The weekend of the 5th and 6th August saw the fifth round of the A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. F2 Sidecar Championship hosted for the second time this season with the Auto 66 Club at Cadwell Park.
After a fifteen minute free practice session in the first part of the morning in dry conditions, it was onto qualifying at 11.00, but there was a wait of some fifteen minutes in the holding area as the recovery vehicles were out on circuit collecting broken down karts. When the session got underway nineteen outfits took to the track and after five minutes it was Team Founds Racing Peter Founds / Jevan Walmsley who set the early pace with a 1:39.028, followed by Printer Roller Services sponsored Conrad Harrison / Andrew Winkle on their Bellas Honda, and making the top three Team A.R.C. of Lee Crawford / Scott Hardie on their LCR Suzuki. In the F2 Cup leading the charge was Nicky Dukes / William Moralee of Team Dynobike on their Baker Honda, with Stuart Anderson / Phil Gravel on their DMR Honda just 0.4s ahead of F2 Cup championship leaders Mike Jackson / Callum Crowe on their Windle Suzuki.
At the halfway stage of qualifying, the pairing of Founds and local lad Walmsley had set a blistering time of 1:38.140, some 1.3s in front of second placed pairing Crawford / Hardie, who had relegated Harrison / Winkle to third by 0.4s, and a second further back were the Lowther brothers John and Jake on their LCR Honda who in turn were just 0.156s ahead of Sean Hegarty / James Neave on their Baker Honda. Meanwhile in the F2 cup it was still Dukes / Moralee but just by 0.321s ahead of Jackson / Crowe, who in turn were just under a second in front of Team Powerhouse Brian Ilaria / Jody James on their DDM Suzuki. With eight minutes left, Steve and Matty Ramsden had slotted in to fifth place on their LCR Honda and Jackson / Crowe had gone ahead of Dukes / Moralee, posting their fastest ever lap around the Cadwell Park circuit of 1.42.786 and qualifying eighth overall.
So onto race one scheduled for 15.45 over ten laps in sunny and dry conditions it was the championship leaders who made a great start and had opened up a 1.477s gap after the first lap, with the Lowther brothers John and Jake moving up two places in to second. Harrison / Winkle were holding station in third, and dropping two positions to fourth were Crawford / Hardie. In the F2 Cup, it was Dukes / Moralee leading the way from Jackson / Crowe, with Anderson / Gravel taking hold of third postion. By the end of lap three, Founds / Walmsley had opened up a 4.5s gap, the pairing of Crawford/Hardie had moved up to third, recording their fastest lap of the race so far. There were also changes in the F2 Cup, with Anderson / Gravel passing Jackson / Crowe, slotting into second.
At the halfway stage, John and Jake Lowther had gone ahead of Harrison / Winkle, and with just 1.5s separating positions three to six; it was anyones guess what the outcome would be for the third position by the end of the race! At the end of lap six Founds / Walmsley set what was to be the fastest lap of the race - 1:38.405 - to open up a 7.778s gap. The pairing of Mike Jackson / Callum Crowe had gone ahead of Stuart Anderson / Philip Gravel and set about chasing down the leading F2 Cup pairing of Nicky Dukes / William Moralee. The Manx pairing moved ahead of the Yorkshiremen on the next lap and recorded their fastest ever time of 1:42.837, taking the lead in the F2 Cup. At the end of lap nine, Harrison / Winkle had overtaken the Lowthers to take third place. It was win number seven of the season for Founds / Walmsley and the fifth consecutive F2 Cup victory for Jackson / Crowe.
The second race of the weekend was over fourteen laps at 14.15 on Sunday afternoon. The aggregate winners over the two legs were to receive the “Steve Norbury Trophy”.
After an eventful opening lap it was Founds / Walmsley leading the way from Harrison / Winkle with Crawford / Hardie in third, and moving up three places to fourth Gordon Shand / Phil Hyde on their Shand Honda. Leading in the F2 Cup and seventh overall were Jackson / Crowe, closely followed by Ilaria / James, with Anderson / Gravel slotting into third.
The positions remained the same until lap ten, when Crawford / Hardie passed Harrison / Winkle, but by this time the championship leaders Founds / Walmsley were already some eighteen seconds clear and recorded the fastest lap of the weekend with 1:38.073. On the very next lap, Founds / Walmsley set their fastest ever lap time around Cadwell with a blistering 1:37.731 and went on to open up a twenty one second gap. There was a real tussle for second place, as Harrison / Winkle had gone back in front of Crawford / Hardie, with the gap just 0.543s between them; with Hegarty / Neave having a great view of this battle, closing in just under 3.5s behind.
By the end of the penultimate lap, Crawford / Hardie once again had got ahead of Harrison / Winkle and Hegarty / Neave had closed the gap to just 1.6s behind this battling duo. Setting their fastest lap of the race on lap fourteen was not quite enough for Sean Hegarty / James Neave as this missed out on the podium by just 0.873s.
So it was season win number eight for Founds / Walmsley, a double of second place finishes for Lee Crawford / Scott Hardie who were thrilled after suffering many non finishers this season; and with a brace of third place finishes, Conrad Harrison / Andrew Winkle. In the F2 Cup and winning the last six races were “birthday boy” Mike Jackson / Callum Crowe, in second Nicky Dukes / William Moralee and third Brian Ilaria / Jody James
The pairing of Founds / Walmsley also retained the Steve Norbury trophy which was presented to them by Steve's father Jim, the proprietor of our sponsors Lockside Engineering.
After five of seven rounds the top three in the championships are as follows:
Founds / Walmsley 218
Ramsden / Ramsden 161
Lowther / Lowther 135
Jackson / Crowe 188
Dukes / Moralee 154
Ilaria / James 148
The F.S.R.A. would like to give thanks to the organising club Auto 66 and to all their marshalls and medics for hosting us this season and we would hope that this relationship can carry on in the seasons to come.
The sixth round of the ACU/FSRA F2 sidecar championship will be held at Mallory Park 9th/10th September.