founds / Walmsley made no mistake, taking a convincing win – however they were unable to repeat their qualifying time, meaning the lap record would stand for at least another weekend! Jackson / Roberts held off Harrison / Winkle by a mere 0.325s, while there was huge disappointment for Schofield / Colbrook who went missing on the last lap as Shane parted company with the outfit through The Corkscrew. The F2 Cup victory went to fourth placed Atkinson / Middleton, from Ilaria / Brown and completing the top six and Cup podium were Riley / James. In seventh were Charlie Morphet / William Reilly (LCR Honda); eighth were Baker / Stokoe; and in ninth were Bruce Moore / Amy Dodd (Ireson Honda).

With winds strengthening overnight, and the addition of persistent rain, the start of proceedings was delayed twice, before ultimately the club had to take the decision to cancel the entirety of the Sunday schedule in the interests of safety, with the weather showing no sign of relenting.

Thanks as ever go to the A.C.U., along with 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 the Wirral 100 club and to all their dedicated officials, marshals, medics and all the other volunteers involved in running the event, and for continuing to invite our series to several of their meetings.

It goes without saying that the sad events at the Isle of Man T.T. Races were still at the forefront of the minds of everyone this weekend, with a tribute organised in the memory of Roger & Bradley Stockton, and Cesar Chanal. At the conclusion of Saturday’s racing, driver Wayne Lockey and series sponsor Beryl Bridson took part in a charity “head shave” (in the case of Wayne, also losing his bushy beard which had sprouted over the winter months!). This raised an impressive £800 which will be donated to the Stockton and Chanal families.

There now follows a break of six weeks to accommodate the Southern 100 Races – the F.S.R.A. wish all competitors attending the best of luck for a safe and successful fortnight. Round four of the series will feature three points scoring races at the annual Cadwell Park Sidecar Revival, over the weekend of the 6th and 7th August. In the meantime, please keep up to date with F.S.R.A. news, including race reports and latest championship standings on the website – www.fsra.org.uk