Atkinson and Aylott get sidecar season under way

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Whitby sidecar racer Dave Atkinson and TT winning passenger Mike Aylott once again took to the track at Oulton Park for what promises to be a very busy season.

In mostly difficult conditions in what was a trying day for the organising Wirral 100 club, the track did not dry out until late afternoon for the start of the F2 British Sidecar Championship.

Forty outfits took part in the morning’s free practice session which included the club entrants.

The following timed 15 minute qualifying session saw the 27 championship outfits battle it out for grid position for the races. Six laps was the maximum that time allowed.

After last year’s full season of development and fettling, Atkinson and Aylott went into the qualifying session which was totally about tyre choice.

Choosing to ride on a set of ‘wets’ the pair qualified 17th just in front of last year’s champions Gary Bryan and Jamie Win.

This demonstrated just how mixed up the grid was.

The first race was rather a corker and the boys got an impressive start.

By lap three, they had moved up to ninth but a rather nasty incident involving Team ARC saw the race red flagged.

Lee Crawford, although visibly shaken, escaped relatively unscathed but Luke Capewell suffered a broken wrist and some damage to his back, but will mend with some time and surgery to his wrist.

Race two did not see such a great start but the race went the full distance. Atkinson and Aylott battled up to 12th, but the battle was more with the bike as a faulty valve in the chair tyre made for rather a challenging ride.

The pair were generally pleased with their performance, although the lack of track time this year was blindingly obvious.

Next stop is Silverstone, where Atkinson and Aylott hope to start to get back on a bit of pace.

They thanks Martin at MSP AutoPaint for the paint job , Knapton Tyres and Whitby Cottages for all their help too.

Race times

Race one

9th place finish

race time of 05:56.133

time difference from race winners 15.404

best lap time of 01:55.071

best race speed of 84.219 mph

A result was called after the incident on lap four and places awarded as after the completion of three laps and half championship points.

Race two

12th place finish

race time of 11:41.246 for the six laps

time difference from the race winners of 26.861

best lap time 01:54.552

best race speed 84.601 mph sasas