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ACU / FSRA British F2 Sidecar Round Six Preview: Castle Combe – Motorcycle Grand National
Tuesday August 27, 2019 at 2:20pm
The action continues in the ACU / F.S.R.A. British F2 Sidecar Championship at Castle Combe as the racing season rapidly heads towards its closing stages, with three events remaining to settle the winners in both the Super F2 and F2 Cup categories. The very fast and bumpy 1.957 mile former airfield circuit offers a unique challenge, with this being the only meeting at the Wiltshire venue for modern racing sidecars this year. This event is always very well supported by competitors and spectators alike – drawing some of the largest crowds of any club meeting in the U.K. It was a weekend of mixed fortunes earlier in the month in the previous round at Croft for the leaders of both the Super F2 – Pete Founds / Jevan Walmsley (LCR Suzuki) and F2 Cup – Simon Robinson / Mick Fairhurst (LCR Suzuki). There was a win a-piece on Saturday, but an incident the following day involving both crews on the opening lap ruled both out of contention. However, Founds / Walmsley still hold a huge 95 point lead in the overall standings, while Robinson / Fairhurst have a 19 point advantage in the F2 Cup. After picking up a minor injury to his heel in the aforementioned misdemeanour, Walmsley will sit out Castle Combe, with the experienced Jake Lowther deputising alongside Founds. Consistent high-scoring points finishes have seen John Lowther / Tom Christie (LCR Honda) move up to a clear second in the table, and following their maiden win in the series last time out at Croft, Sean Hegarty / James Neave (Baker Honda) have edged ahead of Lee Crawford / Scott Hardie (LCR Suzuki). The latter crew have finished no lower than second on the outings they have completed, but have been plagued by unfortunate luck throughout their campaign, and now have Conrad Harrison / Andy Winkle (Bellas Honda) – who have taken three podium finishes in the last four outings – in close company in the standings. Castle Combe will be a new challenge to many of the competitors in the F2 Cup, being a circuit many have yet to visit. Taking the challenge to Robinson / Fairhurst will be Rob Atkinson / Mark Middleton (Bellas Suzuki), Brian Ilaria / Olly Lace (DDM Suzuki) and John Shipley jnr / Milo Ward (LCR Suzuki). The latter lost some ground in the championship chase at Croft, with work commitments having to be prioritised over attending the event. With 150 points still up for grabs, the top three in the standings will most likely be undecided until the final round at Oulton Park. Last year at Castle Combe, Founds / Walmsley sealed the Super F2 title with a round in hand, taking a double win (a similar result for Team Founds would ensure they secure the title once again). They enjoyed a fantastic tussle in the opening encounter with the wild-card pairing of John Holden / Lee Cain, and Crawford and Hardie. The same trio appeared to be heading for the podium in race two, until Crawford's undertray dropped on the penultimate lap, demoting them to fourth behind John and Jake Lowther. In the F2 Cup, champions Daryl Gibson / Ashley Moore won both races from the local pairing of Ralph Remnant / Sam Tilley. The F2 Sidecar lap records for Castle Combe are: Super F2 – Pete Founds / Jevan Walmsley – 01:15.209 – 02/09/18 F2 Cup – Pete Founds / Ashley Hawes – 01:15.800 – 28/06/16 On behalf of the F.S.R.A., may I wish all competitors, teams and spectators a safe and enjoyable weekend. Thanks go to the hosting club - North Gloucester Road Racing Club - 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