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PI Croft R1



6TH - 7Th april

Supported by 1st Call Refrigeration

Words - Raitch Greenwood / Photographs - Sid Diggins

Reflecting on this meeting, there were a lot of positives. It has been a long time since I have been on a grid with 30 outfits, a spectacle and far more exciting for us competitors and the spectators.

The Preinjection class is now becoming the majority class of the open sidecar grids.

 There has been improvements and investment at Croft with it now having a new club house.

Strange for me being out on the track was seeing Pat Gallagher’s thirty-seven-year-old Derbyshire GSX 1100 outfit who with his passenger Sean Rooney usually won nearly all the races and championships back in the Post Classic sidecar days. Now Pats grandson Carian with Sean’s son Bryn both novices on the same outfit and going really well, and the cheek nearly caught me on track at this their first meeting, anyway well, done lads.

 The North East Motorcycle Racing club, is a small group of volunteers, they take the financial gamble in putting on this meeting. With costs in the region of fifty-eight thousand pounds for the weekend for track hire and medical cover etc. Last year they made a small profit which the club used to subsidised this year’s event by keeping the entry fee down being the same as last year at £310. Their plans hopefully are to plough any profits made at this year’s meeting into subsidising next year’s event.

The 2024 race season got underway for us as guests of the NEMCRC at Croft circuit on the 6th and 7th of April, and while the wind was strong and constant the weather, for the most part, stayed dry during track-time. The First Call Refrigeration Pre-injection series combined with guests and open sidecars to make a busy starting grid of 32.

Saturday 20th April

Race 1 ended abruptly following a red flag incident involving a driver from the open class and Geoff Knight/Sam Knight from the pre-injection F2 class on their GSR Yamaha. Fortunately, all parties escaped with minimal injuries, but, alas, the Knight’s bike sustained sufficient damage to put them out of the running for the rest of the weekend.

Finishing 1st in the F2 class were Red Gilroy/Alex Ludlow (Windle Thundercat), 2nd place was taken by John Chandler/Derek Salleh (Baker R6), John making a welcome return to the sidecar paddock following a five year break, and coming in 3rd were Steve Woolcott/Tom Saville (Derbyshire 600). In the F1 class 1st place went to Gary Fairhurst/Billy Andrews (Windle Kawasaki), 2nd place to Mark Burns/Jack Fairhurst (LCR Yamaha), and coming in 3rd were George McMahon/Mick Ranson (Shelbourne Suzuki).

Race 2 saw a depleted F2 PI class; having already lost the Knight’s team, Jan Tyrrell/Joanne Thomas (Baker Thundercat) had technical difficulties getting started while Chandler/Salleh discovered a flat chair wheel tyre while in the holding bay. This left Gilroy/Ludlow and Woolcott/Saville to finish, with Gilroy/Ludlow taking 1st place. In the F1 class the top 3 finishers were a repeat of race 1, Dave Tibbles/Raitch Greenwood (DDR Suzuki) and the new team of Ciaran McVey/Bryn Rooney (Derbyshire Suzuki) bringing in 4th and 5th respectively, while Dave Crawford/Taylor Oldroyd (Windle GSXR) suffered a DNF due to engine failure.


Sunday 7th april

Race 3 started with a grid of 26, but with 3 incidents resulting in 3 bikes at various points around the track, a restart race was run after the medical and recovery vehicles had cleared, giving McMahon/Ranson an invaluable second chance following their earlier spin off.

In the F2 class, 1st place went to Gilroy/Ludlow, 2nd place to Woolcott/Saville and, with a 20 second improvement on last years time, 3rd place went to Tyrell/Thomas. The F1 class showed a repeat of previous results; Fairhurst/Andrews 1st, Burns/Fairhurst 2nd, McMahon/Ranson 3rd.

Race 4 saw a repeat of the same top 3 finishers in the F2 class as race 3. In the F1 class 1st place was taken once again by Fairhurst/Andrews, with Tibbles/Greenwood taking 2nd and McVey/Rooney coming in 3rd. The results show there was some pretty consistent racing over the weekend within the championship.

The second round of the championship will be at East Fortune with the ever welcoming Melville Motorcycle Club, on the 20th & 21st April.

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