Downham’s sporting brothers Elliot and Scott Ryan travelled to the Luton & District MCC-hosted fourth round of the 2015 MAXXIS ACU British Sidecarcross Championships at the Old Park Farm circuit near Toddington in Bedfordshire on Sunday.
They looked for a top ten finish that has been beckoning as they have progressed in their first full season at senior level. On a well-prepared track, recent rain looked as if dust control was not going to be an issue. Just before the team went out for practice/qualifying, the rain started.
Elliot had visibility issues with his goggles and the tear off system which resulted in an early pit stop for a new pair of goggles. The duo registered a steady 13th in a field of some 28.
The rain began falling quite heavily when the gate dropped for the start of the opening race. The brothers had decided on a strategy of not aiming to get up to the first corner quickly but hang back and avoid the crashes.
The gamble paid off as they picked their way through the field, as conditions very quickly became worse. The track became virtually one line and overtaking was becoming very difficult, and the brothers were jostling for 10th/11th place, picking the better lines to maintain traction as best they could.
They finished in 11th place and there were only 13 finishers.
With outfits stuck around the track the clerk of the course had a meeting with the top five riders and it was agreed that on safety grounds the two remaining races should be cancelled.
The pit crew were concerned that with the build up of mud on the Honda powered outfit, there was a serious danger of overheating. Elliot indeed could not operate his rear brake pedal for much of the second half of the race due to mud. The decision may well have saved a large expense in having to rebuild or replace the engine.
Elliot said: “The mud is a great leveller of men in the MX World. You either cope or die trying!”
The brothers now sit in a very creditable 20th position in the championship. The penultimate round is due to take place at the Halstead Club’s Little Loveney Hall circuit on September 6.
The brothers would like to thank sponsors, pit crew and supporters particularly those who braved the dire conditions.