F.S.R.A. / 1st Call Refrigeration Pre-Injection Sidecar Championship – Round 5 – Anglesey


Words – Marriane Walford

Saturday was bright with a strong wind. The Pre-Injection series provided a good entry of twelve outfits who joined the six Wirral 100 Open Sidecars. The practice session included the A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. British F2 championship riders and a total of 35 outfits recorded times, which was intimidating for the crews with novice drivers and passengers.

Billy Gilroy went out for practice with his son Redd passengering, but with a 21-year gap he felt out of place. Redd swapped to driving and found a stand-in passenger in solo rider Sam Downes, but was unable to go out on Saturday due to not taking part in the practice session as a driver. Steve Woolcott forfeited Saturday because he had filled his petrol containers with diesel! It took a little and a lot of puzzling to determine why the engine would not run properly.

In race one, Gary Fairhurst / Billy Andrews (Windle Kawasaki) immediately stamped their authority and were straight into the lead in all three dry races. Derek Salleh / Jack Fairhurst (Ireson Yamaha) followed for six laps on their F2, being chased by the F1s of John Stephenson / Amanda Mason (Suzuki) and Mark Burns / Steve Winfrow (LCR Yamaha). On lap seven, Burns / Winfrow passed Salleh / Fairhurst, but could do nothing to close the twenty second gap to Fairhurst / Andrews. Dave Tibbles / Raitch Greenwood (DDR Yamaha), Geoff & Sam Knight (Yamaha), George McMahon / Michael Ranson (Suzuki) and Gerald & Daniel Hodgson (Shelbourne Honda) had all been swapping places in the early laps, but the latter crew slowed on the last couple of laps.

The Hodgsons got a flyer of a start in race 2, closely behind the lead F1 of Fairhurst / Andrews and the F2 of Salleh / Fairhurst. Burns / Winfrow pulled off at the end of the first lap. By lap six, Fairhurst / Andrews had established a long lead and were the only Pre-Injection outfit to complete the full ten laps. McMahon / Ranson pulled out after seven laps. Steve Alexander / Leila Williams (Kawasaki) and Jan Tyrrell with new passenger Scott Christie (Yamaha) had reliable finishes with fourth in both classes.

The weather forecast for Sunday predicted heavy rain coming in at 2pm, so the organising club took the sensible decision to start early with minimum practice only for riders who had not been out or had not finished on Saturday. This included Redd Gilroy with supersport rider Sam Downes as stand-in passenger, and Steve Woolcott and new passenger Tom Saville. Rocket Bend at the top of the hill is tricky and Tom missed his handhold and was sliding backwards and couldn’t recover – I believe he had a graceful slide along the tarmac. Luckily marshals quickly alerted Steve to the fact he was now on his own! Tom was unhurt and soon ready for his race as a passenger, albeit with some trepidation.

This was the Trophy Race, and Stephenson / Mason got a good start, but their lead over the dominant Fairhurst / Andrews lasted less than a lap. At the start of lap two, Salleh / Fairhurst made a good overtake nipping up the inside of Burns / Winfrow at the Banking but by the end of the lap Burns / Winfrow had regained the place. On the sixth lap at the tricky Rocket Bend, The Hodgsons were looking to overtake Gilroy / Downes who had a false neutral just at the wrong time which led to a coming together. Both outfits suffered bodywork damage and had to pull out. Knight / Knight, Tibbles / Greenwood and McMahon / Ranson were battling throughout the race, and on the last lap Tibbles / Greenwood passed the Knights, all three finishing within six seconds of each other.

As predicted, the rain came in and all crews had plenty of time to fit wets for the last race of the day. The club had run a slick meeting and at 4pm, the outfits took to the track for the last time this weekend. Both the dominant crews of the weekend in the F1 and F2 classes, Fairhurst / Andrews and Salleh / Fairhurst made hesitant starts, but by the second lap Salleh / Fairhurst had regained their confidence and nipped past the early leaders Stephenson / Mason on Turn 1. Burns / Winfrow had another problem and failed to finish the lap, McMahon / Ranson pulled out on the second lap, and problems with braking caused Alexander / Williams to pull up on their fifth lap. Tyrrell / Christie had not made the start due to a mechanical issue.

By lap three, Fairhurst / Andrews were back to normal – in the lead! Salleh / Fairhurst came round on the eighth lap with a bike that sounded unwell and Woolcott / Saville took advantage to leap into the lead of the F2 class. It was a depleted field that finished the last race of the weekend.

F1 Points

F2 Points