TT winners dominate sidecar season opener

Isle of Man TT winners John Holden and Andy Winkle in action (John Mushet)

Isle of Man TT winners John Holden and Andy Winkle got their 2013 campaign off to the best of starts, dominating the opening rounds of the British F2 Sidecar Championship.

The Snetterton circuit was hit by snow during qualifying for the weekend’s event, but, despite the conditions, Holden and Winkle produced a scintillating pole lap, just over a second outside the lap record.

Conrad Harrison and Lee Patterson lined up 2nd on the grid.

In race one on Saturday Holden and Winkle used their pole to lead off the line from Harrison/Patterson, with Ian and Carl Bell 3rd ahead of Dougie Wright and Martin Hull. Tony Baker and Fiona Baker-Milligan were up to 5th, after starting 10th, at the end of lap 1, just ahead of Dave Atkinson and Phil Knapton.

The top 6 remained the same until lap 6, when the outfit of Holden and Winkle came around alone - the pursuing Harrison having dropped a valve - followed by Bell and Wright, with Baker, Atkinson and Frank Lelias behind. Lelias soon moved ahead of Atkinson for 4th, which became 3rd when Wright retired with an overheating problem.

Holden, Bell and Lelias took the podium places, Holden and Winkle taking the lap record, and Atkinson pipped Baker for 4th.

Sunday’s race two once again saw the outfit of Holden and Winkle lead off the line and start to build a gap, setting another new lap record second time around to lead Bell by 1.5 seconds. Harrison held 3rd, with Gary Bryan and Jamie Winn in 4th.

By the end of lap 6, Holden’s lead was 4.5 seconds over Bell, who had regained 2nd from Harrison with Bryan just behind in 4th. Lelias was 5th, although regularly swapping places with Atkinson, while Baker held 7th.

Holden took the win by 5.5 seconds, but on the penultimate lap, Bell went wide at Brundle and Harrison and Bryan were close enough to take advantage and make the podium.

After the opening two races of this year’s 14-race championship, Holden leads with 50 points from Bell (33), Lelias (26) and Atkinson (24).

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