The 2017 A.C.U. / F.S.R.A.
British F2 Sidecar Championship
Incorporating The F2 Cup
Round 4 - Anglesey - Wirral 100
Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th July
Words - Mark Dennis
Photographs - Dirk Wharton
The fourth round of the 2017 A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. British F2 Sidecar Championship took place this past weekend after an eleven week break, on the 1.55 mile coastal circuit of Anglesey. This round would see the F2 Cup championship lead change hands and mixed fortunes for Peter Founds / Jevan Walmsley.
A ten lap free practice in the morning saw thirty six sidecars take to the circuit, including the F.S.R.A. F350 / Post Classic / Pre-Injection classes, the Wirral 100 sidecar club runners and the F.S.R.A. British F2 sidecars. With between eight and ten laps of practice under their belts, it was back to the paddock to make any changes before qualifying.
Just before qualifying took place all thirty six sidecars took to the circuit for a memorial lap as a tribute to the late Roy Hawkins.
There were twenty one sidecars out for qualifying at a very blustery Trac Mon, and this would indeed affect the qualifying times as a comparison to last year. Seven of the top eleven teams achieved their fastest lap on lap four, and on pole for the fourth constecutive time it was the LCR Rowtec Suzuki of Peter Founds / Jevan Walmsley with a time of 1:14.154, just 0.2s adrift was the LCR Honda of Ramsden Racing Steve and Matty Ramsden. In third place was a very surprised Conrad Harrison / Andy Winkle on their Printer Rolling Services Bellas Honda with a time of 1:15.199. Securing fourth position on lap seven were Lee Crawford / Scott Hardie on their LCR Suzuki of Team ARC with a time of 1:15.238 just 0.038s behind. Sean Hegarty / James Neeve of Hegarty Racing on their Baker Honda were fifth, recording their quickest time of 1:15.573 on lap four; and making up the top six were the first of the F2 Cup competitors - from the Isle of Man Mike Jackson / Callum Crowe registered a time of 1:16.408.
This years times for the top two were over a second down on last year and it showed just how blustery the conditions were around the circuit with a strong head wind down the back straight lowering top speeds.
So onto race one, which took place just a couple of hours after qualifying at 1630. Agonisingly for Harrison/Winkle, they suffered a rear flat tyre on the formation lap so were forced to retire on the startline.
It was the pole setters Founds / Walmsley who led the chasing pack into turn one, and at the end of lap one of twenty, Hegarty / Neave had climbed two places to third. The Lowther Brothers - John and Jake had also gained two places up into fifth on their Team ARC sponsored LCR Honda and were chasing down their team mates Crawford / Hardie in fourth place. Holding station in sixth and the leading F2 Cup team were Jackson / Crowe, currently second in the F2 Cup, and were looking to gain ground on the F2 Cup championship leaders Team Powerhouse's Brian Ilaria / Jody James who were down in eighth place in the Cup, and fourteenth overall after starting back on row ten. Moving up three places and in second place in the F2 Cup were “wild cards” Kev Thornton / Dave Dean on their LCR Suzuki and completing the top three, Nicky Dukes / William Moralee. Also moving up three places on the leaderboard were Ralph Remnant / Samantha Tilley on their Lumley Kawasaki, making it inside the overall top ten.
At the end of lap two, Dukes / Moralee had passed Thornton / Dean into second place in the Cup, while Ilaria / James had dropped back to eighteenth position. On the completion of lap three, Paul Downes / David Hainsworth on their MR Equipe Suzuki had gone ahead of the “wild card” team of Peter Millington / Helen Deeley, similarly mounted on an MR Equipe, slotting into fourteenth and fifteen places.
After lap six it was the Founds / Walmsley pairing who were still leading the Ramsdens by around 0.5s, but then they both encountered back markers and this worked in favour of Founds / Walmsley who had increased their lead to two seconds by the end of lap seven. By this point of the race, Crawford / Hardie had moved ahead of Hegarty/Neeve into third place.
At the close of the next lap, Founds / Walmsley recorded the fastest time of the race with a 1:14.068, and moved 2.475s ahead of the Ramdsens. The husband and wife team of Giles and Jen Stainton - Team SAS - aboard their LCR Suzuki named “Alan” after the previous owner (Alan Founds) had moved into fifth place in the F2 Cup and twelfth position overall, relegating Richard Lumley / Ray Whitnall on their Lumley Engineering Kawasaki to sixth in class.
At the end of lap nine, the gap between the leading pairings had fallen to 1.279s. There was also a significant change in the F2 Cup, with Remnant / Tilley slotting into third place, and ninth overall. The positions stayed as they were until the end of lap fourteen, when Hegarty / Neave went gone ahead of Crawford / Hardie to take third place. The leaders, Founds / Walmsley had opened up a 3.7s lead and could this be six wins out of seven?
The pairing of Crawford / Hardie retired on lap sixteen promoting the Lowther Brothers - John and Jake - into fourth place and Team Petpals Dave Wallis / Ashley Moore on their LCR Suzuki into the top five.
Starting the twentieth and final lap, Founds / Walmsley held a lead of almost eight seconds over the Ramsdens, and as so often after twenty laps around this coastal course something untoward occurred! As the chequered flag came out it was the father and son pairing of Steve and Matty Ramsden who took the win, finishing 5.658s ahead of second placed Sean Hegarty / James Neave, recording their best result in the championship so far this season. The final podium place went to John Lowther / Jake Lowther. Fourth place were Wallis / Moore; fifth overall and first F2 Cup team, saw a great result for Mike Jackson / Callum Crowe. Limping home in sixth position were Peter Founds / Jevan Walmsley - an inspection from the Clerk of the Course found they had broken trail plate on their front forks. In seventh place, and second in the Cup were Nicky Dukes / William Moralee; in eighth position and the third Cup runners were Ralph Remnant / Samantha Tilley. In ninth were the first of the wild cards, Kev Thornton / Dave Dean and making up the top ten Giles and Jen Stainton.
The weather forecast for Sunday had promised all week that rain was forecast, however it remained dry throughout and so onto race two. This took place at 1430 also in blustery, but thankfully dry conditions. It was the Founds / Walmsley pairing who led into the first corner, with Harrison / Winkle second and Hegarty/Neave third, both relegating the Ramsdens to fourth.
At the end of lap two, Crawford / Hardie went ahead of their team mates John and Jake Lowther pushing them down to fourth. In the F2 Cup, it was once again Jackson / Crowe leading the way with Dukes / Moralee in second and Lumley / Whitnall in third.
On the completion of lap four, the Ramsdens had slotted into third place at the expense of Hegarty / Neave, and Thornton / Dean had moved into third in the Cup ahead of Lumley / Whitnall.
There was no change in positions until the completion of lap eleven, which saw Steve and Matty Ramsden move into second place ahead of Harrison/Winkle and by this time, Founds/Walmsley had opened up an eight second lead. This is how the positions remained at the chequered flag. In the F2 Cup it was Remnant / Tilley taking the points for third as Thornton / Dean and John Shipley / Jon Saidi were entered as wildcards.
The F.S.R.A. would like to give thanks to the Wirral 100 club for hosting us this weekend and also an extended thanks to the Medics and Marshalls for giving up their time.