LEE Crawford and Scott Hardie destroyed the East Fortune lap record this weekend as they shared the Sidecar spoils with Scott Lawrie and Mick Fairhurst.
The duos split the honours with two wins apiece, but it was the Team ARC boys who laid down the fastest ever F2 outfit lap of the Scottish circuit as they scorched to a 1:02.631.
Already crowned Scottish Sidecar champs at the last round, Lawrie and Fairhurst qualified right beside their weekend rivals as Crawford and Hardie took pole position, with Gordon Shand/Tony Belsey and Simon Robinson/Phil Gravel just behind.
But Crawford and Hardie immediately launched into the lead aboard their LCR Suzuki, building an advantage of over seven seconds as they led from lights-to-flag, beating, with Lawrie and Fairhurst pipping Shand and Belsey on the final lap to take second.
After just missing out on the lap record in race one by 0.023s, Crawford and Hardie were determined to break the old mark, but suffered early on in race two and ended the first lap in fourth as Robinson and Gravel led Lawrie and Fairhurst across the line.
And while the first race winners had made it up to second just behind Lawrie/Fairhurst by lap three, they retired on lap six and left victory to the early leaders, with Shand/Belsey and Robinson/Gravel completing the podium.
It was more bad luck in race three as Crawford and Hardie retired from the lead, but they were thrilled nonetheless as they set the new lap record of 1:02.631, smashing the late Ian Bell’s 2013 record of 1:03.421 with son Carl in the chair. Lawrie and Fairhurst secured another win by some 10s in a repeat podium of race two.
Finally back out on form, Crawford and Hardie nearly went under the lap record again in the final race of the weekend, setting a 1:02.827 to edge Lawrie and Fairhurst by just over a second, with Shand and Belsey in third.
While Crawford admitted it took him a few years of effort to crack the Bell boys’ lap time, he’s happy to head into the final rounds of his and Hardie’s season with the record in hand. But he revealed his year could end prematurely if he and partner Ellie’s daughter arrives earlier than expected.
“We’ve officially done and achieved everything we possibly could this season,” he told UK Clubsport. “It’s a shame about the DNFs in the British championship meetings, we could have possibly had that this year, but never mind.
“We’re glad to get that lap record, I didn’t think it could be done after two or three years of trying. Now we go to Oulton Park and then the Stars of Darley to round out the year.
“But if the little lady arrives early, that will be my season over, so we’ll see.”
*Main and bottom images: Dirk Wharton
*Top side image: Sid Diggins