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Brands Hatch Indy circuit will pit 600's against the big boys for equal points, as round one kicks of 13-15th April

 

The first races under new 2018 regulations will see “The class of 2018” clash at Brands for equal championship points regardless of cylinder capacity.

Over the closed season, among the most prominent of the championship contenders to switch to 600cc power are former champions Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood. The latter was one of the most vocal in support of 600cc power last season, and their decision to move across is an exciting development. The Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki performed well in shake-down tests in France, and all eyes will be on the pair in the real test, when battle commences next weekend.

Already established of course, and now into their third season, are regular 600cc teamsters and reigning world Champions Ben and Tom Birchall. Their Yamaha R6 took everything by storm last season, and they narrowly missed out on the British 600cc Cup win, to go with their FIM Gold medal, as well as TT glory. The Mitchells of Mansfield crew will definitely be the boys to beat in 2018, and have entered all British rounds available in their hectic schedule.

The 600cc Cup Champions Todd Ellis and Chaz Richardson return to defend their crown, as well as the opportunity to score in the main championship. They are in the Santander Salt team awning, alongside big bike favourites Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark. This pair showed a turn of speed last season which matched the all-dominant Reeves brothers and reigning champions, Tim and Tristan. Kershaw and Clark had a stellar season in their debut together last year, and come into 2018 in a rich vein of form. Hopefully a training crash in France has done nothing to dent their enthusiasm. In the absence of Reeves, another to mover to 600 power, and who has yet to confirm series entry, the Scots have high title expectations, and must surely think they can become outright champions.

John Holden and Lee Cain, third last year on their 600 Barnes Racing/Silicone Engineering Kawasaki are in the same position as the Birchalls, in that they will do all British rounds which do not clash with their World Championship campaign. John therefore will be on the grid at Brands, and the following two rounds before ducking out of the Cadwell Sidecar Revival. They were on the pace throughout 2017, and will be very much in the hunt on the Brands Indy circuit.

Sadly, at the time of going to press, Portsmouth ace Ben Holland's season has a huge question mark over it, due in the main to uncertainty of machinery and general funding. Ben is down as a “wildcard” for this opening round, and I for one, sincerely hopes he makes it to the grid. The British Sidecar Championship paddock without Ben Holland and his crew will be a much poorer place.

Brands specialist Andy Peach is back again with Ken Edwards, and is entered on a 600 Yamaha. He is another of the top-flight riders to make the switch. Andy will be hoping his trials and tribulations of 2017 are well and truly behind him, as a combination of health issues, paddock politics and workload made for a very difficult year. There is no doubt that the rapid starting Peach, especially at Brands, can be a thorn in the side of just about anyone out there.

The 600cc rule has attracted several “short chassis” outfits, and Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley, along with Greg Lambert/Julie Canipa will be mixing it with their long brothers.

All in all, the opening round has a complete mixture of machinery and talent. This cocktail will be explosive, and it all goes bang from the word go, on Friday 13th. Let's hope no-one on the grid is superstitious.

There will be live UK TV coverage on Eurosport, with the highlights show reaching new European audiences on Motorsport TV and Frontrunner TV, with global exposure courtesy of MAV TV in the USA and SBS 1/Fox Sport “down under”.

 

Media Matters - Barry Nutley - barry.nutley@btinternet.com

 

BSB / British Sidecar Championship Partners

Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson
Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson


Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood
Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood


Stephen Kershaw and Stuart Clark
Stephen Kershaw and Stuart Clark


Tim and Tris Reeves
Tim and Tris Reeves


Qualifying from inside of Sterlings
Qualifying from inside of Sterlings

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