Sleaford sidecar racer Horspole makes his point with new set-up

Gary Horspole gets to grips with the new chassis and engine EMN-190905-153011002
Gary Horspole gets to grips with the new chassis and engine EMN-190905-153011002

Sidecar driver Gary Horspole and passenger Jimmy Connell began the British Sidecar Championship season with a points-scoring finish at Oulton Park.

New regulations for the 2019 season dictate that competitors can longer use the big 1000cc engines as in previous years, but must switch to 600cc-powered outfits.

With this in mind, Horspole has made adjustments to his long LCR chassis to accommodate a new Yamaha R6 engine, prepared by Keith Whiting.

Despite some winter testing, the Sleaford driver is still getting to grips with the smaller engine as the outfit handles much differently to the big F1, and his grid position was not as high as he had hoped for.

The smaller engine in a long chassis corners differently and I am having a few problems as it’s so quick,” Horspole explained.

“But we will get there; we just need a bit more practice on it.”

Horspole and his Scottish passenger completed qualifying in 20th place and were placed on the 10th row of the grid for Monday’s 12-lap race.

After track contamination, morning warm-up was cancelled, and Horspole and Connell went into the race with only a few laps of free practice and qualifying under their belts.

But as the lights went out the pair made up three places on the opening lap and were running in 17th for the first three laps.

They made it up to 15th on lap six, but their progress was short-lived as they were pushed back to 17th on the penultimate lap.

However, luck was on their side when two of the outfits ahead retired, elevating Horspole and Connell back up into 15th position which they held to the chequered flag.

This gave them their first championship point of the new campaign and they left Oulton Park with renewed confidence.

The championship takes a six-week break to accommodate the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT races.

The sidecars will regroup at Brands Hatch for round two of the championship over the weekend of June 14 to 16.