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British F2 Sidecar Championship Round Seven Preview: Mallory Park
Monday September 16, 2019 at 10:27am
The penultimate round of the ACU / F.S.R.A. British F2 Sidecar Championship takes place at Mallory Park over the weekend of 21st and 22nd September. At the previous round – Castle Combe, Pete Founds and stand-in passenger Jake Lowther took a double win on their LCR Suzuki to land Team Founds an unprecedented fourth consecutive British Championship title. All being well, Founds should have Jevan Walmsley back alongside him at Mallory Park, having recovered from a minor foot injury sustained at Croft in August. John Lowther / Tom Christie (LCR Honda), were sitting comfortably in second position in the standings prior to round six, however, a mechanical problem ruled them out of race two at Castle Combe, and they now hold just a single point advantage over Sean Hegarty / James Neave (Baker Honda), who are enjoying a hugely successful second half of the season. They took their maiden series win at Croft, and have secured seven podium finishes so far this year. Lee Crawford / Scott Hardie (LCR Suzuki) have had a largely frustrating season – in the races they have made it to the chequered flag, they have not finished any lower than second – but mechanical issues have dogged their campaign. Indeed, at Castle Combe, they were leading the second race before their chain jumped the front sprocket, forcing them into retirement at half distance. While Conrad Harrison / Andy Winkle (Bellas Honda) were unable to attend the previous round, they are expected to return to the action at Mallory – a circuit where they are always in contention for a podium finish. The F2 Cup is once again proving an interesting spectacle. Current series leader Simon Robinson (LCR Suzuki) has utilised the services of Mick Fairhurst for much of the season, although he sustained minor injuries to his hand at Croft, and may well be forced to miss Mallory Park. Rob Child deputised at Castle Combe, and is likely to do so once again. This pairing shared a win and a second place with Rob Atkinson / Mark Middleton (Bellas Suzuki), and it would be no surprise to see these two teams lead the way again at Mallory Park. Enjoying a strong run of form in third place in the F2 Cup are Brian Ilaria / Olly Lace (DDM Suzuki) – Brian was very much a regular competitor at Mallory Park with the E.M.R.A. club for a number of years, and they are likely to be at the front end once again what is considered the team's “home circuit”. 2019 has seen no fewer than five new lap records set in the Super F2 category at F.S.R.A. organised events, including Croft, which had stood for two decades! Simon Neary and Stuart Bond have held the fastest lap on the configuration of Mallory Park (including the “Bus Stop” and “Edwina's”) for twelve years, but if weather conditions permit, this could well be under threat this time around. In last year's visit to Mallory Park, there was a win for Founds / Walmsley, who had to overhaul the Lowther brothers, who were the early leaders in the opening race. Race two saw an impressive charge from the very back of the grid from Crawford / Hardie, who took the win from Founds / Walmsley. Hegarty / Neave took third in both outings. In the Cup, there were wins for Ralph Remnant / Sam Tilley and Daryl Gibson / Ashley Moore, with Kevin and Steve Morgan runners-up in both outings. Both twenty lap races were held in blisteringly hot weather, this being earlier in the season on the opening weekend of May – the first days of the seemingly endless heatwave of 2018! The F2 Sidecar lap records for Mallory Park are: Super F2 – Simon Neary / Stuart Bond – 0:55.351 – 07/10/07 F2 Cup – Tony Elmer / Darren Marshall – 0:56.02 – 11/09/05 As well as the ACU / F.S.R.A. British F2 Sidecar Championship rounds, there are also races for the F.S.R.A. / Lane Building Services Pre-Injection Sidecar Championship over the weekend – they will be taking to the circuit alongside the E.M.R.A. club sidecars. After racing concludes on Saturday evening, sidecars will be taking to the circuit again, offering ever-popular charity “Taxi Rides” to the public. All taxi rides must be pre-booked at the race office before 3pm on Saturday. A minimum donation of £25 is required for two laps, with all proceeds being split between the Mallory Park Medical Centre and the Air Ambulance. Participants must be 16 years of age or older, and have full protective clothing (leathers, boots, helmet, gloves etc). Thanks go to East Midlands Racing Association - and the ACU, plus all the F.S.R.A. series sponsors for their continued invaluable assistance, those being: A.R.C. Binchester; A.V. Craine & Son; Hegarty Plant; Lockside Engineering; Pagid Racing; Rowtec Ltd; Whitby Cottages and Yorkshire Engine Supplies. Tim Langham – F.S.R.A. Press Officer Photographs – Dirk Wharton