British F2 Sidecar Championship set for the off at Cadwell Park
The 2008 Yokohama/ACU/FSRA British F2 Sidecar Championship kicks off at Cadwell Park on May 4-5.
This is the same venue where last year's championship had such an amazing finale in September when long-time leaders John Holden and Andy Winkle suffered a double engine blow-up resulting in their close rivals Simon Neary and Stu Bond taking both race wins and the title.
Both Neary, now with Jamie Winn in the chair, and Holden are bound to feature in this year's opener but it's far from being a two-horse race as the only other race winner from last year, three times TT winner Nick Crowe is contesting the whole series, and with the experienced Mark Cox alongside, will only be racing for race wins. And then there's the 'Reeves Factor'.
Tim Reeves, with his world championship winning partner Patrick Farrance, are contesting the Isle of Man TT for the first time, and if they use Cadwell as a 'warm-up' are likely to feature strongly – they did annihilate the F1 lap record last year!
As always, the F2 championship series will be packed with many experienced crews including ex-champions Tony Elmer and Darren Marshall – in good early season form, Gary Horspole, Roy Hanks and Ian Bell, who with son Carl in the chair, will hope to have his new LCR outfit ready to race.
Add in Tony Baker, Dougie Wright, Dave Wallis and Conrad Harrison – all more than capable of challenging for top six placings - it is obvious the demanding Lincolnshire track should see some fascinating racing.
Incorporated into the championship is the F2 Cup, contested by teams with a little less experience.
This concurrently-run series has seen Andy Laidlow and Patrick Farrance as its first winners back in 2002 and this year sees 18 of the 37 registered teams eligible to score points both in the F2 Cup and the overall championship.
The May start to this year's championship should have allowed all teams to be more than ready for this first round but the inclement weather coupled with many new driver-passenger pairings and new outfits will doubtless ensure that there are one or two surprises.
However, prominent in both terms of previous results and early season form are Steve Coombes and Gary Partridge who with extensive backing from Dave Hudspeth, will be hoping to score highly in both series.
Also with good early results have been Dean Henry and Ian Smith as well as Will Smith and Sean Starbuck. David Lillee, now with Lee Watson in the chair, Stephen Kershaw and Robin Wilson, and Alan Langton and Lee Cain are other crews likely to feature but it has always been a strength of this competition that it turns up stars of the future.
It will be interesting to see how high in the overall championship that the F2 Cup leaders are placed – don't be surprised if two or three are in the top ten.
Following Cadwell, the championship covers meetings at Anglesey, Donington, Castle Combe, Brands Hatch and Pembrey and with 10 races in all, including two at Cadwell, consistency from the start will be an important element in the destiny of this year's title.