On a relatively quiet weekend for the Magnificent Seven Steve, Dave and the SPR team were once again mixing it with the regular riders and crews of the The British Motorcycle Racing Club or BEMSEE and this time the challenge that lay ahead were not just the competitors on track but the fast and flowing former Grand Prix circuit Donington Park.
Having never raced at ‘Donny’ before the team had, not for the first time, set themselves a serious challenge as they look to gain more experience of the UK’s bigger circuits and with being so low to the ground on the outfit means that for all the sidecar crews the track throws up lots of blind corners and apexes not experienced by the solo riders and means that circuit knowledge is the key to success.
Practice went well and despite the damp track conditions the boys gained some vital experience of the circuit and were feeling good ahead of qualifying.
The all important qualifying session didn’t go exactly to plan as the duo buried themselves in the gravel trap at Copice on lap 1, thankfully the boys were uninjured but they were forced to start race 1 from the very back of the grid and although they were able to ride the outfit back to the paddock after clearing out the collected Copice ‘kitty litter’ the machine refused to start and a frantic search unearthed a broken wire from the crank sensor which had the potential to end the weekend there and then but the generous actions from the rest of the crews in lending parts, tools and advice meant that the issue was resolved and the boys took their place on the grid.
An incident packed start to the race saw Steve get off the line like the proverbial bat out of hell but a crew further ahead had an issue and while the chairs behind slowed and looked for a way through there was contact and although the lads were successful in threading their way through the carnage others weren’t so fortunate and with bodies and machine parts littering the circuit the rad flags came out to stop the race.
The restart, over a shortened race distance of 6 laps saw the boys go all continental as they enjoyed a race long battle with a crew from Holland and a small mistake on the penultimate lap saw the Dutch team sneak through and hold the boys off on the final circuit and the 2 outfits crossed the line with just 0.44 seconds between them.
Still being dogged by wiring/electrical issues and a gut feeling that thing weren’t quite right the boys took up position on the grid ready for race 2 and after another great start the boys ran fast and smooth for the first 4 laps. Crossing the start/finish line the motor suddenly dropped to 3 cylinders again and Ste had to grab the clutch and creep back to the paddock. In the pits the motor died completely, wouldn’t restart and then jammed solid.
Not the weekend they had hoped for but amid all the bad luck and machine failure the boys do at least now have 10 laps of Donington on their C.V!