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Round Five - Snetterton 19-21 July

Fantastic double victory for Ellis and Richardson at Snetterton

 

The Snetterton 300 circuit was in prime condition for round five of the championship, and was the ideal playing field for Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark to make amends in their quest to defend their title. What was not ideal on Friday, was a stiff breeze with traces of light rain in the air. The preceding solo classes had all been somewhat perplexed as to choice of tyre. Free practice was a good shake-down test however, with all the expected crews delivering respectable times ahead of qualifying.

Qualifying – It was grey but dry for the twenty-minute session, and early tentative times had Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark running fastest with their Molson Group Express Tyres Yamaha, but on lap four Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson put the Santander Salt Honda on provisional pole.

Ben Holland and Lee Watson were sitting third for JG Speedfit/Quattro Plant Kawasaki when the red flag came out on lap five. Rob Biggs and Jerome Schmitz had an off at Agostini's, but business was quickly resumed. Up until that point, the Taurus Tools Honda of Biggs had been in the mix. Luckily, bodywork damage was the only outcome, and both men were good to go on race-day.

Both SBR bikes of Blackstock/Rosney and Holden/Cain were right up the sharp end as well, with the other Quattro Plant Kawasaki of Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood moving fourth, albeit nearly two seconds off Ellis at the head of the pack.

Kershaw and Clark, former champions, immediately reclaimed the lead and pole position, just as Ricky Stevens went third. A strong ride by Martin Kirk and Shellie Smithies saw them hold off Chris Walker and Ashley Hawes for seventh place on the TAG Racing Yamaha.

Grid – 1/ Kershaw/Clark, 2/ Ellis/Richardson, 3/ Stevens/Charlwood, 4/ Blackstock/Rosney, 5/ Holland/Watson, 6/ Holden/Cain, 7/ Kirk/Smithies, 8/ Walker/Hawes, 9/ Biggs/Schmitz, 10/ Peach/Edwards

Race one – The race was late in the day on Saturday, with the crews all looking at the skies. An earlier downpour had spooked a few, but the track was dry, with a very strong headwind up the start straight.

From the lights, Kershaw and Clark shot ahead with Ellis/Richardson dicing from the word go with the JG Speedfit/Quattro Plant outfit of Stevens and Charlwood, who were right on their case. On lap two, Rob Biggs and Jerome Schmitz capsized once more, Schmitz sustaining ligament damage, which might keep him out of the next round. Rob Biggs was totally mystified as to why the outfit “turned turtle” twice at the same bend, and suspected a rear suspension issue.

The front three were closely followed once again by the SBR crew of Blackstock/Rosney, chased by Ben Holland/Lee Watson and the other Barnes/Silicone Engineering team of John Holden/Lee Cain.

TT expert Holden was eventually to find a way past Holland/Watson, and was right on the tail of Blackstock and Rosney at the flag.

Lap five, and Ellis exerted his authority to assume control at the front, and there he and Charlie Richardson stayed. The move on Kershaw was perfectly executed, and Ellis then extended his lead to almost five seconds. Steve Kershaw had no answer to the very rapid Honda and settled for second best.

It was an impressive display by the top six, with Martin Kirk/Shellie Smithies leading Chris Walker and Ashley Hawes in seventh and eighth.

The race then settled into a steady pattern with the JG Speedfit/Quattro Plant duo of Stevens and Charlwood holding on for the final step on the podium. This was a good outing for the Quattro Plant team, with both crews in the top six, just as with the Santander Salt and the Barnes/Silicone teamsters.

Brian Gray and Jason Pitt made tenth, so took pole position in Sunday's race.

Race One Result – 1/ Todd Ellis/Chaz Richardson (Santander Salt Honda), 2/ Steve Kershaw/Stuart Clark (Molson Express Tyres Yamaha), 3/ Ricky Stevens/Ryan Charlwood (JG Speedfit/Quattro Plant Kawasaki), 4/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (SBR Yamaha), 5/ John Holden/Lee Cain (SBR Kawasaki), 6/ Ben Holland/Lee Watson (JG Speedfit/Quattro Plant Kawasaki), 7/ Martin Kirk/Shellie Smithies (MK Racing Yamaha), 8/ Chris Walker/Ashley Hawes (TAG Racing Yamaha) 9/ Gary Bryan/Phil Hyde (GBR Honda), 10/ Brian Gray/Jason Pitt (Brian Gray Powerbiking Yamaha)

Race Two – The weather had improved significantly for the Sunday race, and ten laps would be a frantic affair given the reverse grid rule was in place. The format did not disappoint, and from the word go the field was swarming all over the pole men Gray and Pitt.

Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde had a flyer, going past Gray into turn one, but were deemed to have had a jump start. They were eventually flagged off on lap five.

Another top crew in trouble was the SBR Kawasaki of John Holden and Lee Cain. They were destined not to complete a lap, which seriously dented their strong points situation to date. Ben Holland and Lee Watson made the most of their third row start to leap into an impressive lead on lap two and immediately set about pulling a gap.

Behind them, outfits were three abreast as they jostled for position, with Chris Walker/Ashley Hawes (TAG Racing Yamaha) forcing their way through into contention, chased by Kershaw/Clark, Stevens and Charlwood and further back, Ellis and Richardson.

Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney were right in this battle too, and places were swapping faster than the eye could blink.

The Clarke pairing retired the City Lifting Windle in a cloud of smoke, which looked for all the world as if the sidecar wheel was on fire. This brought the early bath numbers to three. Kershaw/Clark were by now muscling their way through, as were the series leaders on the Santander Salt Honda.

This was not easy though. Holland proved hard to pass, as did Chris Walker, whilst Brian Gray was making everyone's life difficult in not surrendering easily.

Once Ellis hit the front, Kershaw followed though, but still had no answer for the speed of the Honda, and the sheer corner speed of Ellis/Richardson.

There was another fantastic battle between Stevens and Blackstock, with the latter having a real sideways moment at two-thirds distance. This gave Stevens/Charlwood enough of a breather to consolidate third place.

Once more, both Quattro Plant bikes, and both Santander Salt crews were in the top five, with Chris Walker and Ashley Hawes collecting ten more points from a hard-earned sixth place. Ellis and Richardson's victory makes it seven wins from nine outings for the Santander Salt pair, and puts them in the pound seats for championship glory.

Race Two Results – 1/ Ellis/Richardson, 2/ Kershaw/Clark, 3/ Stevens/Charlwood, 4/ Blackstock/Rosney, 5/ Holland/Watson, 6/ Walker/Hawes, 7/Gray/Pitt, 8/ Kirk/Smithies, 9/ Cable/Masters, 10/ Horspole/Connell

Standings – Ellis 220, Kershaw 146, Blackstock 103, Holden 92, Bryan 91, Biggs 84, Gray 72, Kirk 68, Walker 60, Holland 58, Peach 54, Cable 54

The next round comes from Thruxton in Hampshire 2-4th August.

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

 

BSB / British Sidecar Championship Partners


Ben Holland and Lee Watson, Havant, Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki lead on the opening lap
Ben Holland and Lee Watson, Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki lead on the opening lap

Martin Kirk and Shelley Smithies, MK Racing heads a group on the opening lap
Martin Kirk and Shelley Smithies, MK Racing heads a group on the opening lap

Race Winner, Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson, Market Rasen, Santander Salt leads Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, Lauder, Molson & Express Tyre Service
Race Winner, Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson, Santander Salt leads Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, Molson & Express Tyre Service

Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood celebrate on the podium
Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood celebrate on the podium

(l to r) Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, Lauder, Molson & Express Tyre Service, Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson, Market Rasen, Santander Salt and Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood, Havant, Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki
(l to r) Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, Molson & Express Tyre Service, Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson, Santander Salt and Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood, Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki

Ricky Stevens, Havant, Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki
Ricky Stevens, Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki

(l to r) Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, Molson & Express Tyre Service (2nd), winners Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson, Santander Salt and 3rd place Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood, Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki
(l to r) Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, Molson & Express Tyre Service (2nd), winners Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson, Santander Salt and 3rd place Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood, Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki

Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, Lauder, Molson & Express Tyre Service (2nd), winners Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson, Market Rasen, Santander Salt and 3rd place Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood, Havant, Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki
Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, Molson & Express Tyre Service (2nd), winners Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson, Santander Salt and 3rd place Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood, Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki


Photos copyright: Impact Images Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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