|Festival of Sidecars Meeting|
|Centre champions Nick Crowe and Darren Hope were the star performers of a large local contingent at Mallory Park's big Festival of Sidecars meeting on Sunday.
On a day which will be remembered more for the horrendously wet conditions than for spectacularly quick racing, it was indeed the Jurby pair who impressed most.
They won the first Formula Two heat to qualify for the main final alongside eventual winners Ian Bell and Neil Carpenter, but were cruelly denied a possible podium place when the drive chain of their 600 Yamaha snapped powering away from the start line. In the melee which ensued, the Manx pair were hit several times from behind, but miraculously while their outfit was damaged both men were unhurt.
Dave Molyneux and Chris Wedgwood were dicing for a top three finish in the second heat when water got into the works of their Honda and stopped them dead on the final lap.
Castletown resident Nigel Smith and passenger Geoff Smeale of Southport pulled off after the warm-up lap as they did not have suitable tyres to cope with the wet.
Smith kindly donated his petrol tank to Crowe and Hope to enable them to contest the Eastern Airways Race of Champions, and they went on to finish a fine ninth two places ahead of Molyneux and Wedgwood. Steve Abbott and Jamie Biggs won from newly crowned world champions Klaus Klaffenboeck and Christian Parzer.
Crowe/Hope had another fine ride to finish third in the handicap race behind Bell/Carpenter.
Eddy Toombs and Bob Dowty rode the 980 BMW to sixth in the classic race, which was a good result as it was not split into period one and two. Artie Oates and John Scarffe were 12th on Keith Christian's 930 IMP. Former Manx champions Brian and Neil Kelly sat out much of the meeting after one go at sliding round on cut slicks, while Brian and Julie Downey of Willaston flipped their outfit which landed on Julie's arm breaking her wrist.
Resident Kiwi Chris Lawrance and brother Richard were involved in a spectacular six-outfit crash at the Esses in the final race, which brought the meeting to an early conclusion.
Others competing included AlanLangton/Jamie Scarffe and Wal Saunders in the F2, Paul Kneale/Daniel Sayle in the classic, Dennis Proudman/William Joyce in the F350 and Dick Hawes on the 900 Busch BMW in the Forgotten Era.