Sleaford sidecar racer lands F1 points finishes at Brands Hatch

Horspole and Connell lie 11th after the opening salvo at Brands Hatch EMN-170420-111357002
Horspole and Connell lie 11th after the opening salvo at Brands Hatch EMN-170420-111357002

Sleaford Sidecar racer Gary Horspole and Scottish passenger Jimmy Connell recorded mixed results in the first round of the 2017 British F1 Sidecar championship.

The pair finished 14th in race one at Brands Hatch, but in the second affair they recorded a fine ninth place to pick up nine championship points to lie 11th in the early overall standings.

Rain began to fall as the riders took their places on the grid for the start of race one, and after a 10-minute delay it was decided to run a shortened race of 12 laps on slick tyres.

Starting from the fifth row, Horspole and Connell were steadily away, but dropped back, circulating in 18th for much of the race.

On lap 10 they passed Robinson/Smithies to move up a place to 17th but it was too late for further progress and they crossed the line in 17th.

Because three teams above them were racing in the 600cc cup, and not eligible for F1 championship points, Horspole and Connell were awarded 14th place in their class and two points.

Gary said: “I just didn’t seem to settle into it and start racing until two laps before the flag.

“I was not happy with my performance, but perhaps it was the iffy conditions that were the problem.”

Horspole and Connell began race two the following day from the ninth row and made a swift start, flying through from 18th to 13th on the first lap.

They caught and passed Jones/Bryant one lap later to take up 12th position, and then entered into an epic battle with Archer/Thomas for position The pair moved up to 11th when Peach/Edwards retired with a technical problem and finally overhauled Archer on lap 11 to claim 10th place.

The disqualification of another team at a post-race inspection then elevated Horspole and Connell to ninth.

“That was a good race,” Gary added. “We had a long battle with Archer, but finally overcame him.

“I was well pleased with 10th place and then I discovered we had been awarded ninth so that’s a real bonus.”