MOTORCYCLING: Sleaford F1 sidecar man endures eventful Scottish weekend

Sleaford's Gary Horspole at the helm of his LCR Honda outfit.
Sleaford's Gary Horspole at the helm of his LCR Honda outfit.

Sleaford driver Gary Horspole endured an eventful weekend at Knockhill in Scotland where he and Scottish passenger Jimmy Connell were contesting rounds four, five and six of the British F1 Sidecar Championship, resulting in a brace of seventh places and one non-finish.

Qualifying went well for Gary and Jimmy and they secured their first front row start in the class for the first of three races on Saturday.

As the lights went out, the pair got away to a swift start and led the field around the short and technical circuit. But their lead was short lived as they spun the LCR Honda on lap four of 15.

However, Gary was quick to regain control and continued, although a long way back from their original position. By lap nine, the duo were up to ninth and in a position to move further forward.

They passed McLaurin/Hope and Shand/Hyde to take up seventh position but with 12 seconds separating them from the outfit ahead, there was insufficient time to catch up and they had to be content with seventh place at the chequered flag.

The second race was delayed after a heavy rainstorm left the track too dangerous to race, but eventually the riders took their place on the grid to start the race on a drying track.

Gary and Jimmy began their campaign from a fourth row grid position but it soon became obvious that all was not well. After losing ground back to eighth position, Gary pulled off the track at turn three to retire with a broken throttle cable.

Starting the final race from dead last on the seventh row, Gary and Jimmy flew off the line to overtake five outfits on the first lap and move up into seventh position. They continued to make progress, passing MacLaurin/Hope on lap two and Archer/Thomas on lap four to take up fifth position.

They then chased after Bryan/Winn and caught them on the run towards the hairpin, but the two outfits made contact which resulted in Gary and Jimmy once again spinning off the track. They recovered to continue but had it all to do again, down in 10th position.

But Gary was not to be denied a good finish and moved them up into eighth place with two laps remaining. On the final lap, Biggs/Ransley spun off at turn three to gift Gary and Jimmy seventh place which they held for the remainder of the lap to take their second seventh place of the weekend.

The 18 points gained at Knockhill moved Gary and Jimmy up to ninth place in the rider standings on 46 points.

The next round is at Snetterton in Norfolk over the weekend of July 8/10 when the duo will be seeking more strong showings to add to their points tally.