HARRY Payne and Mark Wilkes were crowned British F2 Sidecar Cup champs at Croft’s Battle of Britain last weekend after splashing to class victory.
Despite having to learn a new circuit and being forced to watch race two from the sidelines, the duo lifted the F2 Cup title with a round to spare after their nearest rivals fell short.
Within five laps on the North Yorkshire track, Payne and Wilkes were 1.5sec under the Cup class lap record and only 0.8sec off the outright mark, but as the weather set in any hopes of improvement were dashed as they notched up P2 in practice and second in qualifying.
Lining up alongside now-Super F2 class champs Lee Crawford and Scott Hardie, the KelProperties.im GP-F2 squad narrowly averted disaster on the warmup lap as their wheel arch became partially detached and was flapping in the wind.
They rushed into pit lane to make a repair and despite being forced to start the race after the last bike had passed the pit exit, the Yamaha-powered bike was past 10 other outfits by the end of lap one.
Moments later, however, the race was red flagged due to the #71 bike of Schofield/Colbrook being stuck in the gravel at turn one. With a complete rerun, Payne and Wilkes were gifted their original grid slot on the front row and as the lights went out, they slotted straight into second where they remained for the entire race – grabbing the Cup victory and second overall.
With what they thought was simply a finish needed on Sunday to wrap up the title, it looked like smooth sailing for the points leaders until an immediate clutch issue off the line looked to put an end to proceedings – or so they thought…
“Gutted was an understatement,” Payne revealed, “but after going to turn one to watch, I did the maths and quickly realised Stockton/Stockton had to win the race to take the championship to Knockhill.
“They were in second place at the time and fortunately for us that’s where they stayed. So we wrapped it up from behind the fence!
“We’d just like to say a massive thanks for all the local support we have had this year, especially from KelProperties.im who have made this championship possible.
“We have some big plans for next year and I’m looking forward to announcing that soon.”