April 4th - 5th.
Gary and Jimmy crashed out in spectacular fashion while qualifying for the first round of the British Sidecar Championship at Donington Park on Sunday.
Free practice on Saturday afternoon went well for the pair who finished the session in a creditable ninth position. Qualifying took place the following morning with Gary and Jimmy circulating in a comfortable 10th place. As the session entered its final stages Gary was on a flyer and on his very last lap was set to take eighth place. But things went badly wrong on the run to the old hairpin and the outfit turned onto its roof, skidding down the track and ending up in the gravel with the engine still running. Gary escaped with a bruised leg but Jimmy was unlucky to fall resulting in a cracked shoulder. Despite this the pair were able to walk away to safety leaving the marshals to deal with the outfit.
Gary said "I knew I was on a flyer and was sure to move up to eighth but it didn't work out that way. Jimmy is ok and travelled home to Scotland on Monday to see if his shoulder needs further treatment. The outfit isn't too bad, just a bit of damage to the fairing which is easily fixed but because the engine was still running when we ended up in the gravel it is possible there could be some damage to the engine. We have arranged for it to go to our engine builder who will check it out in time for the next round and I am keeping my fingers crossed that Jimmy makes a speedy and full recovery." He added "With just two weeks before the next round I will have to look for a temporary passenger but hopefully I will be on the grid. Thanks to Sleaford Quality Foods and Baker Plant Hire for their continued support plus Oxford Products for the HJC helmets which certainly protected both of us from further injury."
The next round is at Brands Hatch over the weekend of April 18/19 when it is hoped that Gary will be on the grid and Jimmy is well on the road to recovery.
April 18th - 19th
Gary with Jimmy in the chair rode to a brace of points finishes at Brands Hatch over the weekend in round two of the British F1 Sidecar Championship and moves on the the leader board with seven championship points.
Following their crash at Donington Park two weeks earlier it was doubtful that Jimmy would be fit to ride at this meeting but he underwent a stiff medical examination at the circuit and they gave him the all clear.
Gary and Jimmy were steady away in free practice to let Jimmy acclimatise himself to the short Indy circuit and they completed the session in 12th position before going onto to qualify in 11th to start the first 15 lap affair on Saturday from the sixth row.
As the lights went out Gary and Jimmy got away to a fantastic start and began to work their way througth the midfielders. But after just four laps the race was halted by the red flag after an oil leak from a fellow competitor's outfit. This caused a lengthy delay and it was eventually decided to call a result at four laps distance and award half championship points. As Gary and Jimmy were holding eighth place at the red flag they picked up four championship points and reconvened on Sunday when the second race, which was put back to last on the programme, was scheduled to take place over 12 laps with Gary and Jimmy starting from a fourth row grid position.
As the race finally got underway Gary and Jimmy got a good start and moved up into ninth position but as the race wore on they dropped back to 10th which they held to the penultimate lap when they were passed by Drowne / Pilmore-Brady. Then on the final lap they lost a further two places and took the chequered flag in the 13th place to pick up a further three championship points.
"With it being so soon after Jimmy's injury we decided to take it fairly steady this weekend as his shoulder is still healing. The Brands Hatch Indy Circuit is very challenging but he was fine. Better safe than sorry and we are really pleased he could ride and that we were able to score a few points" said Gary.
The next round is at Oulten Park in Cheshire over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend of May 2-4th when Gary and Jimmy will be hoping to add to their points tally and move further up the rider standings.
Gary and Jimmy rode to a fine seventh place in round three of the British F1 Sidecar Championship at Oulten Park on Monday to claim their best result of the current campaign and claim nine championship points which move him up to 15th in the rider standings.
With only one race at the Cheshire circuit instead of the usual two there was everything to race for and Gary and Jimmy began their race from the seventh row getting away to a fantastic start and moving up into 11th place on the first of 14 laps.
One lap later they were 10th and on lap six they moved up to eighth and then sixth. At two thirds race distance they held fifth place but the two outfits behind were reeling them in. The race leader was also right behind and when Gary moved over to let them through Kirk/Hughes and Gray/Ramsey took the opportunity and followed thorugh demoting Gary and Jimmy to seventh position.
Not happy that they had passed him, Gary found a second wind and regained his fifth place but on his final lap he ran wide onto the gravel at the last corner which lost him time. He managed to get back onto the track and crossed the finish line in seventh place.
Gary commented "We were a little apprehensive going out to run 14 laps on such a demanding circuit especially with Jimmy still recovering from his shoulder injury. The nature of the course is extremely hard on the passenger but Jimmy put his heart and soul into the race and made it through the chequered flag when some other passengers were forced to tap their drivers and pull in. A massive well done to Jimmy, he must have been in considerable pain towards the end of the race but he hung on in there to the end. It's a shame I ran wide on the last corner but we still finished seventh so not the end of the world".
The championship takes a break now to make way for the North West 200 and the Isle of Man TT road races and the riders will reconvene at Snetterton in Norfolk over the weekend of June 19-21 by which time Jimmy's injured shoulder will be completely healed and the team will be raring to go.
Gary and Jimmy had mixed results at Snetterton in the fourth round, when they completed the first race in a strong fifth place only to retire from the second race on Sunday with 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 where they were eighth fastest to earn themselves a fourth row start to Saturday's 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 Heggarty/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 made their way through to fifth place but were a long way behind the leaders and spent the rest of the race in fifth place taking the chequered flag in that position to claim 11 championship points.
Starting the second race from the third row Gary and Jimmy didn't 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 were pushed back to 12th place. 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 were 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. Thanks to our loyal sponsors, Sleaford Quality Foods and Blaker Plant Hire for their continued support and also Oxford Products for the supply of our HJC helmets".
The next round is at Knockhill in Scotland just a few miles away fromJimmy's home so it's Gary who has a long trek to the circuit for a change over the weekend of July 3-5.
The long trek north of the border to Knockhill Scotland for round six of the British F1 Sidecar Championship was well worthwhile for Gary with passenger, Jimmy, as he returned home with two top 10 results and 16 championship points - Jimmy was however racing in his back yard as he only lives a few miles from the circuit.
After a lengthy delay on Saturday to allow for track repairs after torrential rain swamped the surface Gary and Jimmy finally got out for qualifying which they finished in ninth place to secure a fifth row grid position for the first of two 15 lap races.
As the lights went out the pair gor away well to take up seventh place on the opening lap but dropped back to eighth on lap three. They maintained their position, gradually closing in on Guy/Evanson and on lap 12 they made a pass stick and held station to the chequered flag to pick up nine championship points.
Starting race two from the fourth row Gary and Jimmy were running seventh through the first three laps before passing Bryan/Winn but were unable to hold the position and after two laps were beaten back to eighth place where they remained to the finish line to pick up a further eight championship points bringing their total haul from the weekend to 16 and 44 overall to take up joint 10th place in the rider standings.
Gary said "There is nothing steady about Knockhill, it's hard fast racing all the way within a very competative grid but we enjoyed our races immensley and our confidence is coming back so bring on Brands Hatch".
The next round of the British Championship is not until August 2nd at Thruxton but prior to that Gary and Jimmy will be racing at Brands Hatch within the grid of the FIM World Championship round that takes place as a support race to the British Superbike Championship on July 19th.
Gary and Jimmy rode to a fine sixth place in round six of the British F1 Sidecar Championship that took place alongside the FIM World sidecar round at Brands Hatch over the weekend.
As the British riders were competing within the world championship race, there was just one race instead of the usual two and the team were anxious to put on a good display alongside the world riders.
Qualifying went well for the team with the pair completing the second session in 12th position to make a start from a sixth row grid position for the 18 lap race on Sunday.
As the race got underway Gary and Jimmy got a good start and were circulating in a strong ninth position for the first six laps. They moved up to eighth one lap later and on lap 13 were up to seventh when a crash involving one of the World Championship teams caused the race to be brought to a halt to allow the medics and marshalls to attend. As the race had passed the two thirds distance a result was declared on positions on lap 13 with Gary and Jimmy behind awarded 10 championship points which move them to eighth in the rider standings on 54 points.
Gary said "I think we put on a good show within the grid of a world championship race. The British Championship riders took the first six places in the race with the first of the world riders finishing a long way behind us in seventh place. It's a shame the race was halted for the crash and I hope the riders involved are ok. Jimmy is back to full fitness now and it showed in our performance."
The next round is at Thruxton over the weekend of July 31-August 2 when Gary and Jimmy will be seeking another strong finish to their races to keep in touch with the championship leaders.
July 31st - August 1st
What a weekend! Gary and Jimmy rode to three top six finishes at Thruxton in round seven over the weekend.
There were three races to contest this time, all run over eight laps of the bumpy and technical Thruxton course and Gary and Jimmy qualified well in seventh place to begin the first race on Saturday from a fourth row grid position.
As the lights went out the duo got away well and moved up into sixth place on the first lap. They held sixth through lap two before making the move forward to fifth on lap three. But Gary wasn't satisfied with that position and made a concerted effort to move up to fourth, where the pair remained to the chequered flag for their best result of the current campaign.
Gary and Jimmy lined up on the second row for the start of the second race on Saturday and held station over the first two laps, but Ben Holland made his move on lap three demoting them down to fifth place. They held the position to the final lap but were caught on the line by Tony Brown to complete race two in sixth place.
In race three on Sunday Gary and Jimmy set off from the third row and got away to a good start moving up into sixth place at the first corner, but they were demoted a place when Ben Bygraves went past on lap three, only to pull out a couple of laps later with a techinical problem giving Gary and Jimmy sixth place once again. At the half way stage of the race Ben Holland pulled out with a machine problem which promoted Gary and Jimmy up to fifth place which they held with ease to the chequered flag.
Gary said "It was a top team effort this weekend. The bike never missed a beat and Jimmy never missed a corner. We were fourth overall so a good weekend all round. Thanks to all our supporters and sponsors, we couldn't do this without your support"
The 34 points gained from the three strong finishes place gary and Jimmy in seventh place on 88 points in the overall championship standings.
The boys have a break now as the sidecars are not on the programme for the next round at Cadwell Park but they are back in Assen on September 18/22.