ALAN FOUNDS RETURNING TO THE TT
Double podium finisher Alan Founds will make his return to the Isle of Man TT Races this year after serious injury forced the Cheshire driver out of the two Sidecar races twelve months ago.
Founds, whose family have been a fixture in the sidecar paddock for more than forty years, will be joined once more by Jake Lowther and with the duo having finished third in the opening race of 2019, they will line up amongst the favourites for the two 3-lap races on their Spartan Automotive/Indelible Ink LCR Yamaha.
2023 will mark the fourth year Founds and Lowther have competed together on the Island and after missing the 2022 event are eager to continue their fine run of form around the Mountain Course which saw them take four top-5 finishes between 2017 and 2019, also lapping at 116.367mph.
The pairing should have been on the grid last year but a heavy crash at Brands Hatch in April left Founds seriously injured and out of action for five months.
“We ran into the back of a slower outfit going into Graham Hill Bend which launched our outfit into the air before flipping over,” explained Alan, who also finished third with Aki Aalto in the first race of 2016.
“The injuries were extensive – a broken scapula, broken collarbone, my pelvis on both sides, 15 broken ribs, two punctured lungs and a broken backplate. I also nicked my aorta valve which, whilst not good, thankfully could have been a lot worse.”
It meant he had to watch the races from the side-lines, which was made all the more painful by his brother Pete finishing second and third to double his podium haul. He also increased his pace to almost 119mph.
“On the one hand, it was hard to see Pete, and the Crowes, make a jump up in pace but on the other hand it was good to see them both push the Birchalls hard, making it a much closer fight at the head of the field.”
“We’re brothers so we want to beat each other and have the bragging rights – the last thing I want to hear at Christmas dinner is him talking about his TT podiums! Being serious though, we have a really good relationship and help each other all the time.”
“We share information with each other and if I find something that gives me time and an advantage on the course, I’ll let him know and vice versa. Team Founds is very much a family and friends affair and our mechanics will quite happily jump in and help each other if need be as well.”
Founds made his return to racing at Anglesey last September and has already had outings this year at the Welsh circuit and also at Brands Hatch, all with the aim of building up his speed after a lengthy lay off. All done with the TT in mind and ensuring they’re as prepared as ever when they start the opening race.
“My speeds have progressed year on year and I’m sure they would have done so again last year so it’s all about continuing that improvement. We haven’t got the biggest of budgets, certainly when up against the likes of the Birchalls, Tim Reeves and John Holden, but we’ll have some more power and more speed this year - the bike already feels strong.”
“We’re constantly developing the package we have and after missing a lot of racing over the last few years what with the pandemic and then my injuries, it’s all about getting track time with Jake prior to the TT. My fitness levels are back to what they were in 2019 and the more I drive, the more my confidence will increase. And with confidence comes speed.”
Founds and Lowther will contest the first two rounds of the British F2 Sidecar Championship at Croft and Donington Park with further outings planned at the latter, as well as Oulton Park.
“It’s important to get some races done to get myself and the connection with Jake sharp but, at the same time, it’s all about the bigger picture. The TT is our main event of the year so we don’t want to put too much mileage on the engines or take any unnecessary risks. It’s a balancing act because the results at the TT in June are, ultimately, what matter most.”