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NSC lifeguard’s bid for F2 sidecar history 7 April 2011

RACING is in the blood of sportswoman Debbie Barron, who is aiming to become the first Manx born female F2 sidecar driver to compete in the Southern 100 and the TT.

Debbie BarronDebbie, 46, of Braddan, has been a senior leisure assistant at the National Sports Centre in Douglas for six years, prior to which was well known as the Director of Golf at Castletown Golf Links. But her passion is motorcycling and she has served 20 years as a deputy sector marshal of sector 2 for the TT and Manx Grand Prix course at Ballagarey.

Despite her interest in racing, she started competing just a year ago. Now she is appealing for more local sponsors – individuals or companies – to help her achieve enough racing signatures to enter the TT next year and make history.

Debbie explained:

‘I’ve always had a fascination with sidecars and should have started racing 20 years ago but it never happened. It was just a pipedream until October 2009. Following an accident, I had to have triceps and bicep reattachment along with sternumclavicular stabilisation and spent a lot of time recovering in the hyperbaric chamber where I got talking to Nicky Crowe. They had the pictures of other TT competitors on the walls which inspired me to get racing. I decided I wasn’t going to carry on talking about it, I had to do it.’

With advice from Sidecar TT champion Dave Molyneux, she invested £5,000 in a racing F2 sidecar from local sidecar crew Nigel Smith and Kris Hibbert. It was a 1998 Ireson chassis with a couple of ZX6R Kawasaki engines but one engine blew up in her second race at Jurby. She persevered, however, and received her National Road Racing licence in February this year, having obtained the necessary 10 signatures after competing in 12 meetings including events at Jurby GP and Club circuit, Anglesey International Race Track, Aintree Circuit and Mallory Park Sidecar Festival, where she finished 8th out of 18 competitors, her best result to date, in October 2010.

Now racing under the name Team Oscar because of her resemblance to the spiky haired cartoon character, Debbie’s passengers are her partner of 10 years, Stephen Cowin known as ‘Stig’, who is a chargehand mason in the Department of Education and Children works department, and a friend, Robert Lunt – nicknamed ‘Ghandi’.

Team Oscar achieve 8th place at Mallory ParkHon David Cretney MHK, Minister for Community, Culture and Leisure, said:

‘I wish Debbie and Team Oscar every success in achieving her ambition of being the first Manx born lady F2 sidecar driver to compete in the Southern 100 and the TT. I was fortunate to achieve my long held ambition of completing a 100mph lap in the 1998 Manx Grand Prix and I know how much teamwork and fund raising is involved in keeping a team on track. There’s a real family feeling among all those involved in motorsport on the Isle of Man and if anyone in the community wants to take a more direct interest then supporting Team Oscar is one way to do it.’

Team Oscar is focusing on the future. Debbie said:

‘Team Oscar is only as good as its passenger and its driver. One cannot work without the other, the trust has to be there. For example, he has to know what I am about to do before I do it and I need to know he has done it without looking or thinking about it. Also, we need the support and help from other people and that is where the word “team” evolved in Team Oscar.
‘We have a small but tight nucleus of friends who have helped us. You have to work as a team in this sport and I want us to be the team with the first Manx born F2 Sidecar female driver to compete in the Southern 100 and TT. I want to get off the sidecar with the passenger and have the biggest smile that hurts for a week.
‘I won’t be qualified enough to take part in this year’s TT but I am building up sector 2 marshals so I can be released next year! I am hopeful of competing in this year’s Southern 100.’
She continued:
‘Equally important to me is to have a legacy that I introduced a future Manx champion male or female into F2 Sidecar Racing. ‘I had to sell my most precious immaculate GSXR Suzuki motorcycle to finance this year’s engines. But can accept it knowing that it is the heart of "Oscar".’

Debbie is grateful for her current sponsors, Swift Motors, Douglas; the IoM Steam Packet Company for concessionary fares; Castle Cutz hairdressing salon and BJH Sprockets. Also, the Railway Inn, Union Mills, for monthly raffles towards fuel costs.

Debbie Barron racing with passenger Steve Stig CowinBut with racing costs including £800 needed for a rear suspension unit, race entry fees varying between £50 and £250, tyres at £600 a set and brake pads at £100 that last perhaps three or four meetings, every pound raised is gratefully received.

Team Oscar were in action for the first time this season March 12-13 at Mallory Park taking part in the Thundersport GB Euro F600 Series but it was a very disappointing debut due to mechanical problems.

Having made various changes to the machine herself, with the aid of another close friend in F2 sidecar racing, Debbie and Stephen then raced on March 20 and achieved a fourth place, two thirds and a second place at an Andreas Racing Association event on Jurby GP track.

Team Oscar are next away racing at Donington Park for the first time this weekend April 9-10, at the Thundersport GB Euro F600 Series, and will be hoping for much more respectable times and performance.

Individuals and businesses are welcome to sponsor them – any amount small or large gratefully received and will contribute to Team Oscar racing. Follow their progress on the Team Oscar Racing website.

Contact Debbie Barron on (07624) 483336 or via email:

Photos:

  • 1 Debbie Barron at work as a senior leisure assistant, pictured outside the NSC
  • 2 Team Oscar achieving 8th place at Mallory Park, October 2010
  • 3 Debbie Barron in action with Team Oscar passenger and her partner Stephen ‘Stig’ Cowin

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