ROB Fisher and Rick Long stretched their flawless run of form in the FSRA Lane Building Services Pre-Injection Sidecar Championship at Donington Park this weekend.
While the F1 wins went to Joey Heys and Gary Wheeler, the former of whom is celebrating his 50th season of racing this year, the F2-mounted points-leading duo picked up a hat-trick this weekend to extend their win streak to seven on the bounce.
Near-perfect conditions proved a contrast to that of a soggy round two at Oulton Park, as teams headed to Donington for the third instalment of the championship this weekend.
For the first time this season both the ACU/FSRA British Championship and the Pre-Injection Sidecar Championships both appeared at the same event, and were joined too by the NG club sidecar teams – filling Paddock Three with a total of 58 outfits, including the PI series’ largest grid of the year so far at 10 F2s and six F1s.
In the opening F2 battle Fisher and Long took a convincing victory, demonstrating not only their riding capability, but also their impeccable preparation, setting a standard all others can only aspire to. The chasing F2 pack however were incredibly closely matched as Jody and Reece Sims took second, with their team-mates Hayley Christie and Matthew Sims taking the final podium place.
Less than a second behind and claiming fourth were brothers John and Doug Chandler while Alan Longshaw and Derek Salleh just held onto fifth place from sixth placed Andy and Joanne Thomas. The new all-ladies pairing of Marianne Walford and Janet Tyrell finished seventh.
Crossing the line just behind Fisher and Long came F1 class winners Heys and Wheeler. In second, sporting the colours of their new sponsors Wintec Racing were Wes Pettman and Andy Haynes. Taking the third place F1 were the two Steves – Alexander and Woolcott. But in a race of attrition, the other three F1 outfits retired with mechanical failures.
It was another victory for Fisher and Long in race two, but this time the brothers Chandler worked hard to take second place after a close scrap with both of the Graphic Racing outfits. Third place went to the father and son Sims pairing ahead of Christie and Sims, the Thomases, Longshaw and Salleh and Walford and Tyrell.
Meanwhile, successful repairs overnight boosted the F1 grid back to full strength, with all entered teams back on track. Heys and Wheeler once again dominated while Simon Horton and Paul Bailey put a disappointing opening day behind them to take second place, demoting team-mates Pettman and Haynes to the bottom step of the podium.
Dave Tibbles and Raitch Greenwood bagged fourth ahead of Lee Chadwick and Steve Fairclough, as a coming together with another machine forced Alexander and Woolcott to retire during the race.
Fisher and Long kept their perfect win record intact as they completed their hat-trick in the final, while Christie and Sims were the third different runners up in the class in as many races. The Sims duo was third, with the Chandlers fourth, chased home by the Thomases ahead of Longshaw and Salleh and Walford and Tyrell.
Heys and Wheeler were once again first F1 to the chequered flag, with Team Wintec’s Horton and Bailey second while third went to Pettman and Haynes. Tibbles and Greenwood also repeated their fourth place finish while repairs to the body work got Alexander and Woolcott back on circuit where they took fifth. But teething troubles for Chadwick and Fairclough forced them into retirement as they continue to develop their F1 outfit.
With the current on-hold position of Aintree MRC, the 15 June round has been axed and the next round will now be at East Fortune on 13 and 14 July.
*Main image: Dirk Wharton
*Side images: Haydn Wyatt