After an absence of 9 years the British Sidecarcross championship returned to Desertmartin, near Magherafelt, in Northern Ireland hosted by the North Armagh MCC. The track preparation was excellent and the overall presentation was as it should be for a championship event. It was a shame the weather didn’t bless the occasion with more sunshine but that’s out of our control.
In timed practice the drama started right near the beginning for Brett Wilkinson / Dan Chamberlain when their Mega engine failed after a couple of laps. They weren’t able to replace the engine before the end of the session and therefore without a posted time they would be starting from the back row in the three championship races.
The fastest time was posted by the local team of Gary Moulds with his new passenger, the vastly experienced, Steve Kirwin. Defending champion Stuart Brown with his new passenger Joe Millard was second fastest with another local team, Neil Campbell / Craig Parmenter third.
When the gate dropped for race one Campbell took the holeshot from Moulds with Paul Pelling / Chris Pannell in third and Brown fourth. Wilkinson was up to 13th place by the turn two.
Brown passed Pelling on lap one and set off after Moulds. On lap three Moulds took Campbell and on the following lap Brown was past as well. Wilkinson was now up to sixth and closing on Emma Moulds / Niki Adair and David Keane / Liam Hodges. By lap six Wilkinson was up to fourth and this was how the four leaders remained to the flag. George Kinge / Ryan Humphrey rode a steady race to come home in fifth place.
Gary Moulds’ win was the first ever for an Irish rider and even more pleasing for him to do it on his home track at a meeting organised by his club!
When the gate dropped for race two just after the lunch break Moulds took the holeshot from Pelling and Kinge. Unfortunately a pile up at turn two left Brown, Wilkinson and a number of other teams well adrift when they got going again. This left Moulds with a clear run at the front from Pelling with Campbell now up to third. In only their second championship race Jake Brown / Matthew Connor were in fifth place.
By half distance Moulds was comfortable in the lead with Campbell second, Kinge third and Pelling fourth. Wilkinson was up to seventh and Brown just behind in eighth. The leading quartet stayed as they were to the flag whilst Brown finally got up to fifth with Wilkinson just behind.
Once again there was another first in this race which was the first time ever that two Irish teams had been on the podium.
In the last race of the day Moulds took the holeshot from Campbell with Brown third and Keane fourth. Brown passed Keane before turn two but behind them there was another coming together of a number of machines. Wilkinson managed to avoid the trouble and by the end of lap one was up to fourth. On lap two Brown passed Campbell and on the next lap he caught and passed Moulds to take the lead. His lead was short lived though when he drove into the back of a stationary machine and Moulds was able to ride round him to retake the lead. Brown dropped to fourth having been taken by Campbell and Wilkinson. After 15 minutes Wilkinson took the lead from Moulds. Just before the two lap board Brown passed Campbell and on the last lap he passed Moulds. Wilkinson took the win from Brown, with Moulds third and Campbell fourth.
At the end of an excellent days racing Moulds took the overall win from Brown with Campbell third and Wilkinson fourth. In the Experts class Moulds took the overall with Hodges / Ide second and Maguire / White third.
A brilliant day for the Irish particularly for Moulds not only being the first ever Irish race winner but also the first ever overall winner. The only negative for him was an injury to his right ankle which hopefully will be healed by round two at Blyth on 28th May.