2023 A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. British F2 Sidecar Championship To Get Underway At Croft Circuit


Supported by :- A.V. Craine & Sons; Hegarty Plant Ltd.; Pagid Racing; Whitby Cottages; Rowtec Engineering Maintenance & Tingle Windows

Round One – Croft – N.E.M.C.R.C. Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd April

Words – Tim Langham (F.S.R.A. Press Officer) / Photographs – Dirk Wharton

A new season begins for the A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. British F2 Sidecar Championship at Croft over the weekend of the 1st and 2nd April with N.E.M.C..R.C. – the annual visit to the popular North Yorkshire circuit is almost five months earlier than usual, with the “Battle Of Britain” meeting moving to Cadwell Park this year – an event at which the series will also be present.

The 2022 Super F2 Champions, Pete Founds / Jevan Walmsley (LCR Honda), will be looking to make a strong start to their season, targetting an unprecendented sixth title, also with an eye on preparation for the T.T. Races, where they scored two podium placings last year. Rob Atkinson / Mark Middleton (Bellas Honda) dominated the F2 Cup last term, and will be contesting the full series once again in 2023 – although due to work commitments, Shane Colbrook will be deputising for Middleton at Croft. While no longer eligible for points in the Cup, they have proved themselves as serious podium contenders in the Super category.

As ever, many of the stalwarts of the series return to the fray. Father and son team Steve & Matty Ramsden (LCR Honda); former double champion Gary Horspole / Kenny Cole (Baker Suzuki); 2017 F2 Cup victors Mike Jackson / Jake Roberts (DMR Suzuki) and T.T. winners Conrad Harrison / Andy Winkle (Ireson Yamaha) – are just four crews likely to by vying for podium visits. The 2015 championship winners Alan Founds / Jake Lowther (LCR Yamaha) will be hoping for better fortunes this year, after a serious incident at Brands Hatch in the opening round ruled Founds out for the vast majority of the year.

Mike Jackson & Jake Roberts

Looking for a strong start after a frustrating 2022 will be Wayne Lockey / Ben Binns (LCR Honda) – they were running strongly in the upper reaches last year’s championship following the opening rounds, but a series of mechanical failures marred their campaign thereafter. The 2018 F2 Cup Champion Daryl Gibson teams up with the versatile Tom Christie on a brand new CES Suzuki, and they too will be certain to be in the mix for top three placings as they prepare for Daryl’s T.T. debut as a driver (having taken a brace of fourth place finishes in 2022 as passenger to Dave Molyneux).

As always, the F2 Cup – known as the “series within a series” – will operate alongside the main British F2 Championship (generally referred to as “Super F2” when differentiating the categories). The Cup offers a chance for teams with less experience a realistic chance of scoring podium finishes. All teams competing score points in the Super F2 section, but only teams ranked as F2 Cup score points in the latter.

Favourites for the Cup are headed by last years runners-up, Brian Ilaria / Arlo Brown (DDM Suzuki) – they finished on the podium in all but two races in 2022, and their consistency and reliability is likely to continue to pay dividends. Chris Schofield / Dave Ryder (Baker Honda) and older sibling Dave Schofield / Josh Smith (Bellas Yamaha) have both invested in modern machinery over the last twelve months, and recent results are showing potential which should see them in the leading “pack” of Cup teams. With regulars including Bruce Moore / Amy Dodd (Ireson Honda); Paul Riley / Jody James (DDM Suzuki); Charlie Morphet / William Reilly (LCR Honda) and Shaun & Ben Chandler (CES Suzuki) the Cup will as ever be closely fought and wildly unpredictable all the way through the field!

The series welcomes four new teams to its ranks, all of whom will be looking to quickly establish themselves amongst the regulars, and will all be eligible to score points in both categories. Paul D’Henin / Gary Wheeler (DDM Suzuki) will be fresh from a week of testing at Val de Vienne, with Paul having had approximately two decades since last competing. Bob Dawson / Matt Sims (LCR Yamaha), following several successful seasons racing classic outfits will also be joining the Cup, having raced previously at Croft as a “wild card” last August. Andrew Bingham / Steven Dalton (Shelbourne Suzuki), the reigning F.S.R.A. Pre-Injection F2 Champions have purchased a new outfit to race at British F2 level, while James Saunders / Sarah Stokoe (Baker Honda) complete the line-up of newcomers, following a successful weekend of testing at Anglesey a fornight ago.

Unfortunately, “local favourite” Lee Crawford – current holder of both the Super and Cup lap records – will not be contesting the British F2 series this year, but will be in action in the club races aboard his F600 outfit, teaming up with Jake Lowther. However, the grid will be bolstered by several “wild card” contenders – all of whom are entitled to prizes but not championship points. These include the 2014 Super F2 winners Gary Bryan / Phil Hyde (Baker Honda). They are joined by revelations Kieran Clarke / Andrew Johnson (Windle Yamaha) – this team running a thirty year old carburetted machine – which they have proven can run with many of the top British teams on brand new outfits! Last season’s F2 Pre-Injection runners-up Liam Saunders / Ben Stell (Ireson Yamaha) will also be looking to upset the fuel injected machines as they too contest as wild card entrants.

Current Lap Records:

Super F2 – Crawford & Hardie – 01:26.612 – 26/03/22

F2 Cup – Crawford & Farrance – 01:29.817 – 26/09/15

On behalf of the F.S.R.A., I would like to express thanks to our loyal series sponsors, who have continued to pledge their support, despite the difficult times which the pandemic and increased operational costs for businesses over the last three years have brought about. The A.C.U. have again awarded the official “British Championship” title, and along with A.V. Craine & Son; Hegarty Plant Ltd; Pagid Racing (Breitenbach Rennsport); Rowtec Engineering Maintenance; and Whitby Cottages they continue their long partnerships with the F.S.R.A. We would also like to welcome our new series sponsor Tingle Windows on board for the coming season, and thank them for investing in the championship.

Finally, the F.S.R.A. would like to thank N.E.M.C.R.C. for hosting, and to all their dedicated officials, marshals, medics and all the other volunteers involved in running the event.

Steve & Matty Ramsden