Debutants Jen and Giles Stainton overcame their nerves to record a brace of top 10 results in the first round of the British F2 Cup Sidecar Championship series at Oulton Park.
Jen, of Team SAS, said: “Not only was it our first time at Oulton Park this year, but our very first race in the British championship.
“Our goal for the weekend was to not crash, get faster, not get lapped more than once and try not to come last.”
The Upton couple spent the test day reacquainting themselves with the track prior to qualifying, where they finished 20th out of 24 teams in a mixed grid of riders.
As the husband and wife team began their first race, run over eight laps, they were expecting to be at the back of the field, but were surprised to find themselves involved in battles with several other teams as they finished seventh place in their class and 16th overall.
Jen said: “Everyone says the British championship will drag you on and improve your lap times. There was proof of this when we saw the results, all with a best lap time of 1m 59s.”
The second race was scheduled to run over 10 laps of the Cheshire course but, after an incident at Cascades, the red flag brought proceedings to an early end.
The result was declared after eight laps and this time the team improved to sixth place in the cup and 14th overall.
Jen said: “We couldn’t stop grinning as we enjoyed the good, clean racing and the feeling of having learnt so much.
“Giles decided we needed a jaunt down to Mallory to race at the second round of the EMRA Championship.
“Conscious that we have a British round here later in the year and not being 100% comfortable at this track, we decided to use the day as practice.”
After qualifying 13th from 18 teams, the duo got away to a good start in the first race and finished seventh, setting a new personal best lap time of 1m 02s.
In the final race of the day they were eighth.
The Staintons, who said they were delighted with the start to the season, thanked their sponsors — Interfuse Ltd, MMC Agency, T&S Motors, Elite Signs, and Andrew and Vanessa Edwards.