Whitby sidecar racer Dave Atkinson and his passenger Mike Aylott arrived at Cadwell Park for the third round of the British Championship.
The duo, competing as Team AWR, still battling to complete the set up of the team’s new LCR 600cc outfit and get all the components running. Team AWR have always enjoyed racing at Cadwell Park so once the parts had been fitted, the team were ready to race.
The plan for the early part of the season was always to optimise the development of the team’s new sidecar outfit. This would enable them to be more competitive once the championship resumed after its summer break at the Isle of Man TT.
Hands had been shaken on a done deal for a replacement engine, with Gary ‘The Superstar’ Bryan. After mapping had been entered into the replacement electronics the motor sprung into life.
This was a major achievement for the team as faulty electronics caused the loss of motor during the first meeting of the year.
Dave and Mike took to the track for the qualifying session and managed a strong seventh best time. Both were happy although the bike showed some disturbingly high oil temperatures.
Now the outfit was achieving a higher speed it became evident that a stronger spring I the rear Nitron shock unit would be required.
The boys made a fine start in the race, working their way up to sixth position but due to the suspension problem the outfit was easy prey in the left hand corners and they were being easily passed.
However fate raised its ugly head again and AWR’s race was cut short. While dicing for position a fellow competitor made an ill-judged lunge and forced the AWR outfit off the tarmac and on to the grass in one of the fastest areas of the circuit. The wheel arch, damaged in the contact broke loose and became trapped under the sidecar wheel. Once the outfit was returned to the paddock and the damage assessed Dave and Mike were happy to find that the damage was limited to the wheel arch and the flat spotted tyre.
Monday brought a mixture of caution and enthusiasm at the thought of another 14 laps. Again Dave and Mike made a fast get away as the lights went out only to be caught and passed on the left hand bends once again, gradually slipping down the order to a finishing place of ninth.
Completing the race in a time of 21:01.26 this was 38.86 seconds behind first place. AWR’s best lap was 1:41.61 at a speed of 77.63 mph.
This was an achievement the team were happy with, taking into consideration the high temperature the engine was running at, well in excess of 170 °C. AWR now have time for another period of development and adjustments ahead before round four at Donington Park in July.