WA welcomed a new sidecar team to the ranks at the second round of the Historic Club Championships on the 26th-27th May at the Collie Motorplex. The team by far the youngest in the State with a combined age of just 47 years, hadn’t turned a wheel in anger until last weekend, the only other time on the bike was at the RAC track in Bunbury purely to make sure hand grips suited Chelsea and not much more than that.
Full of confidence in their own ability they were Collie bound early on Saturday morning with the Rick Hanger Racing (RHR) short F1 machine in the trailer. This machine was previously used by Jero Joyce, former Australian Sidecar Champion with Corey Blackman and current WA Champion.
It was to be a baptism of fire with four of the hardest chargers going around and a string of Historic outfits making up the field. But despite the weather which was at best miserable and at worst down-right atrocious the pair set about getting down to business.
The outfit which was impeccably prepared by Rick, had to run a 16 year old ‘Cut Slick’ on the front and slicks on the rear and the chair as their other tyres didn’t arrive in time for the event, but that didn’t deter either of them, and they set about using the available practice time to full advantage, gaining valuable track time and settling themselves with the outfit.
I should point out that Dillan comes from a family steeped in WA motorsport history. His Grandfather Billy and his Uncle Garry and not forgetting his Dad who has so many State Motorcycle Racing Titles, I have lost count, were all champions of the sport and Chelsea herself comes from a Go-Kart background.
On Saturday evening I sat down with both Dillan and Chelsea and had a bit of a chat. I started by asking Dillan about his return to racing?
Dillan: As you know I have had a few issues of late and on reflection the last time I was really happy was back in 2012 when Dad and I were racing sidecars together. And that was the key really to getting me back to training again and getting fit. And Rick gave us a great opportunity to go racing with the short F1 outfit.
Chelsea and Dillan met through a mutual friend and it was then that Dillan found out that Chelsea had a Go-Kart background and was keen to get back into racing again, and the rest is history. Dillan is a Toyota Technician by trade and began his love affair with bikes at 4 years of age on a PW50, by the age of 7 he was riding junior MX, and that led to junior road racing on a 125GP machine and from there to Sidecars as a passenger for his Dad in 2012 where they finished as runners-up and again as a passenger with Phil Brown doing the driving in 2014. Chelsea is a Vet Nurse by trade and began to race Go-Karts in 2010 and had to stop after five years due to work commitments and really just wanted to get back into racing again “because it’s what I know and what I love.”
Having missed the first round of both championships the pair thinks they will be capable of finishing on the podium before season’s end. Given what I will tell you shortly, just how prophetic was that statement!!
The long term dream is to get as much experience as possible in WA before they would like to have a chance over East and from there possibly go overseas as they have age on their side.
Sunday race day and the weather was much the same as Saturday early on as all classes went out for qualifying. When is it was the sidecars turn Dillan and Chelsea turned in a very creditable time which saw them fourth on the grid.
Race 1 and a reasonable start turned to disaster on the exit of Turn 2 with the outfit spinning into the dirt leaving the duo in last place. Undeterred they fought their way back through the field to finish 8th in the race and fifth in their class.
Race 2 not wishing to repeat the error of race 1 they started a little cautiously and dropped a few places before finishing strongly aided by the retirement of Des Harvey/Ian Menmuir and finished in third place in the class.
The final race was a cracker with Joyce/Blackman getting a shocking start and Watson/Watson and McDermott/Leonard battling away at the front. Eventually Joyce/Blackman came through to win and with a late pass on the Watson’s Dillan and Chelsea came through to take second place in the race and third place on the podium for the day. The podium was a trifecta for RHR with Joyce/Blackman on the top step, Stronach/Marshall second and McDermott/Leonard third. They also set the fastest lap time of the final race for Sidecars with a lap of 58.6630seconds on the final lap of the race.
A great start to their sidecar racing careers.
Article and Images courtesy of John Innes-Innesphotografix
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