The third round of the FSRA/ACU Formula 2 British Sidecar championship took place this past weekend at Donington Park hosted by the North Gloucester Road Racing Club. With changeable weather forecast everyone was hoping for a dry session and when qualifying took place half way through the day on Saturday the weather remained a little blustery, the track was dry and the overhead conditions cloudy.
Qualifying commenced at 1316 with twenty eight sidecars listed in the program track position would be at a premium, however there were a three teams that didn’t make qualifying due to technical issues in the earlier warm up session. Those teams being the teams of Wilby/Lowther and Dukes/Moralee competing in the F2 Cup and Hegarty/Neave in the Super F2 Cup. The early pace setters after five minutes of the fifteen minute session were the current and leading championship team of Peter Founds/Jevan Walmsley on their Rowtec/Trustlands Construction sponsored LCR Suzuki with a time of 1:16.291 followed by the Lowther brothers John and Jake on the Team ARC LCR Honda, slotting in to third place the father and son pairing of Steve and Matty Ramsden of Ramsden racing on their Honda powered LCR. In the F2 Cup the leading team of Team Powerhouse Brian Ilaria/Jody James on their DDM Suzuki followed by Womble Racings Stuart Anderson/Philip Gravel on their DMR Honda and in third place Richard Lumley/Ray Whitnell on their Lumley chassis separated by just 0.2s. The F2 Cup is hotting up and halfway through the qualifying session the leading contenders were Mike Jackson/Callum Crowe on their Windle Suzuki 0.3s ahead of Paul Riley/Shaun Parker FCN Racing on their MR Equipe who in turn were 0.7s ahead of Ralph Remnant and Samantha Tilley on their Lumley Kawasaki. In the super class it was Founds/Walmsley with a blistering pace of 1:14.898 with the Ramsdens holding second and Lee Crawford/Patrick Farrance on their Team ARC sponsored LCR Suzuki usurping their team mates the Lowther brothers in to third place. With just a minute remaining of qualifying remaining Founds/Walmsley dipped inside the lap record by just 0.003s with a time of 1:14.667s which at the time is currently held by Simon Neary and Dipash Chauhan which they set on the 1.979 mile circuit in April of 2011 and lowered it again to take pole position on what would be the last lap of qualifying to record a time of 1:14.570 which is an unofficial lap record as this has to be achieved under race conditions. In second position remained the Ramsdens, Crawford/Farrance in third, Lowther/Lowther holding fourth place ahead of wild card entrants Dean Lindley/Robert Bell and in sixth place the returning team of Sean Reeves/Adam Christie on their DDM Suzuki. In the F2 Cup from the Isle of Man and the first time at Donington an impressive showing for Mike Jackson/Callum Crowe, the next F2 Cup placing went to that of Paul Riley/Shaun Parker Fine Cut Develepments, qualifying third in class Stuart Anderson/Phil Gravel, fourth Remnant/Tilley, fifth Ilaria/James and sixth in class Lumley/Whitnell.
Race 1 took place in early evening bright sunshine over ten laps and it was the number seventy two outfit and pole setters Founds/Walmsley leading the way. John and Jake Lowther had moved up to second place with the Ramsdens holding station in third, moving up to fourth position after the first lap were Reeves/Christie, in fifth were wild card entrant Lindley/Bell, sixth place was Gordon Shand/Phil Hyde, in seventh reunited after missing the last round Gary and Daryl Gibson on their newly painted Shelbourne Suzuki and in eight place and the first of the F2 Cup runners Anderson/Gravel, in ninth place overall and second in class Jackson/Crowe and in tenth place Howard Baker/Mike Killingsworth of BK Racing on their Shelbourne Honda. At the end of lap two Lindley/Bell had moved in to fourth place ahead of Reeves/Christie, Anderson/Gravel had moved ahead of the Gibsons in to seventh place, Sean Hegarty/James Neave on their Baker Honda had moved in to thirteenth position from the back of the grid and were making their way through the field. This lap saw the retirement of Crawford/Farrance due to technical/handling issues which was to plague them all weekend. At the end of lap three it was Founds/Walmsley three seconds ahead of Lowther/Lowther who in turn were just 0.8s ahead of the Ramsdens, Reeves/Christie had moved back up to fourth position with Lindley/Bell in fifth and Shand/Hyde in sixth. In the F2 Cup it was still Anderson/Gravel holding station seventh overall, with Jackson/Crowe second in class and ninth position just 1.5s back on the F2 cup leaders. in third place in the F2 class Ilaria/James followed by ten outfits chasing them down all in the F2 Cup. With four of ten laps completed the Gibsons had moved in to seventh place , Wallis/Hardie of Team Petpals had moved up to ninth and Hegarty/Neave were now in tenth place. Another father and son team Dean and Ben Dickinson on their Shelbourne Suzuki had moved ahead of the current F2 Cup championship leaders Nicky Dukes/William Moralee to slot in to seventeenth position overall and seventh in class. At half race distance the Gibsons had moved ahead of Shand/Hyde in sixth and recording their fastest time of the race. The pairing of Hegarty/Neave had moved up to eigth place. We had a new F2 Cup leader with the retirement of Anderson/Gravel it was now Jackson/Crowe leading the F2 cup teams with Ilaria/James moving up to second and Riley/Parker slotted in to third place with just 2.5s separating the top three runners in the F2 Cup. At the end of lap ten it was Founds/Walmsley recording their fourth win out of five 11.5 s ahead of second place and recording their best ever placing in the British Championship John and Jake Lowther with Steve and Matty Ramsden securing the final podium place. In the F2 Cup Michael Jackson and Callum Crowe took their maiden win, followed by another second placing for Brian Ilaria and Jody James and a first podium this season in class for Paul Riley and Shaun Parker.
Before the FSRA race began on the Sunday, in the NG club race there was a start line incident involving Paul Riley/Shaun Parker and Peter Alton/Keith Brotherton. From everyone at the FSRA we send best wishes to Keith for a speedy recovery and give thanks to the marshals, medics and NG staff that attended the incident.
Just after 1610 on Sunday afternoon in sunny conditions twenty three sidecars took to the grid and after lap two of twelve would be reduced to twenty two with the retirement of wild card entrant Lindley/Bell. It was Founds/Walmsley leading the way with Crawford/Farrance just one second behind and their team mates Lowther/Lowther in third with all three teams down to 1:15s. In the F2 Cup it was Anderson/Gravel leading the class from Jackson/Crowe and Ilaria/James in third. At quarter race distance Founds/Walmsley lead the way by three seconds to the Lowther Brothers and Steve and Matty Ramsden in third. The pairing of Crawford/Farrance had dropped back to fifth place, holding off the Gibsons in sixth and chasing down Reeves/Christie in fourth place. At the end of lap five of twelve Founds/Walmsley extended their lead to 5.673s putting in a lap time of 1:14.849, the Lowther brothers were just 0.271s ahead of the Ramsdens in third. There was a new class leader in the F2 cup with race one winners Jackson/Crowe (9th) going ahead of Anderson/Gravel (10th) who was just 0.3s ahead of Ilaria/James . At half race distance Founds/Walmsley`s lead had gone out to eight seconds shaving another tenth of their lap time to 1:14.782. The pairing of Crawford/Farrance in fifth had took 1.5s out of 4th place Reeves/Christie and the gap was down to 2.5s. In the F2 cup Jackson/Crowe had extended their lead over Anderson/Gravel by registering their fastest lap of the race 1:18.408s some two seconds quicker than their closest rivals, the pairing of Ilaria/James were still in third but just 0.068s behind the second place pairing of Anderson/Gravel. With seven laps completed Ilaria/James moved up to second in class registering their fastest lap 1:18.167 and were now chasing down Jackson/Crowe.With eight completed laps the gap between Reeves/Christie and Crawford/Farrance was down to just 1.227s for fourth place. Jackson/Crowe recorded their fastest lap so far to 1;18.300 and currently held a 4.390s lead over Ilaria/James and could Lumley/Whitnell hold third just 0.843s ahead of Remnant/Tilley. At the end of lap ten the lap record went, Founds/Walmsley recording a lap time of 1:14.636s and with it had increased their lead to 11.893s. The team of Crawford/Farrance were now just 0.341s behind the fourth place pairing of Reeves/Christie. The sidecar pairing of Ralph Remnant/Samantha Tilley had moved in to the final podium position in the F2 cup. So after twelve completed laps Reeves/Christie held off Crawford/Farrance by 0.048s to take fourth position and get their campaign up and running. A new lap record, a double win for Founds/Walmsley in the Super F2 Class and with winning the second sidecar race were awarded the Bill Boddice trophy which was presented by nine times TT winner Mick Boddice and a double win for Jackson/Crowe with the latter finishing in seventh position overall.
Congratulations to all teams for putting on two fantastic races.
Current championship standings Super F2 Cup
Current championship standings F2 Cup
There will now be an eleven week break until the next round 29th/30th July on the coastal circuit of Anglesey whilst teams head off to the Isle of Man for the TT races and the Southern 100 so on behalf of the FSRA I would like to send good luck to all teams taking part.
FSRA Press Officer