Words - Dave Tibbles
Photographs - Dirk Wharton / Haydn Wyatt
The opening round of the 2019 F.S.R.A. / Lane Building Services Pre-Injection Sidecar Championship took place on Sunday 7th April at Mallory Park. Both races were dominated by former champions, Rob Fisher / Rick Long, returning to the series following an absence of almost two full seasons. However, impressing greatly was sixteen-year-old Matthew Sims, taking a fine third place in the Trophy race as passenger to Hayley Christie in his first competitive outing.
Matthew, having watched and assisted his dad and brother competing for the previous two Pre-Injection campaigns had long awaited the moment when he too would be able to take part, and having only recently turned sixteen, and completed the necessary licensing qualifications, has teamed up with Hayley Christie. Together they battled with (and beat) family members Jody and Reece to gaining not just a trophy and overall third place in the F.S.R.A. / Lane Building Services Feature Race.
Wesley Pettman / Anthony Hilidge this year have fitted an increased capacity “Thundercat” - 720cc - meaning they stepped from the F2 class to the F1. This paid off, winning the F1 Trophy Race. (The class is now split into F2 – up to 350cc 2-strokes / up to 600cc 4-strokes and F1 – all other machines, following motions passed by F.S.R.A. members at the 2018 A.G.M.)
Combined with the E.M.R.A. club's opening club sidecar grids made for being an oversubscribed event, and unfortunately not all teams with late entries were able to get a ride. (A reminder to competitors in all events to submit entries before the closing date to avoid disappointment).
As well as welcoming back the 2016 Pre-Injection championship winners Rob Fisher / Rick Long, two new teams were also making their series debut. Nigel Thomas / Dylan Weston (350 Shelbourne Yamaha) and Lee Chadwick / Steven Fairclough (1000 Yamaha).
Fisher / Long (600 Baker Yamaha) quickly took control of the Pre-Injection class and cruised to the win, finishing by a slender 0.01 seconds behind the overall race winners Andy King / Andrew Sigsworth on their fuel-injected 600 Ireson Honda. Chasing King / Sigsworth, Fisher / Long set the fastest lap time of the day - 58.436 seconds.
Second in the Pre-Injection were brothers John and Doug Chandler (600 Ireson Yamaha). There was a race long battle for third throughout the race with the 600 Derbyshire Yamaha of father and son combination Jody and Reece Sims and Dave Tibbles / Raitch Greenwood (1100 FJ Yamaha), with big fourstroke outfit just edging it on the final lap.
Visiting the Preinjection series before they start their British Championship campaign were Mark Burns / Steve Winfrow (900 Baker Honda), coming home as the second placed F1 Pre-Injection machine, narrowly holding off Christie / Sims. Andy and Jo Thomas (600 MRE Yamaha) had their best race for a while, just crossing the line in front of Ian Sutcliffe / Rob Bryant (600 Jacobs Yamaha). Next up came Pettman / Hildige (720 Windle Yamaha) taking third in the F1 class, with Thomas / Weston (350 Shelbourne Yamaha), new partnership Alan Longshaw / Derek Salleh (600 Baker Yamaha), the all ladies team of Marianne Walford / Jan Tyrell (600 Baker Yamaha), and the F1 of Steve Alexander / Steve Woolcott (1000 Broadstock Kawasaki) completing the finishing order.
Race Two: Lane Building Services Trophy Race
Race two saw the same top two teams – Fisher / Long and the Chandler brothers – finish in that order once again. The Chandlers had some close encounters with the Sims in the early stages, before easing out a small buffer. However, Christie / M. Sims were improving their laptimes and by half distance were challenging their “team mates”, before making a move and setting off in pursuit of the Chandlers. There was insufficient time remaining to pull further up the leaderboard, but Christie / Sims took a well deserved third place, with Matthew beating off his dad and brother!
The Thomas pairing found two seconds to improve on their previous fastest, taking fifth. The first five places were all F2 outfits, with the first Pre-Injection F1 crossing the line next – Pettman / Hilidge, then Tibbles / Burns. Minor issues confined the machines of Longshaw / Salleh and Thomas / Weston to early retirements.
The meeting had all the right ingredients – clean, close racing and good weather. E.M.R.A. And Mallory Park were welcoming as always, and the continued friendly rivalry on circuit and and atmosphere of the Pre-Injection sidecar Championship has continued from last year. The championship split? It is still early days. Last year’s front running teams who were campaigning big engined outfits have moved on to other championships, which saw low F1 entries for this round. But the F2 class has become closer, particularly in the middle order, and in terms of competing with the F1 outfits. A final word to Matthew (Sims). Well done – and did your teacher start the week with “now children what did you do this weekend “ and did you take in your trophy to school on Monday?
A big thank you to our sponsors Adrian Lane building services, Pagid brakes and the FSRA.
The fifty pounds per meeting provided by Pagid brakes was won by Marianne Walford.
Round Two of the F.S.R.A. / Lane Building Services Pre-Injection Sidecar Championship is: Oulton Park - Saturday 27th April.