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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 215

Date:- 22 August 2005

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Solo and Sidecars Motorcycles at Aintree MC Racing Club
Report by C Trollope and Photographs by P Trollope

IT was a wet and windy morning when we set out to see the Road Race Meeting at Aintree on Saturday 13 August 2005. The aim of the day was to learn more about a local racing team... I was very dubious about enjoying it because of the appalling weather, but that was soon dispelled. The rain changed from drizzle to coming down in sheets and back again all day, but I found, to my great delight, that the excitement and friendliness of everyone put the weather onto a back-burner! We met up with a most enthusiatic and charming lady biker, Claire Hopkins of PCG Sidecar Racing from Southport. The team is in it's first year and are interested in finding more sponsors, for their expensive sport. At present the team are primarily backed by a firm called Floor 2000, who have given the team a huge start, but they now need extra help. Claire is the passenger and her partner, Paul Hauxwell is the driver. Paul told us that it was a family tradition to race as his father was a racer, and that his brother, Craig, is one too. They both ride Yamaha 600's. Claire started to go to 'bike meetings with a boy friend in her early teens, and got bitten by the 'bug'. She does her best to obey her dad, who always tells her to be careful! Her son, a wise young man, told me, in confidence, that he only came to help and did not want to ride. Paul and Claire were riding their Formula 2 Pro Speed Yamaha 600, which sounded really on song. Clare Hopkins said:- "The weather was not good and I think that kept a lot of the spectators away, however we were pleased with our result and times, all things considered. It made the race far more fun to watch and also to partisipate in though."

Also racing was this year's (Isle-of-Man) IOM Sidecar Champion Team of Dave Molyneux and Daniel Sayle, under number 2, in their Yamaha 600 Formula 2. It was interesting to see our number 15 team, Paul and Claire, racing against this experienced team and so many other highly rated and ranked teams! As the track was very wet there was no qualifying race for them and some other solo classes, so they drew for places on the starting grid. They completed the race a very commendable 7th position out of 21!

The solo races were very exciting and extremely interesting, as we watched the tactics and skill of the riders in the trying wet conditions, which, at times, caused visibility problems. There were only two incidents of note at our corner. Incidently, it comes at the end of the start straight. Our editor and photographer Patrick was, yes... once again wiping rain off his camera lens, as the rain was coming down so hard that it got through the water proof cover, when a bike came off instead of going left. The biker shot past us on the grass, disappeared behind the bushes, and then reappeared coming back on the other side of the bushes, skidded and fell into the bunker as he tried to battle back onto the course some 10 to 15 meters away! His front break wire had slipped out of the break grip on the handle bars! I was filming with a cam recorder and got a smashing record of the event, I thought, but on checking, I had a very good picture of straw bales, a broom and grass! The other exciting event on the corner was when a rider, lost his footing on his bike, and the bike laid-down onto the tarmac. I was changing my position, so I only had a shot of the sky on the video, and yes' our photographer was once more cleaning his lense! Oh dear, the joys of wet weather racing videoing and photography! However, we both managed some good shots and footage, so all was not lost. You can see the video footage very soon on Liverpool Reporter's TV section.

I must make a special mention of thanks not only to Claire and Paul for a grand day, but also to the marshals on the inside of the circuit at the left-hand corner (Kevin, Jeff, Brian and Peter in particular). I would also like to say well done to Maghull, St John Ambulance who came out in force, despite the weather. It was also nice to meet Jeff and Caroline Buckley who had number 25 on their side-car. Patrick and I look forward to another meeting sometime in the future and we will have a very special report soon about the couple... Interestingly the following day, the team was at Donnington and it was a great day for the Southport based team. The sun shined on us and the grid was full but that did not stop Dave Molyneux & Dan Sayle who broke the track speed record with an average speed of 92.44 miles per hour... WOW!  Paul Hauxwell and Clare Hopkins were doing an average of 80.61 mph and I can tell you that is dam fast!!!!!!  They told us that:- "We were on grid in 14th position in the 2nd race and came 7th out of a grid of 31 outfits. It was a mega race. It was the most F2's ever to be seen at Donnington, with two classes, in our race classic 350's and F2's. We came 6th in our class, there was one 350 in front of us." Clair added:- "What a result. I still have not taken the grin off my face!"

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