Knockhill 11/12 July 2009
After a one-month break, Team SLR, Scott Lawrie of Aberdour and James Connell of Townhill, were back in action. Having travelled to Oschersleben the previous week to take a second place in the Dutch Sidecar Championship, they were back at their local track Knockhill Racing Circuit in Fife for Rounds Five and Six of the Scottish Championship. At the start of the weekend's racing, the team were 25 points behind the Championship leader therefore they needed a good weekend to try to pull back the deficit. The two rounds were to be held on the Saturday, as the meeting was also a two- day round of the FSRA Castrol National Championship.
Qualifying took place early and was held in dry conditions. Despite Team SLR having trouble with a broken gear-change linkage they still managed to qualify in third place giving them an all important front row grid position. The Scottish Championship Rounds had been entered by a few of the National Championship teams and Team SLR's time was behind one of those teams and also behind the championship leaders Bill & Graeme Davie from Markinch. The Markinch team were also competing in the National Championship and in the first timed-practice their engine stopped working, therefore the team had to prioritise repairs over competing. This vital work was not completed in time for the first Scottish Championship Round. This was a chance too good for Team SLR to miss.
At the start of the race, Scott and James were into second place behind a National Championship runner and there they stayed to the fall of the checkered flag, closing the Championship points' gap to just five. The second race on Saturday afternoon counted towards the Knockhill Sidecar Race Trophy. A straight showdown between Team SLR and the Championship leaders who were ready to go with a new engine.
At the start, Scott was fastest away and took the lead into the first corner, a lead Team SLR were never to lose, winning by less than a second over the championship leaders. This gave Team SLR five-point advantage in the cup and lots to look forward to in the two races to come on Sunday.
With heavy overnight rain and lots of showers, Sunday morning was always to be a tricky day's racing, with the first race to count towards the championship points the second for the sidecar Trophy. As the time approached for the first race, the rain had stopped and the track was drying fast and last-minute decisions had to be made on what sort of tyres to use. Team SLR decided to go on wet grooved tyres for all wheels, although the track continued to dry and they could have been faster with a different tyre on the drive wheel. Scott and James were into second place and were soon down another place, behind the Championship leaders, then as the tyres began to affect their performance. Team SLR were back into second and although they couldn't catch the leaders, they came home in a very safe second place, nine seconds ahead of third place. The points scored now left them just one point behind the Championship leaders.
The second race was held on a dry track and was again to be a flag to flag victory for Team SLR winning by two seconds and winning the Sidecar Cup with Maximum points. Following the already successful weekend Scott and James managed to get a wild card entry to the National Cup Race. The team started right at the back of the field, but managed to finish in fifth place, which is a very creditable result and a good end to a fantastic weekend for the team. All seems set now for the teams next challenge where they take on the best in Europe next weekend 18/19 July at the East Fortune Race Circuit near Haddington.