PETE Founds and Jevan Walmsley have secured their third British FSRA F2 title and capped off what they revealed has been a season of highs and lows.
With 82 points to spare heading into the final round at Oulton Park next Month, the Rowtec Suzuki squad have put the cherry on a trying season with half the total wins so far.
After sticking their DDM outfit on pole this weekend just 0.205s clear of Croft double-winners Lee Crawford and Scott Hardie, Founds and Walmsley fell back a place at the start of the race as the Team ARC duo shot ahead, but moments later the championship leaders came flying back past.
While Silicone Engineering/Barnes Racing’s John Holden and Lee Cain slotted in behind and clocked the fastest lap of the race, they couldn’t find a way through and had to settle for second as Crawford and Hardie bagged third.
With Sunday’s reverse grid, Conrad Harrison and Andy Winkle lined up on pole next to the Lowthers, but Crawford and Hardie scorched from the second row into the lead once again, holding station ahead of Founds and Walmsley for the entire first half of the race.
And despite three of the top four teams setting times under Holden’s decade-old lap record, the imminent champs clocked the new mark of 1:15.209 and slipped underneath to take the lead, while the Team ARC LCR lost its undertray before its battery went astray, allowing Holden/Cain and the Lowthers to lock out the podium.
The defending champs admit they’re delighted with their third title, but admit it has been far from smooth sailing this season between their road and short circuit exploits.
“After our second championship, we engaged with Dave DeMott from DDM Sidecars and agreed to ride his DDM chassis which he built specially for us for the 2018 season,” Founds told UK Clubsport.
“The season started slowly as we were trying to understand how the bike was handling. And we were perhaps a bit distracted by the forthcoming TT, as some of the setups we were trying would not suit both roads and tracks, but it was a necessary evil to try both set ups.
“It was also clear that our opposition this season had also upped their game, and it was definitely tougher than the previous two seasons, as we found ourselves on the back foot for the first half.
“The TT was fantastic though and to better our personal best and lap at over 114mph on a brand new bike is testament to the chassis. But the real turning point for us was the Southern 100, and after an epic battle with world championship contenders Alan and Jake Lowther, we seemed to have taken a leap forward with the handling.”
“This was reflected with double wins at Donington and Castle Combe following what can only be described as the closest and most exhilarating racing, and running close to or below lap record pace.
“We are massively pleased with our third title and we acknowledge it could have been a lot closer and gone down to the wire had the DNFs of our rivals not played a part. But again this is only testament to the reliability and performance of the DDM chassis and our Motrac-tuned Suzuki engines.”
*Main image: Ste McNorton
*Action images: JTW Motorsport Photography