PETE Founds and Jevan Walmsley extended their British F2 Sidecar Championship lead this weekend, splitting wins after Lee Crawford and Scott Hardie nabbed a heroic victory.
The Team ARC duo fell to third in the championship after race one this weekend, but by the time the outfits packed up at the end of round three, they had regained second in the standings after winning from the ninth row of the grid.
Following a first and a second place at Mallory Park alongside EMRA this weekend, the Team Founds duo has pulled an extra 20 points over the pursuing FSRA F2s, putting the DDM Suzuki a total of 30 points clear of Crawford and Hardie in the title chase.
While Founds and Walmsley powered to pole nearly a second ahead of John and Jake Lowther early Sunday afternoon, Crawford and Hardie suffered issues that put them back on the seventh row.
When the lights went out for race one it was the Lowthers who nabbed the early lead, but the pole-sitters soon made a pass for first and by lap two they were already stretching a gap as Sean Hegary and James Neave slotted into third, ahead of Ramsden boys Steve and Matty and Crawford and Hardie in fifth.
But the Croft double-winners soon retired with engine problems, promoting the Windle outfit of Mike Jackson and Harry Payne to fifth as the race began to string out.
At the front, Founds/Walmsley powered across the line after 15 laps with a three-second advantage, while the Lowthers cruised home in second with Hegarty/Neave some seven seconds back in the final podium spot.
The rostrum finish put Hegarty and Neave into second in the standings on Sunday evening as Team Founds continued the charge with another 25 points.
With their machine issues seemingly sorted, Crawford and Hardie looked on for a flyer as they led yesterday morning’s warm-up session ahead of Conrad Harrison and Andy Winkle. But the Suzuki-powered duo had a tough task – they were starting from 17th in race two.
And with a reverse grid system in place, the Team Founds boys sat in sixth on the grid as Ralph Remnant and Samantha Tilley took pole beside Gordon Shand and Frank Claeys.
But it was Hegarty and Neave who grabbed the early advantage, leading Founds and Walmsley as the leaders pulled out to a two-second gap over the chasing pack after just two laps of 20.
Further back, however, Crawford and Hardie had made it up to fourth by lap four as they began chipping away at the Lowthers in third. And on lap 10, they made a pass to slot into podium contention – but they weren’t finished yet.
They pushed Hegarty/Neave back to third on lap 12 and by lap 13 they had made their way past the front-men to take the lead.
And while Crawford and Hardie couldn’t quite pull a gap, they held off Founds and Walmsley for another few laps to take the win and move back up into second overall in the championship. Daryl Gibson and Ashley Moore took the F2 Cup honours in fifth overall after Remnant and Tilley took the win on Sunday.
Team Founds stretches its lead in the FSRA’s Super F2 class standings to 130 points, with Team ARC on 100 and Hegarty/Neave nipping at the heels of second on 97.
*Main and bottom images: Neil Kirby
*Top side image: Dirk Wharton