Racers back in two and three-wheeled action

Fans may still be banned – but there has still be plenty of action, on two and three wheels, over the last few weeks to keep the region's riders and their teams entertained.

Shropshire has been well represented across a number of classes and club championships as the season continues to throw up plenty of thrill and spills.

Sidecar passenger Tom Bryant, from Shrewsbury, and diver Tommy Philp were back racing over the weekend as the RKB-F1 Molson Group British Sidecar Championship went north of the border to Knockhill in Scotland for round three.

Philp and Bryant were looking to improve on the first two rounds where they had suffered a DNF each time.

And despite a few set up problems, a misfire and low revs, qualifying on Saturday went well.

Philp and Bryant put their sidecar outfit in seventh place on the grid for both races and with good weather on Sunday they were looking to get a positive start to consolidate their grid position.

It was not long before they were in a battle the Christie brothers, TT winner John Holden and Jake Lowther, and Lee Crawford and Scott Hardie.

Two of the sidecar outfits proved too strong but they finally managed to get past local expert Crawford and Hardie to claim sixth at chequered flag.

Race two was pretty much the same as they made a good start and were very quickly involved in a three-way battle for fifth place before spinning out at the hairpin, which dropped them back down the field.

Despite a valiant comeback there was not enough time to recover and they crossed the line in eighth place, which also moved them up to eighth in the championship.

Donington Park played host as Team Morgan Racing returned to action for the first time in 2020, following a 15-month lay off after making their debut at the Isle of Man TT.

Brothers Kevin and Steve Morgan, from Ruyton-XI-Towns, had always planned on taking a step back after the TT – but with cornavirus hitting the break was longer than expected.

"After such a long break, we had modest expectations for the weekend, using it simply to have some fun and enjoy out racing," said Kevin.

"After the pressure of British championship and TT racing for the past few years –and with more than 30 bikes lining up for the Bemsee club race at Donington – we knew there would be plenty of competition."

But the weekend started far better than expected with the team qualifying in a very credible sixth place.

Kevin added: "We definitely weren’t expecting that. I had used the session simply to remember how to ride, but it came back pretty well.”

However, the lack of competitive action began to tell in race one as an overly cautious entry to the first corner saw the team slip back to eighth exiting Redgate corner for the first time.

But the Shropshire duo held on for most of the race before slipping back a further place following a good battle with fellow TT racer Dan Knight.

Technical brake issues in race two forced a retirement and a back row start from 15th but a blistering start saw Kevin and Steve scorch through the field on lap one, reaching 16th of the 33 starters.

Throughout the remainder of the eight-lap race, the brothers managed to climb to 11th place by the chequered flag.

Steve said: "We really enjoyed it. We had a lot of work to do from where we started on the grid, but the competitive edge kicked in and it felt like we had never been away.

"Myself, Kevin and the team would like to thank friends, family and sponsors for their continued support during these difficult times."

Multiple club racing champion Jon Wright, from Shrewsbury, was also back in action on the more two traditional two wheels at Cadwell Park with the N G Road Racing series.

And after enjoying a couple of track days prior to the meeting, at Oulton park and Donington Park, he said it "helped knock the surface rust off" as he stormed to four straight wins in the Streetstock and Pre Injection classes.

"My performance in qualifying was somewhat mediocre, meaning mid-pack start for the first couple of races, but maybe this was the kick up the backside I needed," he said.

Wright went on to win all three Pre Injections 1300cc races, each time after some great racing against class new boy James Welch.

Things were just as tough and nail-biting for the team in the Streetstock class, as two head-to-head races with Dave McKenzie resulted in a win each – with Wright taking his victory by just 0.051 seconds.

Wright said: "I didn't know who'd won until I saw my Emma and Lewis jumping up and down in the paddock.

"Dave raised the bar in the next. I'd a cracking start and led the way for the first couple of laps, but he powered past down the Park straight and quickly pulled a two-second gap.

"I pushed hard but a couple of front end warning slides couldn't be ignored so a safe pace for second was the better option.

"The first four races went really well. Battling through the field with jangled nerves was exhilarating and it felt great to be back on the bike, even in such difficult conditions.

"To win four on the bounce was unexpected and the question of a clean sweep was tentatively raised.

"My last race of the weekend was run at a fast pace. Shadowed by Welch, there was no margin for error and I defended the lead to the line.

"I was very happy with the weekend results but unfortunately James suffered a crash whilst pushing hard in a following race and broke his leg badly.

"Thankfully he's on the road to a full recovery and we wish him well."

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