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600's hold their own in Thruxton scorcher. Round seven delivers great racing as Birchalls win.

 

Qualifying - In free practice, the teams set the scene for later in the day, with good times being set by the top runners. Lap record holders Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood on the 600cc Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki were right in the mix behind the Birchall Brothers, with the series leaders Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark fastest. The incredible British summer continued in Hampshire, and the scorching pace of qualifying added to the heat.

This event was billed as the battle between the big engines and the 600's, but at face value, the fierce corner speed of the smaller engines married with the long LCR chassis proved to be almost a match for their big brothers.

For a great deal of the session, the Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki of Stevens and Charlwood held sway, but in the closing stages, whilst unhappy with set-up and handling, the series leaders Kershaw and Clark put the big Santander Salt Kawasaki on pole. Ben and Tom Birchall made a long pit-stop to sort some issues with the Mitchells of Mansfield Yamaha, but went back out to go third behind Stevens/Charlwood.

Race One - From the lights, Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood got the hole-shot into the complex chased by the pole-sitters and the Birchall Brothers.

It took a little over one lap for the Santander Salt Kawasaki to forge ahead, but Ben and Tom Birchall took the Mitchells of Mansfield Yamaha through as well. Then ensued a three-way scrap at the front with the Birchall brothers looking right and left for a way past. Eventually they took a final lunge at Goodwood and went through on the inside.

After that, Stevens and Charlwood who were inspired by what they saw, fancied a bit of that action too, and almost made second place on the line.

In fourth came Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson, with another brilliant return by Roger Lovelock and Rick Lawrence to claim fifth. This was one of the closest races seen this season, and the crowd loved it.

Race One Result

1/ Ben/Tom Birchall (Mitchells of Mansfield Yamaha, 2/ Steve Kershaw/Stuart Clark (Santander Salt/Blinkbonny Kawasaki), 3/ Ricky Styevens/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki), 4/ Todd Ellis/Chaz Richardson (Santander Salt Honda) 5/ Roger Lovelock/Rick Lawrence (Driverwolf Racing BMW), 6/ Gary Bryan/Phil Hyde GBR Kawasaki), 7/ Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz (Taurus Tools Honda), 8/Simon Gilbert/Jack Tritton (Draper Racing Yamaha)

Race Two - Reverse grid came into play with Gary Horspole and James Connell on pole.

Kershaw and Clark took the Santander Salt Kawasaki from row five, to third place by the second lap, with Ben and Tom Birchall less lucky. Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde, always strong in this situation, took up the front running and proved to be difficult for Kershaw to pass. Once past, the series leaders, by now champions designate, were able pull a slight gap.

The Mansfield boys had more work to do scything through the traffic, and it was lap four before they were past the early starters and in pursuit of the leaders. Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde eventually settled and were to bring it home fifth. Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood, after battling through, made their way by Todd Ellis and Chaz Richardson into third place, pushing the 600 Honda of Ellis into fourth. A great fight between Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz, the Christie brothers Sam and Adam, Gary Horspole and Simon Gilbert/Jack Tritton went all the way to the wire with Gilbert and Christie making contact at the final chicane. Adam Christie parted company with the outfit as a result.

Roger Lovelock and Rick Lawrence again had a great ride into sixth, keeping out of trouble and into the points.

Race Two Result

1/ Kershaw/Clark, 2/ Birchall/Birchall, 3/ Stevens/Charlwood, 4/ Ellis/Richardson, 5/Bryan/Hyde, 6/ Lovelock/Lawrence, 7/ Biggs/Scmitz, 8/ Horspole/Connell

Race Three - Baking hot conditions, very hot tarmac and a huge mid-afternoon crowd greeted the final race on Sunday. The reverse grid system again provided thrills galore, with plenty of action as leaders tried to make a break for it, and others fought through from the back.

The Hildige father and son pairing went upside down in a high speed collision in the middle of the pack, as the leaders broke away.

Kevin Cable and Guy Pawsey slowed to see if they could be of assistance, but then became trapped behind the pace car and completely lost touch. Ben and Tom Birchall were in a real hurry and broke through to set after the 1000's at the front.

Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde were again carving through, and were quickly in contention with Simon Gilbert, who was really holding his own at the head. There had been some contact on the way through for Bryan, but his outfit was unaffected by what appeared to be cosmetic damage.

Once past Gilbert, they were to claim fourth, with Gilbert and Tritton finishing a strong and very creditable fifth.

Race two winners Kershaw and Clark made it onto the back of Ben and Tom Birchall, and this pair of outfits tore through to first and second places. That order was to remain to the flag with the Birchall Brothers about four seconds adrift at the finish.

Also charging hard were double podium sitters Stevens and Charlwood, who were having a fantastic scrap with Todd Ellis and Chaz Richardson.

A brave move into the chicane by Ellis on lap three, with no-one prepared to give an inch, saw a coming together with the back of the Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki. Briefly locked together, the two outfits careered across the rumble strip to continue fighting, but Ellis and Richardson had suffered damage which caused their retirement. The net result of all this drama was a third podium for the lap record holders Stevens and Charlwood.

Two more of the big engined bikes, Roger Lovelock and Gary Horspole, both had very good rides. Lovelock and Lawrence delivered a brilliant sixth place after being off the scene for such a long time, whilst Horspole and James Connell were right with them and from row two, scored seventh place.

Fastest lap of the race went to the Santander Salt Kawasaki of Kershaw and Clarke who set a 1.19.054 on lap five.

Race Three Result

1/ Kershaw/Clark, 2/ Birchall/Birchall, 3/ Stevens/Charlwood, 4/ Bryan/Hyde, 5/ Gilbert/Tritton, 6/ Lovelock/Lawrence, 7/ Horspole/Connell, 8/ Guy/Pilmoor-Brady, 9/ Biggs/Schmitz, 10/ Peach/Edwards

Overall Standings

Kershaw 406, Ellis 238, Bryan 197, Stevens 189, Horspole 136, Birchall 130, Gray 113, Gilbert 108, Nicholls 93, Bell 86

Cup Points

Ellis 324, Stevens 276, Gray 215, Biggs 155, Birchall 150, Peach 109

The next round is at Cadwell Park in two weeks time, with highlights from Thruxton to follow on www.rkb-f1-sidecars.com and on Motorsport TV.

 

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

 

BSB / British Sidecar Championship Partners

Start of Race 1
Start of Race 1


Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, Molson & Express Tyre Service
Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, Molson & Express Tyre Service


Winners, Ben Birchall and Tom Birchall, Mitchells of Mansfield
Winners, Ben Birchall and Tom Birchall, Mitchells of Mansfield


Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson, Santander Salt
Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson, Santander Salt


Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, Molson & Express Tyre Service
Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, Molson & Express Tyre Service


3rd placed Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood, Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki
3rd placed Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood, Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki


Start of Race 3
Start of Race 3


Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde, Bryan Racing  in front of the huge crowd
Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde, Bryan Racing in front of the huge crowd


Ben Birchall and Tom Birchall, Mitchells of Mansfield on their way to another second place
Ben Birchall and Tom Birchall, Mitchells of Mansfield on their way to another second place


Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, Molson & Express Tyre Service  celebrate on the podium
Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, Molson & Express Tyre Service celebrate on the podium

 

 

Photos copyright: Impact Images Photography

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