Steve Pawley & Dave Hammond/SPR – F2 Sidecar Racing Team, Darley Moor Round 1.

After a mixed bag at Oulton Park last week where the team gained a huge chunk of time in free practice, but struggled to turn that into race pace on the Saturday as well as suffering braking issues which saw them leave leafy Cheshire a little downhearted, the boys arrived at Darley with a new mindset.

The SPR boys in action during the first sidecar race of the 2019 championship.

Deciding to break the track into sections and work them individually during Saturday and paying particular attention to the circuits chicanes in an attempt to build both speed and confidence as the day went on. With a total of 6 sessions to work with the team, like most of the other crews, chose to utilise half of them and keep themselves fresh for race day.

,As with most of the morning qualifying sessions, both track and air temperature was low and there was a thick haze around the whole circuit meaning struggles for everyone to generate heat into the tyres but Steve and Dave hit the track first and tried to quickly build up their speed. They managed a few clear laps before more outfits doing their own thing made congestion an issue but it was felt the session had gone quite well despite a few sideways moments along the way.

Come race 1 the sun was winning the battle and lap times began to get seriously quick.

Race 1 saw things get off to a pretty manic start for a number of reasons but staring from 9th on the grid the lads got away well and were trading places with a couple of outfits on lap 1 before an incident at Park brought out the red flag and an early lunch for everyone. The restart, in warmer conditions, saw the crew fly off the line and hold their own for 3 or 4 laps before once again mechanical gremlins meant Steve found a very soft brake pedal going flat out towards the Esses and it was time for both men to hang on tight and hope for the best. Luckily that was what happened and they came out of the other side in one piece and finish the race in a comfortable 8th place.

The team thank their lucky stars after a very hairy moment in race 1.

Race 2 saw the boys in a David & Goliath battle with the F1 outfit of Waddington/Storey with the boys getting the smaller outfit away first and then trying to be both fast and smooth to stop the bigger, more powerful outfit behind them, it was all boiling up to be a titanic finale until a missed gear by the F1 machine allowed a little gap to open up and Steve didn’t give them a second chance. The team again crossed the line in 8th position to end another weekend of learning as a crew and the had caught the attention of several rival crews who commented on how smooth the boys were on track.

From my point of view I had I really enjoyable Friday evening in the teams awning learning more about them and the machine they pilot with such skill and I look forward to catching up with them again for the Wirral 100 meeting at the end on the month.