A TURBULENT year is finally gathering pace for Crewe sidecar ace Roger Stockton.
The 40-year-old, from Capenhurst Avenue, has had a testing time in the FSRA/ACU Super F2 Sidecar Championship this year.
First, his long-term passenger Pete Alton fell ill and was unable to start the campaign. And when former sidekick Steve Ward stepped in, he suffered a horrific accident.
That left Roger struggling to make the main event of his season - the famous Isle of Man TT races.
But Pete recovered to help the pair qualify for the TT, and they notched their best ever results, with 13th and seventh place finishes in their two races.
Now the duo are picking up good form. They were the top performers at a club meeting at Darley Moor recently, and well on course for a top 10 finish in the Super F2.
HGV driver Roger explained: 'It wasn't a good start. Pete was ill, and Steve had a really bad accident which put everything into perspective.
'But he's OK now and Pete got back just in time. We have gone faster at the TT before, but the results were our best.
'We have ordered a new Baker chassis for next year, and we will have the latest Yamaha R6 injection as well, so we are building for that from now.
'There is still along way to go in the Super F2 and we want a top 10 finish. Then, with better equipment and more experience, we can really go for the title next year.'
In May, Steve, from Worleston, lost his footing and fell off the back of Rodger's Shelbourne-framed 600cc Yamaha R6 machine, at Darley Moor.
He was hit by another team as he lay on the floor, and suffered broken sternum, seven broken ribs, a punctured lung and injuries to his shoulder and back.
A worrying spell in intensive care put racing on the back-burner for Roger, but as Steve slowly recovered, Widnes businessman Alton, who owns their racing team, OTC Racing, was ready to go again.
They came first and second in two races at Darley Moor last time out, and are 10th in the Super F2 after two of the eight rounds. Next is a round at Croft on July 29 and 30.
Roger, who is supported by partner Alison Bushell, son Bradley, five, and six-month-old daughter Emily at all his races, said he is enjoying racing as much as ever.
Craig Beggs put in a super performance to stay in the top four of the National Superstock Cup over the weekend. The Wistaston rider took second place in Race One at Knockhill, and notched third in Race Two.
Crewe ace Stu Wilson suffered a broken collarbone as he crashed out in the practice round in the Superstock Championship at the same venue, and could be out of action for some time.