JOHN Shipley and Milo Ward secured the FSRA Pre-Injection championship crown this weekend as they battled bike problems and torrential rain at Cadwell Park.
The Ireson Yamaha boys looked to be in trouble after a DNF in the first race allowed their rivals to close the gap with a planned five races to run, but bad weather put paid to Saturday’s action and cut Sunday short, leaving them to take the title after just two races.
But it was bad luck from the off for Shipley and rookie passenger Ward, who suffered electrical gremlins in qualifying, limiting them to third on the grid with only one flying lap as Rob Fisher and Rick Long took pole position.
And while Fisher and Long took off and led the only two laps of the race to take victory, Shipley and Ward were left languishing at the exit of the Gooseneck with the front brake jammed on.
While weather ended action early on Saturday for both the outfits and solos, the champions-elect wanted to go out with a win in the one and only race on Sunday.
And despite starting near the back of the grid due to their first race DNF, Shipley and Ward scythed their way through the pack and opened up a nearly 30s advantage over the rest of the field as they crossed the line champions, leaving Simon Horton and Adam Buxton to second ahead of John and Doug Chandler.
While the second race of Sunday was cancelled just as the FSRA outfits went out for their warm up laps, Ward admitted that going out with a win was the only way to end the season.
“This is how we wanted to finish it, I’m simply ecstatic with this result,” he said.
“I’ve so enjoyed my first year as a side car passenger. The Shipleys have been so welcoming and spot on and John is such a talented driver to do what he is doing, it’s been a privilege to be on board with him.
“I’d also like to say a huge thank you to Dave Tibbles for running such a fantastic championship and to all my fellow drivers and passengers for being so welcoming.”
John and Jake Lowther cleared off in Saturday’s F1/F2 scrap to beat Greg Lambert/Julie Canipa and Dave Molyneux/Harry Payne to the line by almost 26s.
But Sam and Adam Christie fought back from a first race DNF to cross the line over 11s clear of Matty Ramsden and Scott Hardie on Sunday, leaving the Lowthers to third.
BMW duo Sean Hegarty and James Neave took the combined Classic Sidecar/BEARS spoils over 13s clear of Bill and Maggie Tuer, who edged fellow Morgan-powered squad Hamish Bibby and Mia Simons-Weston to the runner-up spot.
*Main and bottom side images: Sid Diggins
*Top side image: Dirk Wharton