Sleaford sidecar racer Horspole unhurt after dramatic crash

Horspole and O'Connell have one round left to cement their top-five place
Horspole and O'Connell have one round left to cement their top-five place

Sleaford Sidecar racer Gary Horspole and passenger Jimmy Connell had mixed fortunes in the Netherlands last weekend competing in the penultimate round of the British Sidecar Championship.

They recorded a fine seventh place in the first race at Assen, but were unlucky to crash on oil left by another competitor in the second race.

The first qualifying went well and the pair were sixth in the session, but in the second session, while on a personal best lap Gary spun the outfit at turn eight.

While still on track, the engine stalled and refused to start, leaving them to sit out the rest of the session.

Starting race one from the fifth row of the grid was always going to be difficult to catch the leaders, but the pair rode well and completed an incident-free 10 laps in eighth.

Race winners Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes, current World Championship leaders, were classed as wildcards and did not score points, elevating Horspole and Connell to seventh for nine championship points.

Starting race two the following day from the second row, Horspole and Connell settled into eighth before passing Guy/Pilmoor-Brady into seventh place on lap three.

Reeves/Wilkes demoted them back to eighth on lap four and they looked in no trouble until they rounded a corner and ran over oil dropped by another competitor, spinning the outfit and flipping it upside down, throwing O’Connell clear.

Horspole was left trapped, but had tucked himself well inside the cockpit and was soon released by the marshals and escaped unhurt except for some bruising to his shoulder.

The outfit suffered only cosmetic damage, but damaged helmets prevented the pair making the restart.

Despite the non-finish, Horspole and Connell had scored enough points in race one to remain fifth in the rider standings,

They travel to Brands Hatch for the final round with 174 points, and with double points on offer for both races.