STEVE and Matty Ramsden stole their first victory of the year this weekend as they split wins with reigning champs Peter Founds and Jevan Walmsley.
After eleven weeks off, the ACU/FSRA British F2 Sidecar Championship returned for a three-wheeled assault on Anglesey Circuit as the series crossed its halfway point.
Running alongside their sister class, the FSRA F350s, and Wirral 100 Motor Club’s sidecar category for practice early Saturday, the blue riband F2s took to the track for qualifying just after a memorial lap for the late Roy Hawkins.
On the blustery Coastal circuit, Founds and Walmsley squeezed a pole-setting 1:14.154 out of their LCR Rowtec Suzuki, with the fellow LCR-running Ramsdens just two tenths behind and the Printer Rolling Services Bellas Honda of Conrad Harrison and Andy Winkle a second off pole.
But that’s where Harrison and Winkle’s luck ran out – on the formation lap, the pair suffered a flat rear tyre and were forced to retire before the race even began.
When the 20-lap scrap got underway, Founds and Walmsley took the early lead ahead of the Ramsdens as Sean Hegarty and James Neave slotted into third just ahead of Team ARC duos John/Jake Lowther and Lee Crawford/Scott Hardie.
While the two leading sidecars pulled away, Founds and Walmsley crept steadily away from the Ramsdens and by lap seven had nearly two seconds to work with. Crawford and Hardie, who passed Hegarty and Neave for third on lap seven, could do nothing to catch the two front-running outfits.
But disaster struck on the very last lap for the championship leaders as their LCR’s trail plate broke, relegating them to a sixth place finish when they finally limped across the line.
The Ramsdens crossed the line for the win 5.6 seconds clear of Hegarty/Neave in second and some 22 seconds ahead of the Lowthers in third.
Michael Jackson and Callum Crowe took the F2 Cup win in fifth overall, well clear of Nicky Dukes/William Moralee and Ralph Remnant/Samantha Tilley.
Despite their bad luck on Saturday, Founds and Walmsley were determined to redeem themselves under Sunday’s sunny Welsh skies.
The duo powered through the wind to take another early lead at the head of the pack, leading Harrison/Winkle, Hegarty/Neave and the Ramsdens into the first corner.
By lap four, Founds/Walmsley had pulled out over a second on the chasing pack and the Ramsdens had made their move for third.
The family men continued their charge and levered Harrison/Winkle aside for second at half-distance, but by then the leading outfit was almost nine seconds clear of trouble and well on its way to another dominant win.
No one could stop Founds/Walmsley and their repaired trail plate as the stormed to the chequered flag some 13 seconds ahead of the Ramsdens and Harrison/Winkle.
Jackson and Crowe took yet another F2 Cup victory from Dukes and Moralee, as Kevin Thornton and Dave Dean nabbed third. But the latter duo, along with fourth-placed John Shipley/Jon Saidi joined the event as non points-scoring wildcards, meaning Remnant and Tilley again took the points for third.
Founds and Walmsley still lead the British F2 Championship on 168 points, but the Ramsdens edge closer with 140 as the Lowthers sit on 122. Jackson and Crowe move into the F2 Cup lead on 138, 16 ahead of Ilaria and James and 23 clear of Remnant and Tilley.
The series heads across the country to Cadwell Park this weekend for the fifth round of 2017.
*Main and top image: Neil Lambert
*Bottom image: Dirk Wharton