Sunflower Trophy Races, From Passenger to Driver
“Originally enjoying the spills and thrills of sidecar racing as a passenger I saw the light and decided driving was my forte and Robinson Racing was born.”
Making his Irish debut at the Sunflower Trophy Races is Formula 2 sidecar driver Simon Robinson and his passenger Phil Gravel.
Now living in Haltwhistle ,the civil engineer has just finished his second season as a sidecar driver although he did passenger a few years ago.
Maybe as he is enjoying his racing more, since he took to the hot seat, Simon has made good progress so far.
“I got to a point that I knew that if I didnt give racing a go I probably never would. I’ve got the support of my family and friends and some great sponsors that meant getting started was a lot easier than it could have been.”
His first outing was at a busy East Fortune. so he was literally thrown in at the deep end a bit ,but with sheer determination, came out of it raring to get back out racing again as soon as possible.
And since his first race, how has the Northerner got on?
“ I’ve learnt a lot since that first meeting and took my first win at Cadwell Park in October 2017. That meant that starting 2018 I was confident that we could build on those results and had changed from a Windle to an LCR. 2018 has been a great year and the podium spots and trophies have become a more regular thing. The good results have meant that we have won the Melville Club Championship and come joint second in the Melville Open Championship. We have also won the Marin Sidecar cup this year.
At a difficult last meeting of the season at East Fortune with a mechanical problem in race one and then the unit catching fire in race 2 we went out to race on the Sunday from pole position and came home in second position and secured the Scottish Sidecar Racing Club Championship.
Not knowing how this year would unfold it’s good to see that at the end of this season we’ve won the Marin Cup, we’re Melville Club champions, Melville Club F2 champions, and runners up in the NEMCRC championships.
Our success is down to many factors. The highly talented and experienced passenger Phil Gravel who joined the team early in the season, combined with the financial support from all our sponsors (24 Seven Courier Services Ltd, Johnston Engineering, Whiplash Racing, Jason Robley Ltd – agricultural engineer contactor, RTU optical, Crooks Suzuki, Norwest Engineering and Cubby’s signs) and the unstinting amount of time and help from family and friends have all contributed to the success of Robinson Racing. A big part of our team success is the quality and craftsmanship of our engines (RS600) and thanks go to Tony Baker and his team for this. The engines were put through their paces in wet and dry conditions and under stress and fierce competition and they held up well.
Next season could see us competing in the FSRA championships which would be another challenge.
In the meantime we’re looking forward to coming to race at the Bishopscourt Circuit.
This is my first time at the Sunflower meeting and i’ve heard really good things about it. I always want to improve my racing and learning how to race at different tracks helps with that. I’m keen to show that I can adapt to new circuits.
I’ve got a great group of people around me and I couldnt do it without them. Mam and Dad are a huge help as well as the rest of my family and my girlfriend Emma for putting up with the long hours in the garage and the travelling to races. Also big thanks to Phil Gravel for joining me as my passenger this year. I’d also like to thank my sponsors for believing in me and helping to make this possible, 24/seven courier services, Johnston Engineering, Whiplash Racing, Jason Robley Agricultural Engineering, Cubby Sign Studio, RTU Optical, Norwest Engineering and Crooks Suzuki.
Looking ahead to next year, We hope To continue getting good results and standing on the top step more often. I’ve done a lot in my second year of racing but that doesnt mean that I’ll be easing off in 2019. There’s lots of hard work to do between now and then but I’m ready for it.
Race Schedule for Sunflower Trophy Races
The 41st Sunflower Trophy Race meeting takes place this Friday and Saturday. With continued sponsorship from Jim Finlay, this unique end of season short circuit has yet again attracted a top class entry. Timed Practice will start on Friday morning at 9.15 am
Race Timetable –
1. Pre Injection & Cup Non-Qualifiers 8 Laps
2. Superbike Pro Race 1 10 Laps
3. Superbike Cup / Supersport Cup & F1 8 Laps
4. Young Guns Challenge / Junior Cup 7 Laps
5. Moto 3 / 250GP 8 Laps
Race Timetable – Saturday
Stewards Meeting 8.00am to 8.30am
Riders Briefing 8.45am
Warm Up – 9.15 am 1. Superbike 2. Supersport
Saturday Race Programme
1. Lightweight Supersport 8 Laps
2. Young Guns Challenge / Junior Cup 7 Laps
3. Supertwins / Prod Twins 8 Laps
4. Moto 3 / 250cc GP 8 Laps
5. Supersport Pro 10 Laps
6. Superbike Cup / Supersport Cup & F1 8 Laps
7. Superbike Pro Race 2 10 Laps
8. Sidecars 8 Laps
9. The Sunflower Trophy Race 12 Laps
10. Pre Injection & Cup Non-Qualifiers 8 Laps
11. S/Twins / P/ Twins (Junior Sunflower Trophy Race)
8 Laps 12. Supersport Pro
10 Laps 13. Lightweight Supersport 8 Laps
14. Sidecars 8 Laps
Sunflower Trophy Practice Schedule ( All sessions Timed)
1. Pre Injection
2. Production Twins
4. Superbike Cup & F1
5. Superbike Pro 1
6. Young Guns Challenge / Junior Cup
7. Supersport Cup
8. Supersport Pro
9. Lightweight Supersport
10. Moto 3 / 250cc GP
11. Superbike and Superbike Cup Qualifiers
12. Supertwins / Production Twins Qualifiers
13. Supersport Pro plus Cup Qualifiers
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