Round 3 of the ACU FSRA British F2 Sidecar Championship saw the team head to the far reaches of North Wales to the Isle of Anglesey. A circuit Rob and Mark had only visited once before together back in 2019. The circuit known for its famous ‘Corkscrew’ set of corners and its picturesque setting by the coast takes the title of Wales’s national circuit.
As practice got underway in blustery conditions, the road was shared by the FSRA Pre injection Championship outfits and Club sidecars, with up to 35 crews battling for space. The RAF lads went out to jog their memories of the Welsh circuit and put in some fast laps, trying to gain a good foundation for qualifying later in the day. Clear space was always going to be a problem and the lads encountered slower traffic regularly, hindering lap times. Bringing home, a 3rd in class time.
As the teams set off for qualifying, the boys were still trying to polish off their practice laps and find the pace they had craved earlier in the day. Towards the end of the session, Team Founds #72 came underneath into the second corner and gave our #26 outfit a ‘tow’, rob trying to latch onto the back of the multiple British champion and TT runner up certainly gave the lap time the team were after, temporarily 3rd overall until Harrison/Winkle and Jackson/Roberts beat the time by 5 thousandths of a second, sealing 5th overall and 1st in class as the rain started to fall.
As a rain shower came and went the teams lined up on the grid around 5 o’clock with the wind still cutting across the track from the sea. As the lights went out, a great start by team RAF powered by Artic and a poor start by Jackson/Roberts saw the team test the outside line without success. This invited the interest of F2 Cup championship rivals Schofield/Colbrook and Ilaria/Brown who lined up close behind, in what would be a great 3-way fight lasting the entire race. Eventually the #71 machine of Schofield/Colbrook made their way around the outside of the RAF crew into the first corner as Rob was rolling off to avoid any potential accident on an oil spill patch. A battle then raged on for the next 5 laps and eventually the crew made it back past down the back straight and into the heavy braking zone at the top of the hill. With team Powerhouse breathing down both teams’ neck as ever they were putting in the best lap times and waiting to take advantage. That they did, on the last lap #71 was trying to make a last-ditch attempt to pass the RAF team and sadly parted ways with their passenger, meaning Championship chasers Ilaria/Brown from Powerhouse came home as runners up taking another 20 points to chase the RAF outfit down. The team were pleased to come out on top by the skin of their teeth and bank another 25 points towards the British Cup challenge. 1st in class, 4th overall.
Due to torrential rains and strong winds, Sunday’s racing was abandoned so the teams run of maximum points continues with 5 wins from 5. The RAF sidecar team would like to thank all the organisers of the Wirral 100 motor club, the marshals and staff, Anglesey trac mon and the FSRA for doing their best in challenging weather conditions. Thanks also go to all our sponsors, team members and individuals who make racing possible. Artic Building Services, Royal Airforce Motorsports Association, Atlantic Aviation Defence Services, Christie Engineering Services, Rod Bellas and of course our colleagues back at RAF Brize Norton.
The weekend was always going to be emotional with the sad loss of #27 Roger and Bradley Stockton at this year’s Isle of Man TT, F2 championship regulars and all-round great team who we have fond memories of racing for 2nd in the championship last season. No words can express the sad loss and the thoughts of all in the team were with the family and friends. A parade lap was organised to commemorate their lives and it really hit home that the sidecar paddock is such a special family.
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BRITISH F2 SIDECAR CHAMPIONSHIP
The RAF team of Rob Atkinson and Mark Middleton are based at Brize Norton airbase in Oxfordshire, famous the world over, and used as a set in the latest Bond film. Away from the excitement of Hollywood, the team get their adrenaline fix on the racetracks of the UK through a six-round, 13 race championship taking in Brands Hatch and Donnington Park before heading to Wales and Scotland later in the season. Further supporting race meetings are planned on the Isle of Man and Brands Hatch (again) so our staff and customers will have ample opportunity to see the team up close and in action.
Our sponsorship has enabled the team to significantly enhance the bike for the new season with a new engine, new ignition system and major chassis alterations. We are looking forward to joining and supporting the team in their quest to become British champions.