Sleaford F1 Sidecar driver with Scottish passenger Jimmy Connell travelled to Brands Hatch for the season finale of the British F1 Sidecar championship where the two races attracted double points. Gary and Jimmy scored a strong 10th place in race one and eighth in the second encounter to xo plate their season in an overall position of eighth on 156 points.
After qualifying in seventh place Gary and Jimmy were due to start the first 10 lap encounter from the fourth row but a problem on the warm up lap forced them to start the race from pit lane joining the rest of the 31 strong grid as they passed the end of the straight.
Gary's visor came off during the warm up lap and he had to pull into the pits for Jimmy to push it back into place and consequently when the lights went out for the start of the race Gary and Jimmy were forced to play catchup following in hot pursuit from a pit lane start.
Undeterred, Gary got his foot down and the pair powered the LCR Suzuki through from 31st to 21st on the opening lap picking up an incredible 10 places. On lap two they were up to 18th and one lap later circulating in 15th. Over the next three laps they made their way through to 10th position but were unable to move further forward as the group ahead were over 14 seconds ahead and with just a few laps remaining they had to be satisfied with 10th place at the chequered flag.
Gary commented: "it was just one of those things but we got there in the end. It was a bit hairy coming through the pack from the back but we managed without a mishap and we are now placed on row five for the start of the second race later today so we should be ok."
The second race was held over to Sunday because of problems in the solo classes and when the riders took their grid position it was in wet and slippery conditions. Gary and Jimmy rode a steady race to bring the outfit home in eighth place to claim a further 16 championship points.
Gary said: "As I have already sold my engines I took it steady in that race because it is wet and slippery in some places and more grip in others. I didn't want to risk a crash and wreck the engines!! But we did OK in the end and have finished the season within the top 10 which is what we were aiming for. I have to thank all my sponsors for their support again this year and special thanks to Jimmy for being such a great passenger again this year. I have bought some new Suzuki engines from another competitor who is going 600 next year. The engines are a better spec than the ones I ran this year and considerably faster so hopefully we will be even more competitive next year."
pic credit Dave Yeomans