The 2022 F.S.R.A. / Wintec Racing
Pre-Injection Sidecar Championship
Round 1 - Oulton Park - Wirral 100
Saturday 23rd April
Words - Marianne Walford
Photographs - John Lockett
It was good to see a large turnout for the first round of the championship at a dry but breezy Oulton Park on 23rd April with the Wirral 100 MCC. With threatening grey clouds for the timed practice, it seemed possible that there could be rain, but luckily only a couple of drops fell and later on the day became sunny, if still rather chilly.
Practice went smoothly for most teams, with the notable exception of F2 favourites Simon Horton / Jordan Forrest whose engine blew up and they were out for the day. Dave Tibbles had fitted new brakes over the winter, and they weren’t as good as expected, so he and Raitch Greenwood lined up for the first race with a plan to take it a bit easier than usual.
On the immaculately prepared Baker Thundercat, Rob Fisher / Sarah Stokoe elected to ride for no points as they are not contesting the championship this year but took their usual lead from the start along to the finish. In the F2 class Kieran Clarke / Alan Cracknell made a good start, chased by Liam Saunders / Ben Stell, Wesley Pettman / Tom Dawkins, Andrew Bingham / Steve Dalton, father and son Bill & Nick Roberts, Gerald Hodgson / Dave Williams, Dave Crawford / Dave Baxter, brothers Gary & Neil Davenport and Derek Salleh with 16-year-old Jack Fairhurst making his debut. There was disappointment for Bob Dawson / Sarah Hulme who didn’t complete a lap.
As the race settled down, Bingham / Dalton made progress through the field, and achieved maximum points to lead the F2 championship after the first race. They were very pleased, as this was Bingham’s first time at Oulton Park and Dalton’s first ever race. Not so good for Clarke / Cracknell who retired after three laps and the Roberts after five. Saunders / Stell had a good ride to second place, with Pettman / Dawkins holding on to third in class. Fourth was the senior crew of Crawford and 73-year-old Baxter, ahead of Hodgson / Williams, the Davenports and Salleh / Fairhurst.
The F1 runners Mark Burns / Steve Winfrow were next, followed by Steve Brooks / Samantha Hesbrook who were getting used to the power and handling of the ex-Joe Heys 1100 Kawasaki. Gary Fairhurst / Billy Andrews, with the same 1100 Kawasaki engine, made a poor start and had a slight grass excursion, but stayed ahead of Dave Tibbles / Raitch Greenwood, followed by Steve Alexander / Amanda Mason. George McMahon / Mick Ranson retired after 4 laps. Brooks / Hesbrook had a good race making up a couple of places to take the F1 honours. Fairhurst / Andrews came in second, just 0.8 seconds ahead of Burns / Winfrow in third, then a 28 second gap to Tibbles / Greenwood, with Alexander / Mason gaining their first points of the season.
Late in the afternoon, a slightly depleted grid formed up for the second race. As before, non-contenders Fisher / Stokoe were in a class of their own, finishing 29 seconds ahead of Saunders / Stell. They had got a good start and maintained their first position for the entire race, ahead of Dawson / Hulme, Pettman / Dawkins, the Davenports, the Roberts, Hodgson / Williams, Crawford / Baxter and Salleh / Fairhurst. Bingham / Dalton’s early success was not to be repeated, and there was also disappointment for Crawford / Baxter who went out on lap 3 with a gear selector problem and Salleh / Fairhurst who retired after 4 laps.
Burns / Winfrow led the F1 field away from the start, hotly pursued by Tibbles / Greenwood, Brooks / Hesbrook and Fairhurst / Andrews. Again Brooks / Hesbrook made progress and took maximum points to lead the championship at the end of the day. Fairhurst / Andrew, Burns / Winfrow, Tibbles / Greenwood and Alexander / Mason all repeated their race one positions.