Less than two hours’ sleep, but pair take on park race

Dave Atkinson of Whitby and his passenger Mike Aylott compete for Team AWR at Oulton Park
Dave Atkinson of Whitby and his passenger Mike Aylott compete for Team AWR at Oulton Park

Whitby sidecar racer Dave Atkinson and his passenger Mike Aylott faced a race against time to fix techical faults ahead of their latest British Championship races.

Early conditions at Cheshire circuit Oulton Park were challenging after heavy rain – the track was damp but drying fast in the blustery wind.

Team AWR in a race against time to rectify the issue which confronted them after the team’s first run out this season at Cadwell Park.

Atkinson and Aylott, along with the rest of the team, have battled to piece together the team’s new LCR. A fault in the wiring loom had to be corrected, collected and re installed into the outfit. The Motec ECU also required repairing and a replacement has been loaned.

The motor which destroyed itself in the first run out was also replaced with one loaned from a rival team.

All of these component parts had still not come together by the morning of the meeting. So with less than two hours sleep, Atkinson completed the challenge of rebuilding the outfit, and loaded it into the van, arriving at the circuit 20 minutes before the qualifying session started.

The remaining 22 outfits completed a practice session while the AWR outfit sped down the country roads to the circuit. With Aylott all ready and waiting in the paddock, scrutineer John Smith on hand to pass the outfit fit to race, noise tested and the team signed on ready to race. Team AWR won the first race with seconds to spare.

The qualifying session was cut short for the team as they suffered an overheating problem, which was overcome in the paddock when the team removed an air lock in the cooling system.

Completing four laps, achieving a position of 17th from 24 outfits, they entered in the races.

A tough battle ensued with the Hanks and Perry and the Lowther brothers. After swapping positions several times Team AWR were happy with a finishing position of 8th, knocking over a second off their best time of the day.

The heavens opened in the break between the two races with the tyre choice became the main subject of discussion in the paddock.

Fortune smiled upon the meeting and the blustery wind that had been a factor all day cleared the air and as the grid formed, the track had dried.

Another hard-fought seven lap race lay ahead of the 21 teams that made up the grid.

Team AWR got another flying start, driving off the line and around the outside of several outfits, passing the outfit of Hanks and Perry through the knickerbrock chicane.

A lap later a coming together with the Lowther brothers, whose outfit was suffering brake failure, used the AWR outfit ‘as brakes’ resulting in swapping of paint and slight damage to the gear linkage.

Thankfully it held together. Going into the first corner AWR out brake the outfit of Fisher and Long to gain another place, improving there best lap time by six-tenths of a second and finishing the race in a creditable eighth place.