Photos show (right) Dwight Beare and Ben Binns winning the Cup class at Oulton Park in April, and (left) Ian and Carl Bell clinching the 2012 Championship at Brands Hatch.
Sidecar Racing lost two great characters at this year’s TT. Australian Dwight had made his TT debut in 2014 and eventually made his home on the IOM and took part in last year’s British Championship, finishing every race – on tracks new to him – and was 16th in the points. This year, he won both Cup classes at Oulton and was lying in 8th place in the Championship, 2nd in the Cup class. Ian competed in the British for 20 years, 9th in his debut year in 1995. Pairing up with Neil Carpenter in 1996, the pair took the Championship in 2002 and 2003, scoring 23 race wins together. After a TT spill the following year, Ian ‘retired’ until returning in 2007 with son Carl in the chair. Further success soon followed with a third title for Ian in 2012. They were lying in 2nd place in this year’s series.
Dwight immediately became a popular figure in the UK paddocks and was undoubtedly a fine prospect for future success on both short circuits and on the roads. Ian was quite simply a legend. A top solo racer, he beat Joey Dunlop at Scarborough and won the 1987 Solo championship at the Southern 100. His sidecar career brought him 3 British titles, a TT win and dozens of race wins. His ever-helpful manner was a major reason he became a very successful businessman. Our sincere condolences to both their families and their friends.
25th & 26th June
Words - Derek Donsworth
Photographs - Haydn Wyatt
The Championship went to the seaside with a weekend visit to the Coastal Circuit of Anglesey’s "Trac Mon". At the close of proceedings, the competitors have now reached the halfway point of this years six round series.
Overcast conditions greeted the competitors for the Saturday's opening practice session, as outfits from the Wirral 100 Club and F.S.R.A. Post Classic / Pre-Injection series along with the British championship outfits took to the circuit. The session was completed without incident. Issues reported afterwards included a handling problem for Crawford / Farrance: adjustment to suspension required, and a slipping clutch for Riley / Parker, which would be replaced after the qualifying session.
The top three fastest time in free practice being;
Ramsden / Ramsden 1:14.916 - 74.48mph
Founds / Walmsley 1:16.062 - 73.36mph
Crawford / Farrance 1:16.140 - 73.28mph
Competitors from all sidecar classes took to the circuit on their machines, headed by the cross of Saint George and the Australian National flag to perform a lap of honour in memory of our fallen friends Ian Bell and Dwight Beare, who we sadly lost in separate incidents at the recent TT Races. Team mechanics and supporters lined the exit to pit lane and the track marshals left their posts to stand trackside as the outfits passed, accompanied by respectful applause from the spectators.
Rain showers before the qualifying session brought tyre choice into question shortly before the designated time slot. Even more so when lunch was called early! Thankfully, the showers passed over and the qualifying session took place shortly after lunch on a damp but drying circuit.
The top three in Qualifying were are follows
Ramsden / Ramsden 1:13.015 - 76.42mph
Founds / Walmsley 1:13.784 - 75.62mph
Crawford / Farrance 1:14.312 - 75.08mph
The race went ahead in dry conditions with Ramsden / Ramsden on pole, leading from the lights with Founds / Walmsley hanging on like a terrier to a rag for the first nine of the twenty lap race! This came to a premature end when a piece of silicon in the fuel filter forced the Founds / Walmsley outfit to retire.
The Lowther brothers made a fast start off the line pulling ahead of Wallis / Belsey and Blackstock / Rosney, getting to the first corner in the three-way battle for position. Blackstock went on to take fourth position in lap two, easing away from the other pairings.
Crawford and Farrance, although slightly off the pace of the top pairings continued in a comfortable third position until the motor cried enough and forced their retirement on lap thirteen.
This left the Ramsden's in a comfortable lead only requiring them to guide the outfit home safely to take the flag.
Battling further down the field included Wallis / Belsey with the Lowthers for third and fourth places. Switching position on more than one occasion.
Wallis making a banzai move on the last lap. The late braking move would have worked if the track had been another 15 feet wider. With Wallis running wide John Lowther retook the position, much to Jake Lowther's amusement!
Dukes / Moralee along with Gibson / Gibson had their own little battle which ran throughout the entire twenty laps. At one point the hard charging Gibson went sideways for safety in a three wheel drift, managing to avoid an excursion onto the damp grass.
Riley / Parker made an error in time management prior to the race, forgetting lunch had been called early. Parker miscalculated the amount of available time to change the clutch and wheels. If it was not for the assistance of Mike "Superstar" Aylott and Emily along with the loan of a replacement clutch from Team A.R.C. they would not have made the race at all. Unfortunately they retired after five laps with an over heating motor.
Roy Hanks commented that alterations would be required to his new seat unit before he could take part in any more track sessions. As he was suffering bruising to his upper arms and the "family jewels"!
Kev Thornton enjoyed the race and commented he will have to push harder in race two.
De Mott / Christie chased Riley / Parker for 10 laps with handling issues, changes being an on going process. "We will give it another go tomorrow" being their comments.
Fastest race laps:
Super - Founds / Walmsley - 1:13.100
Cup - Blackstock / Rosney - 1:14.460
Sundays race was reduced to 16 laps and took place in wet conditions. Thirteen outfits took to the grid and when the lights went out it was Ramsden followed by Crawford with Founds tucked into third as they took the first left. These three held position for the following fourteen laps, the only difference being Founds gradually dropping off the pace of the top two and falling behind by 29 seconds.
The race was red flagged after 14 of the 16 laps. The leading Ramsden's had an unfortunate coming together with Hanks / Perry at the Corkscrew, who were one lap down. This gifted the race win to Crawford / Farrance, with second being taken by Founds / Walmsley, third place being taken by Blackstock / Rosney.
Wallis / Belsey had held onto fourth place for the first laps of the race with Blackstock / Rosney snapping at their heals until they got past on lap 7. They finished only 0.6 of a second behind in their second fourth place of the weekend.
Other notable battles were Thornton / Dean, Gibson / Gibson and De Mott / Christie finishing seventh, eighth and ninth respectively.
Fastest race laps:
Super - Crawford / Farrance - 1:21.003
Cup - Blackstock / Rosney - 1:25.565
Thanks to Anglesey circuit our hosts for the weekend. Wirral100 for their support and a big shout out to all the marshals and medics, we can not do it without you!
With grateful thanks to series sponsors: A.C.U.; A.V. Craine & Sons Ltd; Lockside Engineering; Yorkshire Engine Supplies and Breitenbach Rennsport (Pagid).