The A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. Formula Two Sidecar Championship enters it's thirty fifth running in 2019, and an enthralling year of racing is on the cards - with thirty six teams registered to compete (the largest number for over a decade).
Firstly, I would like to show appreciation for the valued assistance of our series sponsors, those being: The A.C.U., A.R.C. of Binchester, A.V. Craine and Sons (Isle of Man), Yorkshire Engine supplies, Whitby Cottages, Lockside Engineering, Rowtec Engineering Maintenance, Hegarty Plant Ltd and Breitenbach Pagid Racing.
The championship will be contested over eight meetings, with two points scoring races held at each event. North Gloucester Road Racing Club will be hosting the first two rounds – the opener being at Snetterton on the 12th - 14th April, the first time in six years that the series has featured at the Norfolk venue. Four weeks later, will see a visit to Donington Park on the weekend of 11th and 12th May, before a six week break to accommodate the Isle of Man TT Races.
The second annual “International Sidecar Revival” at Cadwell Park on the 22nd and 23rd June is the setting for round three – this event, organised by B.M.C.R.C. proved to be a fantastic spectacle in 2018. The F.S.R.A. F2 series is a new addition to the line up for this year, which also includes rounds of the “R.K.B. F1 Championship”, and European “Camathias Cup” classic sidecars, and parades of legendary competitors and machinery. This is sure to be one of the highlights of the year for all sidecar enthusiasts.
The season gathers momentum in August, firstly as the teams head for Anglesey with Wirral 100 (3rd and 4th). This is followed by the popular “Battle of Britain” meeting at Croft a fortnight later (17th and 18th), which sees racing for machines with two, three and four wheels. The month is rounded off with the popular “Grand National” meeting at Castle Combe with N.G. (31st August and 1st September), which traditionally sees some of the largest crowds of spectators at any club meeting held in the U.K. The “business end” of the season involves visits to Mallory Park (21st and 22nd September) hosted by E.M.R.A., followed by the season finale at Oulton Park, again with N.G. on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th September.
Starting as favourites for the 2019 A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. British F2 Sidecar Championship once again are Peter Founds / Jevan Walmsley. In 2018, they joined an “exclusive club” of those who have won a “hat trick” of British F2 titles, and became only the second team to win three consecutive championships (the first being Tom Hanks / Steve Wilson from 1997 – 1999). Founds and Walmsley can make history this year, if they continue their remarkable run of form and win an unprecedented fourth title.
Last year's runners up, Lee Crawford / Scott Hardie will be looking to “go one better” this time around. The “Team A.R.C.” pairing had their best year to date in 2018, winning the same number of races as Founds / Walmsley, but several “non-finishes” put a severe dent in their title chase. Should the Anglo-Scots pair gain the same level of consistency as that of their rivals, they are undoubtedly capable of ending the season as genuine championship contenders.
Third place in last year's standings went the way of John / Jake Lowther, with their best performance at British Championship level to date. John will have Sarah Stokoe on board this year, who has proven herself an extremely capable passenger, indeed taking a podium place with John at Donington Park in 2018 when deputising for Jake. They will be looking to defend (or improve) this position in the coming year, but will face stern competition from the likes of Steve / Matty Ramsden; Sean Hegarty / James Neave; 2018 F2 Cup victors Daryl Gibson / Ashley Moore; Conrad Harrison / Andy Winkle and Mike Jackson / Ben Binns to name just a few who are capable of consistently running in the top six.
A notable inclusion to the line up this year is seventeen times Isle of Man T.T. winner Dave Molyneux, ably assisted by Harry Payne. Molyneux placed third in the British F2 Championship back in 1994, and has taken seven British Championship podium placings (including four wins) in the past. The pairing competed in the final round of 2018 at Oulton Park as “Wild Card” entrants, and were immediately on the pace, taking a fine third place finish. Molyneux / Payne are one of four Manx-based teams competing this year – two newcomer pairings to the series being Darren Hope / Lenny Bumfrey and Craig Melvin / Stuart Christian.
The F2 Cup was won in dominant fashion in 2018 by Daryl Gibson / Ashley Moore, and they, along with runners up Ralph Remnant / Samantha Tilley graduate to the “Super F2” class this year, both teams having finished comfortably in the top ten of the overall “Super F2” standings last term.
Twenty two teams will be eligible to score points in the “F2 Cup” this year, and this should provide some exciting (and unpredictable) racing. Established F2 Cup teams include: Chris Schofield / Lee Edwards; Brian Ilaria / Olly Lace; Nicky Dukes / William Moralee; Richard Lumley / Ray Whitnall and Giles / Jen Stainton, all of whom have featured on the F2 Cup podium in recent events. However, newcomers to the series who will undoubtedly provide tough opposition to the regulars include: Simon Robinson / Phil Gravel (who won multiple championships in Scotland last year); 2018 F.S.R.A. Pre-Injection champions John Shipley jnr / Milo Ward; Michael Kirkup / Arlo Brown, and returnees Rob Atkinson / Mark Middleton.
The A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. British F2 Sidecar Championship has enjoyed something of an upturn in fortunes over the last few seasons. A total of seven newcomer teams join the fray in 2019, with a further two pairings returning after a year or more away. There are already enquiries from non-registered combinations seeking of the availability of “Wild Card” entries, so it seems we can look forward to full grids and fantastic racing all year!
For full details of the registered riders, and for all information relating to the championship please visit the F.S.R.A. Website
On behalf of the F.S.R.A., I would like to extend a warm welcome to all registered teams, and wish all competitors and their personnel a safe, successful and enjoyable year's racing. We look forward to seeing you all at Snetterton in April.
F.S.R.A. Press Officer / Website Administrator