Team SLR Bishopscourt Friday Saturday and Kirkistown Monday

Team SLR was invited to take part in the Sidecar Irish Superbike Support Races at Bishopscourt, Northern Ireland at Easter time 2009. The team raced at Bishopscourt Racing Circuit on Good Friday 10 April and Saturday 11 April then onto Kirkistown Motor Racing Circuit for Easter Monday. Scott Lawrie of Aberdour and James Connell from Townhill were making their second trip to Bishopscourt and it was their debut race at the fast Kirkistown track. The weather stayed dry for all five the races although there was a strong cold wind.

The track was cold and still a bit wet from the overnight rain when the sidecars went out for the first session. Recorded times were slow and Team SLR were pleased to be the fastest at the end of the laps. The team knew they would have to improve to qualify on par with regular racers who knew the track well. In the timed-practice, Scott and James were held up at the start by some of the slower units, yet ended the session with a good flying lap, which had improved by four seconds on their earlier time. Scott and Jimmy qualified second to the expert and experienced local team of John Clarke and Stuart Graham.

The first race held on Friday afternoon showed a further improvement in lap times and even after a poor start Team SLR soon moved into second place and held it to the end. The next two races were held on Saturday and were to have the same outcome with a further small improvement in lap times. The team was happy with three good results and moved to the Kirkistown circuit for Monday racing, which consisted of two races on a circuit they had never raced on before.

The wind had dropped and the sun was shining as the sidecars took to the track for the warm-up session. Team SLR took things slowly to try to get used to the unfamiliar track and among the routine laps, did one fast lap, which was the third fastest overall. The team looked forward to qualifying for the races and true to form Scott and James performed above their expectations and performed the second fastest time of the day a four-second improvement and just 1.7 seconds behind the lap-record holders John Clarke and Stuart Graham on their home circuit.

Despite great starts and giving of their best in the two days' racing another brace of second places was the best anyone could hope to accomplish as John Clarke went on to set a new lap record in the first race and then beat that lap record in the second race. Scott, Jimmy, team support and sponsors were smiling and pleased with their second places. The outcome was exceptional: they had beaten a number of track regulars.

Next week the team heads to East Fortune, their favourite track just south of Edinburgh, for three rounds of the Scottish Sidecar Championships.

-credit: slr