The second round of the A.C.U./F.S.R.A. British Formula 2 sidecar championship took place this past weekend at Cadwell Park, hosted by the Auto 66 Club. With the forecast not looking great - in fact the polar opposite to the previous weekend at Oulton Park - the weather would indeed have an impact on race one.
After an early start for free practice the qualifying was due to take place at 1105. The twenty minute qualifying session took place in dry but windy conditions, and the first team to top the time charts after a couple of laps were that of Team Ramsden Racing, Steve and Matty Ramsden on their Honda powered LCR. Closely followed by Harrison/Winkle (Printer Roller Services) on their Honda powered Bellas machine and Shand/Hyde on Gordon's own Shand chassis, who slotted into third. On the third completed lap the team of Crawford/Farrance of Team ARC on their Suzuki powered LCR topped the timings with a 1:40.17. Crawford/Farrance were the first team to go sub 1 minute 40 on the fourth completed lap and clocked 1:39.27, the Ramsdens were still in second with a time of 1:40.83, third at this stage were Harrison/Winkle 1:41.01 and in fourth position the first showing of reigning champions Founds/Walmsley (Rowtec) with one completed lap of 1:41.32. The current pole setters of Team ARC Crawford/Farrance went even quicker on the next qualifying lap to register a time of 1:38.87 closely followed by Founds/Walmsley 0.40s off with a time of 1:39.27. Down in to third were the Ramsdens, fourth were Harrison/Winkle, fifth Shand/Hyde, sixth the first of the F2 Cup runners Dukes/Moralee on their Baker Honda, and making it in to the top seven was Team Petpals Wallis/Hardie. With only a couple of minutes to go of the qualifying session the team of Founds/Walmsley went to the front of the pack registering a time of 1:38.24 to take pole by 0.63s so for the second round running would start on pole.
Race 1 took place just after the lunch break on the Sunday afternoon. This was a dramatic affair as the rain started to drizzle but didnt seem to be dampening the track. The formation lap took place and there were a few noticeable absentees, namely Crawford/Farrance, Harrison/Winkle and Wallis/Hardie, and by this time the rain started to come down heavier. The aforementioned teams did appear, but would have to start from the back of the grid. As it turned out these teams decided a quick tyre change to full wets was necessary, hence they missed the formation lap.
The race finally got underway and charging through the field Crawford/Farrance had taken the lead - but not only taken the lead had crossed the start/finish line 7.35s in front of the next placed team that of Harrison/Winkle with both teams running full wets! The Ramsdens were impressive on slick tyres holding third place, Wallis/Hardie had moved up to fourth place at the end of lap one, relegating Founds/Walmsley also on slick tyres back to fifth place. In sixth place were the fast approaching Lowther brothers John and Jake who also started from the back of the grid but not because of tyre choice, they had a battery fault in qualifying. In seventh place was the first of the F2 cup runners Anderson/Gravel who had moved up six positions from their qualifying position, closely followed by the father and son pairing of Dean and Ben Dickinson. Dropping back one place were the pairings of Baker/Killingsworth and Ilaria/James making the top ten.
After the second completed lap Crawford/Farrance had a lead of 13.83s and registered an amazing time of 1:53.79 which was twenty five seconds a lap quicker than those teams on slicks. Still holding second, Harrison/Winkle were now only 3.68s ahead of the charging Lowther brothers (Team ARC) who slotted in to third position. In fourth stayed Wallis/Hardie and moving up in to fifth position Anderson/Gravel relegating the Ramdsens to sixth, Baker/Killingsworth had moved ahead of Founds/Walmsley in to seventh postion, and slotting into ninth place Lumley/Whitnall, with the top ten completed by Isle of Man duo Mike Jackson and Callum Crowe.
Only a couple of changes to report on the next lap in that Baker/Killingsworth had moved up to sixth place ahead of the Ramsdens and Lumley/Whitnall moved up to eighth place ahead of Founds/Walmsley. By the end of lap four of twelve there were just twelve outfits circulating the very wet circuit and Lumley/Whitnall moved ahead of the Ramsdens in to seventh place. At the end of lap five Crawford/Farrance had a lead of 19.31s back to their team mates John and Jake Lowther who had gone ahead of Harrison/Winkle, who made up the top three. In the battle of the slicks Founds/Walmsley moved ahead of the Ramdsens on lap eight and slotted in to eighth place.
On the ninth completed lap the pairing of Crawford/Farrance set the fastest lap of the race so far with a time of 1:53.64 and would they get the fastest lap award from Bill Barrowcliff? The answer would be no because on the twelfth and final lap their team mates John and Jake Lowther recorded a time of 1:53.62 to pip them by 0.02s. So the final top three positions in both classes in race one are as follows:
There were two additional trophies up for grabs after the first race, one for the fastest lap which went to John and Jake Lowther and the performance of the day winning the first race by a margin of exactly twenty three seconds went to Lee Carwford and Patrick Farrance kindly donated and presented by Mr Bill Barrowcliff.
Now on to race two set over fourteen laps on Easter Monday, what would the weather do this time?
Well thankfully it stayed dry, although the track in the morning was still wet in places during the morning warm up. The starting grid lined up at 1428 for the formation lap and the lights went out at 1431 and they were off. It was the pairing of Founds/Walmsley leading the way and after the first completed lap had built up a 1.1s lead over Crawford/Farrance who in turn were 0.73s ahead of Harrison/Winkle who in turn were 0.23s ahead of the Ramsdens. The leading F2 Cup runners Dukes/Moralee moved up to fifth. At the end of lap two, the top four remained the same although Crawford Farrance set the fastest lap with a time of 1:38.67, Shand/Hyde moved ahead of Dukes/Moralee in to fifth position. At the end of lap three the gap between Founds/Walmsley and Crawford/Farrance was just 0.22s with the latter registering an even faster lap of 1:38.41. The gap to third had gone out to 6.04s currently held by Harrison/Winkle and the Ramdsens a further second behind in fourth. Moving through the field from the back of the grid and now up to seventh were John and Jake Lowther and they were chasing down Dukes/Moralee. There was a right royal battle going on for the second and third positions in the Cup with Stuart Anderson and Philip Gravel 0.01s ahead of Brian Ilaria and Jody James. Chasing them down just three seconds behind were four teams split by half a second: Dickinson/Dickinson, Riley/Parker, Remnant/Tilley and Jackson/Crowe.
What looked like being a great battle between Founds/Walmsley and Crawford/Farrance was not to be because on lap four Crawford/Farrance retired at Barn thus handing a lead of nine seconds to Founds/Walmsley. At the end of five completed laps, Founds/Walmsley had a lead of 11.64s over the Ramsdens and Harrison/Winkle in third just 1.63s behind. In the F2 cup Ilaria/James had moved ahead of Anderson/Gravel. The only change at the end of lap six was that the second ARC team that of the Lowther brothers had moved up to fifth position, relegating leading F2 cup runners Dukes/Moralee back to sixth overall.
A few changes at the end of lap seven: Shand/Hyde moved ahead of Harrison/Winkle in to third position by just 0.67s. It was all change in the F2 cup as Anderson/Gravel, Riley/Parker and Remnant/Tilley moved ahead of Ilaria/James. At the end of lap eight Harrison/Winkle had regained third position. In the F2 cup there was another change as Remnant/Tilley had moved in to second position with Anderson/Gravel third, in fourth Ilaria/James and fifth Jackson/Crowe and the gap from second to fifth was 1.2s.
At the end of lap ten there was no change in the top eight, with Founds/Walmsley extending their lead to 21.06s with the Ramsdens in second, and Harrison/Winkle in third. However, Anderson/Gravel had moved ahead of Remnant/Tilley in the F2 cup. This was to change again at the end of lap eleven with Remnant/Tilley re-taking the place from the aforementioned crew. Just before the end of lap twelve there was angusih for the leading F2 cup runners Dukes/Moralee as they pulled in to pit lane with their outfit billowing plumes of smoke, so all change in the F2 cup once again as Remnant/Tilley were the leading F2 cup runners followed by Ilaria/James and husband and wife pairing of Team SAS Giles and Jen Stainton.
At the chequered flag it was win number three of the season for reigning champions Peter Founds and Jevan Walmsley by 24.16s with Steve and Matty Ramsden in second place and Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle making the Super F2 podium complete in third.
The final standings in the F2 cup was a win for Ralph Remnant/Samantha Tilley, second place went to Brian Ilaria/Jody James and making the podium in only their second British Championship meeting was Giles and Jen Stainton.
On behalf of the FSRA I would like to give thanks to the Marshalls, Medics and the host organisers Auto66 especially Sunday during the dismal weather encountered.
The third round of the FSRA/ACU Formula 2 sidecar championship will be held weekend of May 13th/14th at Donington Park