MOTORCYCLING: Sleaford sidecar driver’s weekend is a mixed bag

Gary Horspole and Jimmy Connell in action at Snetterton. Photo: Dave Yeomans
Gary Horspole and Jimmy Connell in action at Snetterton. Photo: Dave Yeomans

Sleaford sidecar driver Gary Horspole enjoyed mixed results in the fourth round of the British Formula One Sidecar Championship at Snetterton over the weekend.

With Scottish passenger Jimmy Connell in the chair, the pair completed Saturday’s first race in a strong fifth place, only to retire from the second race on Sunday due to a technical fault.

With Jimmy now recovered from his shoulder injury, the pair were anticipating a good weekend of racing. Free practice went well and they finished in seventh place ahead of the qualifying session in which they were eighth fastest, earning themselves a fourth row start to the opening race.

As the lights went out, Gary and Jimmy shot away to a good start, completing the first lap in sixth position. They were relegated to seventh on lap two when Hegarty and Neave powered past.

But no sooner had they gone past, than they pulled out with a machine fault, leaving the way clear for Gary and Jimmy to reclaim their sixth position.

They climbed up a further place, where they remained, a long way behind the leaders, and took the chequered flag in fifth to claim 11 championship points.

Starting the second race from the third row, Gary and Jimmy failed to get the good start they needed and rounded the first corner in the middle of the pack. They were boxed in at Montreal in the scrap for position and pushed back to 12th place.

But it was apparent that all was not well with the outfit, and at the end of lap five Gary pulled into the pits to retire.

Gary said: “We were really pleased with our first race result and we’re hoping for another good showing next time, but it wasn’t to be.

“We got pushed back on the second lap and then the outfit just didn’t seem right so we pulled in to retire.”

Gary expressed thanks to their loyal sponsors Sleaford Quality Foods and Baker Plant Hire for their continued support, and also Oxford Products for the supply of their HJC Helmets.

The next round of the F1 Championship is at Knockhill in Scotland next weekend, just a few miles away from Jimmy’s home, so it will be Gary’s turn for a long trek to the circuit for a change.