MOTORCYCLING: Sleaford sidecar ace rides to two top six finishes at Donington

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

Sleaford sidecar driver Gary Horspole with passenger Jimmy Connell rode to a fine sixth place in the second of the three races in the British F1 Sidecar championship at Donington Park last Sunday.

They went on to take fifth in the final race of the day to pick up 21 points and move to eighth in the overall standings on 108 points, with just four races left to run.

Qualifying went well for Horspole and Connell who began the first of three 10 lap races from a fourth row grid position. They set off well but towards the end of the lap Gary encountered a problem with the clutch and was forced to retire the LCR Suzuki into the pits at the end of the first lap.

Following overnight repairs to the clutch, Horspole and Connell began race two from the 11th row as they didn’t register a time in the first race. They got away to a fantastic start, making up ground to 15th on the first lap.

One lap later they were up to 10th and closing down on Biggs and Ransley, making their move stick on lap six. They continued circulating and crossed the finish line in eighth place. But as there was a 600cc competitor and also a wild card entry in front of them, the Lincolnshire driver and Scottish passenger were awarded sixth place in the British F1 Sidecar championship.

Starting the final race of the day from the fourth row, Horspole and Connell got away to another good start and settled into ninth position for the first two laps before making a move forward passing Gray and Christie on lap three. They began to reel in Walker and Hawes and got closer and closer as the race unfolded until they made an overtaking manoeuvre at the last corner.

Walker was struggling with a steering problem and this contributed to a coming together with Horspole who made his overtaking move stick, and they beat their rivals to the finish line to take seventh place. Once again there was a 600cc machine ahead of them plus a wild card entry, who do not score championship points, and they were awarded points for fifth place.

The next round is at Assen in the Netherlands this weekend.