FORMER British Supersport Championship rider Tommy Philp began his first season in sidecar racing at Brands Hatch last weekend.

Windsor-based

Philp

competed in round one of the F1 Sidecar Championship with Jonny Allum from Portsmouth in the chair of the Brian Gray Power-biking Team outfit.

The pair qualified in seventh position and started from the fourth row but, as the lights went out, they dropped a couple of places going into Paddock.

They were soon up to fifth however and progressing through a field that had British Championship crews and even multiple winner Dave Molyneux, with Harry Payne, in it.

With a display of riding that belayed his rookie status, Philp was soon up into third position behind Ryan and Callum Crowe, and Molyneux and Payne.

The pair crossed the line in third place at the end of 10 laps but, with the first two sidecars not eligible for the Championship, they took the win and started race two on the second row.

Race two was more of the same and, while the Crowe brothers set about consolidating their lead, Philp and Allum were starting to close up on the Manx pairing of Molyneux and Payne to take third overall and another win in the Championship.

Philp was highly complimentary of the Pro-shift quick shifter fitted to the outfit that allowed for smooth gear changes from a button on the left handlebar instead of a foot change.

The paddock was right in the path of a destructive wind on Sunday morning which meant a delay and people trying to get their awnings down before they took off.

Philp and Allum carried on where they left off on Saturday when racing did resume.

This time they were laying second overall and leading the Championship race when they had to make a pit stop due to a stone getting jammed in the front brake.

They rejoined in last place but managed to climb back into fourth position in their class and set the fastest lap of the Championship crews with a time of 52.924 seconds.

The second race on Sunday was another front row start and, with no Crowe brothers and a change of gearing, they were first into Paddock.

Philp and Allum not only increased their lead but were soon lapping the field to take the overall win and F1 win.

The fastest lap however went to an on-form Kevin Cable and Kyle Masters, who finished in second place.

Three wins and a fourth-placed finish, plus a fastest lap, was not a bad way to start the year for anyone, but for a rookie it was Christmas Day come early as they left the circuit leading the Sidecar Championship.