Almost perfect conditions proved a thankful contrast to that of round two, as teams headed to Donington Park for the third installment of the F.S.R.A. / Lane Building Services Pre-Injection Sidecar Championship, hosted by N.G.R.R.C.
In the F2 class, Rob Fisher, with regular passenger Rick Long back in the chair took their 600 Baker Thundercat to a hat-trick of victories to claim maximum points finishing first on the road in all three races. Next up, and also sealing three wins in the F1 class were Joe Heys / Gary Wheeler (1200 Heys Kawasaki), in what is Joe's fiftieth season of racing!
For the first time this season both the A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. British Championship and the Pre-Injection Sidecar Championships both appeared at the same event, and were joined too by the N.G. club sidecar teams - filling Paddock Three with a total of fifty-eight outfits, which proved a hugely entertaining weekend for enthusiasts and followers of our chosen passion. Ten F2 and six F1 combinations gave a total of sixteen Pre-Injection teams - the largest turn out so far this year.
Pre-Injection Race 1 – F2 (Saturday)
Rob Fisher / Rick Long took a convincing victory, demonstrating not only their riding capability, but also their impeccable preparation, setting a standard all others can only aspire to. The chasing F2 pack however were incredibly closely matched in this encounter. Jody and Reece Sims (600 Derbyshire Yamaha took second, with their team-mates Hayley Christie / Matthew Sims (600 Windle Yamaha) taking the final podium place. Less than a second behind and claiming fourth were brothers John and Doug Chandler (600 Ireson Yamaha). Alan Longshaw / Derek Salleh (600 Ireson Thundercat) just held onto fifth place from sixth placed Andy and Joanne Thomas (600 MRE Thundercat). The new all ladies pairing of Marianne Walford / Janet Tyrell (600 Baker Thundercat) finished seventh.
Pre-Injection Race 1 - F1 (Saturday)
Crossing the line just behind Fisher / Long came F1 class winners, Joe Heys / Gary Wheeler. In second, sporting the colours of their new sponsors “Wintec Racing” were Wes Pettman / Andy Haynes (720 Windle Yamaha). Taking the third place F1 were the two Steves - Alexander and Woolcott – (1000 Broadstock Kawasaki). Unfortunately in a race of attrition, the other three F1 outfits retired with mechanical failures, ensuring they would have to endure a few hours fettling their machines before retiring to the bar!
Pre-Injection Race 2 – F2 (Sunday)
It was another for Fisher / Long, but this time the Brothers Chandler worked hard to take second place, after a close scrap with both of the Graphic Racing outfits. Third place went to the father and son Sims pairing, followed home by Christie / Sims; Thomas / Thomas; Longshaw / Salleh and Walford / Tyrell.
Pre-Injection Race 2 – F1 (Sunday)
Successful repairs overnight boosted the F1 grid back to full strength, with all entered teams back on track. Heys / Wheeler once again dominated in this section. Simon Horton / Paul Bailey (1100 Wintec Yamaha) put a disappointing opening day behind them to take second place, demoting team mates Pettman / Haynes to the bottom step of the podium. Dave Tibbles / Raitch Greenwood (1100 FJ Yamaha) and Lee Chadwick / Steve Fairclough (1000 R1 Yamaha) finished fourth and fifth. A coming together with another machine forced Alexander / Woolcott to retire during the race.
Pre-Injection Race 3 – F2 (Sunday)
A perfect record for Fisher / Long to score maximum points once again, Christie / Sims were the third different runners up in the class in as many races! Sims / Sims were third, with the Chandlers fourth, chased home by Thomas / Thomas; Longshaw / Salleh and Walford / Tyrell.
Pre-Injection Race 3 - F1 (Sunday)
Heys / Wheeler once again are first to the chequered flag, with Team Wintec second and third, repeating their finishing order from earlier in the day: Horton / Bailey clear of Pettman / Haynes. Tibbles / Greenwood also repeated their fourth place finish. Repairs to the body work saw Alexander / Woolcott back on circuit, placing fifth, while teething troubles for Chadwick / Fairclough forced them into retirement as they continue to develop their F1 outfit after racing F2 outfits up until recent times.
Due to the present circumstances at Aintree M.C.R.C., the scheduled fourth championship round on the 15th June has unfortunately had to be cancelled. The next round will now be at East Fortune on the 13th and 14th of July.
Donington Park was an excellent meeting and a great advert for sidecar racing. I have written the reports as separate races but actually both classes all rode to win outright, which resulted in very close racing with F1 and F2 teams swapping and battling for race places, irrespective of their class.
A big thank you to our sponsors - Adrian Lane Building Services, Pagid Brakes and the F.S.R.A.
The fifty pounds raffle, sponsored by Pagid Brakes took place, with the postponed Oulton Park draw won by Billy Pearson, and the Donington Park winner was John Chandler.