Gary's baptism of fire

Sleaford sidecar racer Gary Horspole and stand-in passenger Ashley Moore rode to 10th and 15th places in their two races at Brands Hatch at the weekend in the first round of the 2018 British F1 Sidecar Championship.

Gary Horspole. Photo: Dave Yeomans.
Gary Horspole. Photo: Dave Yeomans.

Horspole had a baptism of fire in free practice when he discovered the seating unit was out of place and his leg was being burnt.

He pulled in to the pits to retire from the session and make adjustments prior to qualifying on Saturday.

More problems awaited the Lincolnshire rider during qualifying which put paid to the session.

Horspole explained: “Gear problems put a stop to play this morning, but we have been placed at the back of the grid for race one so fingers crossed we can rectify the problem in time for the race.”

With the gearbox back in working order Horspole and Moore took their place on row 13 at the very back of the 25-strong grid and, with the race taking part on the short and twisty Indy circuit, Horspole would have to pull out all the stops to make any impression on the race.

As the lights went out the pair got away to a great start, making up five places on the first lap and then passed two more machines on each of the next two laps before setting into 15th place to chase after the outfits ahead.

On lap five they passed Founds/Walmsley and two laps later James/Childs and on lap 11 of 15 were onto the back of Cable/Pawsey passing them one lap later to move up to 11th position.

On the final lap Bell/Ramsey encountered a problem and retired elevating Horspole/Moore to 10th place where they remained to the chequered flag.

The grid is reversed for the second race and Horspole and Moore found themselves in pole position.

But on the first lap another competitor’s outfit suffered a catastrophic oil leak which contaminated the track from Paddock all the way around to Druids Hairpin and caused the race to be red flagged and rearranged.

When the sidecars finally got out for their race it was raining and because of the delays the race was cut to 12 laps. Horspole and Moore got a bad start and dropped down the order to 10th and finally crossed the finish line in 15th place.

Horspole said: “The weather was terrible and my wheels were spinning up all the time.

“It just wasn’t worth risking it in the conditions.

“I was happy enough with the outfit and the engine and picked up a few points so am happy enough considering the conditions.”

The next round is at Oulton Park May 5-7.