Race Report from Darley Moor 05/06 August, by Passenger David Hammond.
Low Down on the Darley meet with Steven Pawley on his F2, for those following my sidecar adventure.
Saturday practice saw the electrical gremlins from Anglesey return at the start of lap 5, forcing us to retire.
Two positive’s came from that. I learnt the skill of getting a push back to the paddock from the recovery truck, and I saw how others worked the 2nd chicane.
Lap 4 was our quickest lap of practice 1:13.58, a promising sign that we were getting quicker over the laps.
Back at the paddock, with the help from some more electrically minded people, we diagnosed the Reg/Rec was defunct… Ste’s parent’s made a dash home to pick up a spare, we got everything ready for their return, in the hope they’d be back in time for race 2. Alas it wasn’t to be, and we watched again from the sidelines.
Sunday saw us head out for practice to check we’d solved the problem. It appeared we had, and I stated to work the 2nd chicane more than Saturday.
I was comfortable, we felt smooth, and it was feeling quicker, so a little miffed when we saw we’d actually done a 1:14.06, again on the last lap.
Ste was happy with how I was working the 2nd chicane, and asked if I could work the first in the same way, I felt confident that we could brake later & harder at the end of the back straight.
We set a target to finish, a bonus not to be last, and it was close between ourselves & Crowe/Williams in practice, so there was going to be a battle for last place.
We qualified last, and formed up on the grid, Crowe/Williams on 8th on the row infront, a steady start for the warm up lap, and we have little tussle with Crowe/Williams in the chichane, I move late for the hairpin and jar my wrist, and then we get more contact with Crowe/Williams as we negotiate the hairpin.
I’m fine, and we’re down the back straight to form back up, I’m giving the fairing the once over as it now look’s to be wobbling a bit, I’m happy its not going to fall apart as I grab hold of it, and check the wrist is moving. I miss Ste trying to see if I’m OK as I’m more concerned with the outfit.
We’re on the grid, by this point I know I’m fired up and we’re not letting Crowe/Williams intimidate us… I’m sure Ste was thinking the same.
The lights go out, and we make a good start, momentarily I think Crowe/Williams are ahead, but see them closing behind in the first chicane.
We were flying, and it soon became apparent the only place Crowe/Williams could challenge us was at the hairpin. Ste was rolling off just to ensure I had time to move, and they took advantage, we held our own for the majority of the race, and only on the penultimate lap did they manage to pass us at the hairpin, resulting in a drag race down the back straight…
Ste took the inside line for the right, only to find the two leading outfits coming on our inside, not wanting to be the filling of a sidecar sandwich we held back, Crowe/Williams were forced to take a wider line, and we powered out along the start/finish to take back our position as we entered the final lap, and kept hold until the chequered flag.
Back at the paddock and check for damage, the obvious cracked fairing, a dented wheel rim, a collection of yellow pain on the tyre, the gear lever is bent, and on removing the fairing discover the frames got a hairline crack where it mounts…
It needs welding to be a proper fix, and whilst we could go out and take it steady, that’s not what we came to do, and we still run the risk of it cracking further and ruling us out of Aintree this weekend. We take it on the chin, collect a signature from race office and pack up camp.
That’s the up’s and down’s of racing, we came, we improved, we didn’t come last, and we had a ball doing it. Oh and we got asked for autographs in the paddock… perhaps Michelle paid them to ask just to cheer us up after Saturday?