MOTORCYCLING: Sleaford F1 sidecar man ends season in top 10

Gary Horspole and Jimmy Jijmmy Connell in action at Brands Hatch. Photo: Dave Yeomans
Gary Horspole and Jimmy Jijmmy Connell in action at Brands Hatch. Photo: Dave Yeomans

Sleaford driver Gary Horspole with Scottish passenger Jimmy Connell travelled to Brands Hatch for the season finale of the British F1 Sidecar championship where the two races attracted double points.

Gary and Jimmy scored a strong 10th place in race one and eighth in the second encounter to end their season in an overall position of eighth on 156 points.

After qualifying in seventh place, Gary and Jimmy were due to start the first 10-lap encounter from the fourth row but a problem on the warm-up lap forced them to start the race from pit lane, joining the rest of the 31-strong grid as they passed the end of the straight.

Gary’s visor came off during the warm-up lap and he had to pull into the pits for Jimmy to push it back into place and consequently when the lights went out for the start of the race, the pair were forced to play catch-up.

Undeterred, Gary put his foot down and the pair powered the LCR Suzuki through from 31st to 21st on the opening lap. On lap two, they were up to 18th and one lap later circulating in 15th. Over the next three laps they made their way through to 10th position but were unable to move further forward as the group ahead were more than 14 seconds ahead.

Gary commented: “It was just one of those things but we got there in the end. It was a bit hairy coming through the pack from the back but we managed without a mishap.”

The second race was held over to Sunday because of problems in the solo classes and when the riders took their grid position it was in wet and slippery conditions. Gary and Jimmy rode a steady race to bring the outfit home in eighth place to claim a further 16 championship points.

Gary said: “As I have already sold my engines, I took it steady in that race. I didn’t want to risk a crash and wreck the engines. But we did OK in the end and have finished the season within the top 10 which is what we were aiming for.

“I have to thank all my sponsors for their support again this year and special thanks to Jimmy for being such a great passenger again.

“I have bought some new Suzuki engines from another competitor who is going 600 next year. The engines are a better spec than the ones I ran this year and considerably faster so hopefully we will be even more competitive next year.”