British F1: Birchalls lead the way in Cheshire thriller with double top

British F1: Birchalls lead the way in Cheshire thriller with double top

British F1: Birchalls lead the way in Cheshire thriller with double top

#5 Biggs/Schmitz

For the first time in the modern era, the sidecars were treated to two races in the Oulton Park opener. After such a long lay-off, everyone was itching to get going, and the size of the entry reflected that enthusiasm.

A clash with the FIM World Championship in Hungary took three or four top crews out of the equation, but that did nothing to detract from the quality of the on-track action.

Qualifying – Early Friday morning and the sidecars were on track at eight-thirty. Initial times had the Christie brothers  looking strong ahead of Ben and Tom Birchall, with Blackstock/Rosney and Holden/Pitt very much in the hunt.

A red flag and a shortened session due to Phil Bell/James Connell crashing spectacularly, with the Scottish passenger breaking a toe. Simon Gilbert/Paul Thomas also hit problems on the same lap. The stoppage resulted in the Birchalls claiming pole position from Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney and Sam/Adam Christie. These three crews were less than seven tenths of a second apart, with Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant a fine fourth fastest.

Race One – The lights were out, and it was game on as Blackstock/Rosney led the initial charge towards Old Hall, with two sets of brothers climbing all over them. There was a great start by a returning Scott Lawrie with Shelley Smithies alongside. They were to have a terrific race at constant speed displaying all the aggression and flair of the Scott Lawrie we know. That became the pattern of the race at the front with the added attraction of a flying Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant making their intentions clear moving into serious contention. They were to be right in the mix at the front throughout the race with a podium to show for their efforts. The young newcomers have a bright future and they meant to put that on show.

The Birchall brothers had quickly moved to the front, but they were hassled all the way lap after lap. The sight of the multiple TT winners and World Champions back on the long bike, this time Honda powered and carrying several experimental modifications was great to see. Despite numerous challenges from Blackstock/Rosney, several spirited lunges from Philp/Bryant, the ever-present Scott Lawrie, and a calculated attack by the Christie boys, the Mansfield duo raised their game, claimed a new lap record, and took an impressive victory.

Sadly, Lewis Blackstock was to retire the DHR/Express Tyres Yamaha with gremlins on lap six, just as Ben Holland/Tom Christie pitted their Kawasaki with problems of their own. The Christies made the most of the opportunity and consolidated their position.

While all this was going on at the front, there were equally fierce scraps in the chasing pack between John Holden/Jason Pitt and Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz. They were to claim fifth and sixth respectively with George Holden/Oscar Lawrence very impressive ahead of seasoned veterans Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde and Andy Peach/Ken Edwards. Credit must go to newcomers on long bikes Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst and Paul/Tom Kirby who scored points, and total sidecar virgin Craig Currie who with Justin Sharp, brought his Birchall Racing Yamaha home in eleventh place.

Result –
1/ Ben/Tom Birchall (Birchall Racing Honda LCR)
2/ Sam/Adam Christie (Christie Engineering Services Yamaha)
3/ Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant (Roberts Construction/Tops Autos Yamaha)
4/ Scott Lawrie/Shelley Smithies (SLR Suzuki)
5/ John Holden/Jason Pitt (Barnes Racing Adolf RS Yamaha),
6/ Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz (Santander Salt Yamaha)
7/ George Holden/Oscar Lawrence ( Holden Racing Suzuki)
8/ Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde (Hannafin Adolf RS Yamaha)

Race Two – The reverse grid always throws up exciting action, but how Ben and Tom Birchall managed to be in the lead half-way round the opening lap from tenth on the grid defies belief. Even before the race got underway, there was drama and some confusion on the grid. Simon Robinson and Mick Fairhurst had to push their failed outfit onto the grass from pole position. George Holden’s hand was in the air, and he was pushed into pit lane from where he was obliged to start. Tommy Philp used the three minutes grace to remove his fairing and tweak a problem, and all before the lights went out for a reduced ten-lapper.

Once away though, mayhem ruled for half a lap before the quick men worked through the pack. Phil Bell and James Connell were quickly to retire, joining Simon Gilbert and Simon Robinson as spectators. As stated, the Birchalls hit the front half-way round the lap, with Blackstock and Rosney following them through, albeit a few places back. John Holden/Jason Pitt, Sam/Adam Christie and Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz all did a good job fighting through, with Scott Lawrie/Shelley Smithies having another fast, consistent ride.

Mid-race distance and the Birchall Honda moved away, opening a gap which was to be ten seconds at the flag and set yet another lap record in the process. Tommy Philp was to retire two laps from the end, having got really mixed up in the traffic, but the twelve finishers included a strong seventh for Andy Peach/Ken Edwards, solid eighth and important points for Holland/Christie, and an extremely good ride for newcomers Craig Currie/Justin Sharp. Paul/Tom Kirby who entered as wild cards, did themselves proud but took no points. Craig Clarke and Peter Ensor, from being upside down in practice, can also be proud of their two points scoring rides, as they came home in tenth.

Result –
1/ Ben/Tom Birchall
2/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney
3/ Sam/Adam Christie
4/ John Holden/Jason Pitt
5/ Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz
6/ Scott Lawrie/Shelley Smithies
7/ Andy Peach/Ken Edwards,
8/ Ben Holland/Tom Christie
9/ Craig Currie/Justin Sharp,
10/ Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor

Championship standings –
Birchall/Birchall 50
Christie/Christie 36
Holden/Pitt 24
Lawrie/Smithies 23
Biggs/Schmitz 21
Blackstock/Rosney 20
Philp/Bryant 16
Peach/Edwards 16
Archer/Hyde 13
Currie/Sharp 12

The next round comes from Brands Hatch 23-25th July.

FIM Sidecar World Championship Round Two

FIM Sidecar World Championship Round Two

FIM Sidecar World Championship Round Two

Action from Pannonia Ring, Hungary

Hot, dry conditions would guarantee a great weekend on a newly resurfaced track. Free practice was a close affair, with the top four crews studying each other and the general situation. Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau set the standard from Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries and veteran Pekka Paivarinta/Ilse de Haas. Kees Endeveld capsized his outfit without injury to either occupant.

Qualifying – Schlosser/Fries headed the pack in Q1, from Pekka Paivarinta/Ilse de Haas, and Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement. Tim Reeves and Kevin Rousseau had a hairy off-track moment ending up in the gravel but were sorted and ready for Q2. Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood ended up fifth, with more to come. The pairing of Ellis/Clement was clearly hoping to build on a successful Le Mans debut. Q2 was no different in that the top four retained position, with Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement sharing the front row with Paivarinta and pole-man Schlosser. Tim Reeves, nursing an injured foot from his off-track excursion, headed up the second row from team-mates Josef Sattler and Luca Schmidt. Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood started from seventh place on row three.

Race One – Tension and temperature were both through the roof as the lights went out in Hungary. That was not the only hot topic. The overheating problem afflicting Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood in Le Mans struck again and they were to complete just one lap with a failed water pump. Rocket man Schlosser had to give second best to Pekka Paivarinta as the Finn hit the front, with Reeves/Rousseau slipping past Todd/Clement to grab third. Lap two and it was evident Reeves meant business as he took control at the front with Schlosser slipping to fourth behind Ellis and Paivarinta.

The pattern was set for a few laps, but ironically, the overheating problems were infectious. A frustrated Tim Reeves was obliged to retire at half distance when he too had water pump issues. Tyres would also play a part on this rapid, new tarmac, and Schlosser kept his cool, with a delighted and inspired Paivarinta showing the way round. He and Ilse de Haas had clearly gelled together, and he was riding with all the confidence of old.

Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement held a fine second place, but Schlosser/Fries were on the charge, with a safe fourth held by Josef Sattler/Luca Schmidt. Sadly, the L&W Racing duo of Kevin Cable/Kyle Masters, had also been obliged to quit after one lap with a recurrence of the electrical misfire from Le Mans.

Superman Schlosser again worked his way to the front with a couple of calculated moves which left Ellis/Clement pressing Paivarinta/de Haas for the runner-up spot. With spent tyres for both crews that is how it finished, with more strong points for the Santander Salt youngsters, celebrating what surely must now be a permanent relationship, moving second in the standings after race one.

Race One Result –
1/ Schlosser/Fries
2/ Paivarinta/de Haas
3/ Ellis /Clement
4/ Sattler/Schmidt
5/ Endeveld/Crome
6/ Wyssen/Hofer
7/ Kimeswenger/Kolsch
8/ Remse/Wechselberger

Race Two – If ever there was a race to illustrate world-class sidecar racing, this was it. No longer is there domination by one or two crews streaking off. For every single one of the fifteen laps the top five contenders were never more than two seconds apart. Tim Reeves and Kevin Rousseau grabbed the lead from the word go, but to say they never looked back would be a complete lie. Breathing down their necks the entire race were Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries, who were just 9/100ths of a second adrift at the flag.

For all the race, Pekka Paivarinta and Ilse de Haas stalked the leading pair, chased in turn by an ever-present Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement. They too had to look to their laurels ahead of a determined Josef Sattler/Luca Schmidt in fifth. Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood were playing catch up from a lowly grid position but fought their way past Kees Endeveld and then Lukas Wyssen to secure sixth. Such was the pace at the front, that was as much as they could possibly hope for.

Mid-race distance, Tim Reeves found the fastest lap which broke the tow fractionally, otherwise it might have been a different outcome for him. The leading five were still as close as ever into the final lap, but Todd Ellis had eyes for his unbroken podium record. For that to happen, he needed to pass the much respected four-time world champion Finn. That he did, much to the dismay of Paivarinta and Ilse de Haas, but it was truly an amazing race. Further down the order, Kevin Cable and Kyle Master’s trip to Hungary was not wasted. They recorded eleventh place, taking valuable experience and championship points.

All this action was spectacular and taken at face value. However, there was an absolute shock, controversy, and late drama when race winners Reeves/Rousseau were disqualified after the initial published result for contravening sections 2.3.4 and 2.3.4.8 of the technical regulations.

These regulations apply to engine specific items, and the International Jury decided that on the evidence presented to them, the Anglo/French crew were outside of the permitted rules. The result was amended accordingly, with Reeves/Rousseau removed from the points. Whether or not a protest is in the offing or being considered, is not known at the time of going to press.

Amended Race Two Result –
1/ Schlosser/Fries (Gustoil Racing LCR Yamaha)
2/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt LCR Yamaha)
3/ Pekka Paivarinta/Ilse de Haas (44 Finland Racing LCR Yamaha)
4/ Josef Sattler/Luca Schmidt (Bonovo Action Adolf RS Yamaha)
5/ Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Kershaw Racing LCR Yamaha)
6/ Lukas Wyssen/Thomas Hofer (Gustoil Racing LCR Yamaha)
7/ Kees Endeveld/Hendrik Crome
8/ Peter Kimeswenger/Kevin Kolsch (LCR Yamaha
9/ Janez Remse/Manfred Wechelsberger (Adolf RS Yamaha)
10/ Kevin Cable/Kyle Masters (L&W Yamaha).

Championship Standings –
Schlosser/Fries 95
Ellis/Clement 72
Paivarinta/de Haas 65
Wyssen/Hofer 41
Reeves/Rousseau 36
Endeveld/Crome 34
Kershaw/Charlwood 31
Sattler/Schmidt 26
Peugeot/Peugeot 22
Cable/Masters (16th – 6 points)

Photos – Mark Walters

British F1: Oulton Park welcomes record entry for round one with two races

British F1: Oulton Park welcomes record entry for round one with two races

British F1: Oulton Park welcomes record entry for round one with two races

Blackstock and Rosney

The 2021 season bursts into life at Oulton Park over the weekend of June 25-27th with a bumper grid, some new names, but with some notable teams missing.

The FIM World Championship in Hungary claims the attention of Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau, reigning British Champion Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood, Kevin Cable and Kyle Masters, and 2019 Champions Todd Ellis/Charlie Richardson. This could well be a case of “when the cat’s away”, but that only makes the excitement and opportunity at Oulton more intense.

With two races on the programme at the spectacular Cheshire circuit, there is much to play for. Heading up the list of protagonists are multiple World Champions and TT winners Ben and Tom Birchall. Their LCR design and manufacturing business tends to keep them at home these days, so they will be gracing the domestic series in 2021. Pressing them for honours, will almost certainly be John Holden and Lewis Blackstock. Both these drivers are regular podium finishers, and Holden has a new passenger this year in the shape of Jason Pitt. He retains the Barnes Racing/Silicone Engineering sponsorship.

Blackstock meanwhile has the tried and tested Paddy Rosney alongside and will be looking to improve on his sixth-place finish last year.

The Christie brothers Sam and Adam get quietly on with the job, and if last year is anything to go by, they will be at the sharp end from the word go. Third place in the title case behind Kershaw and Ellis was no mean feat. Their Christie Engineering Services Yamaha is always well prepared and noticeably quick. The third Christie brother Tom is alongside the sole Kawasaki exponent Ben Holland. Ben is revitalised, as keen as ever, and subject to finances holding up, ready to fight for the title.

Another crew certainly capable of upsetting the applecart is the lone Santander Salt team of Rob Biggs and Jeroen Schmitz. They have the added impetus of Yamaha power and assistance from Express Tyres. They will be sharing the new Santander Salt race-truck with Stock 600 contender Jack Nixon.

Other relatively new names include the young guns Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant and George Holden/Oscar Lawrence. Both these crews will be going for maximum points. F2 star Simon Robinson joins the fray with Mick Fairhurst in the hot seat. This crew will be adapting to a long chassis outfit, so that is another hugely interesting point to look out for.

There is also a complete newcomer to the sidecar ranks. Craig Currie is a former saloon car champion and regular Ducati Tri-Options runner. He knows all there is to know about racing but will now need to apply that track-craft to three wheels. With the experienced Justin Sharp alongside, that job might not be too onerous.

Expect also to see Scott Lawrie strutting his stuff with Shelley Smithies alongside. Other regulars back for more include Andy Peach/Ken Edwards, Phil Bell/James Connell, Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde, and Simon Gilbert/Paul Thomas.

The grid is strong, given there is a clash with an FIM round. There is great strength in depth, and there could be a few surprises in what is bound to be a super weekend to set the ball rolling for 2021.

British F1: Knockhill round two axed due to restrictions

British F1: Knockhill round two axed due to restrictions

British F1: Knockhill round two axed due to restrictions

Knockhill action

Extension to the current levels of restriction by the Scottish Government has brought further complication to the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship.

The Knockhill round scheduled to take place over the weekend of July 9-11th will now become a two-day event (10-11th July) with reduced classes participating. MSV, promoters of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, have had the difficult choice of dropping three of those classes. The British Sidecar Championship traditionally runs a full programme alongside that event, but now there is literally no room on the shortened programme to accommodate the sidecars.

This will be a huge disappointment to the teams, and the sidecar-mad Scottish fans. The Knockhill BSB round is a popular fixture on the calendar, and sidecars a highlight in the Motorsport calendar north of the border.

There are no plans to re-schedule later in the year, due to the hectic calendar for World and British Sidecar teams already in place. The British Sidecar Championship will now be fought over eight rounds, but still with double points available at the Brands finale.

FIM Sidecar: Schlosser/Fries take nine-point lead to Hungary

FIM Sidecar: Schlosser/Fries take nine-point lead to Hungary

FIM Sidecar: Schlosser/Fries take nine-point lead to Hungary

Race Action - Le Mans - Photo credit - Good-Shoot

The modern and stylish Pannoniaring in Hungary hosts the second round of the FIM Sidecar World Championship over the weekend of June 25-27th. Named after an extremely successful motorcycle manufacturer from the Communist era, the circuit was opened in 1997 having been designed with motorcycle racing in mind. The core group of registered teams will make the journey despite the numerous hurdles associated with the Covid-19 protocols in place across borders. The diversity of the entry is reflected in the standings, with British crews featuring strongly.

Le Mans saw an influx of French wild cards, but at the time of going to press, no French team had registered for the second round despite Ted and Vincent Peugeot sitting fifth. Nonetheless, seven nations are represented, with the added spice of new names from Germany, Austria, and Slovenia.

The sheer speed of Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries will be an obvious challenge, but Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau and Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement ran him close in France. Ellis’s regular passenger Charlie Richardson is likely to make a return in Hungary, with Dutchman Benny Streuer reclaiming the services of Mademoiselle Clement if he is declared fit to race.

Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood will be hoping they have rectified their overheating issues, looking to improve their stature in the points.

Pekka Paivarinta retains plucky Dutch girl Ilse de Haas from their strong debut pairing in France.

Championship Standings ahead of Hungary

Schlosser/Fries – 45
Reeves/Rousseau – 36
Ellis/Clement – 36
Paivarinta/De Haas – 29
Peugeot/Peugeot – 22
Kershaw/Charlwood – 20
Wyssen/Hofer – 20
Endeveld/Crome – 16

Photo credit – Good-Shoot

FIM Sidecar: Stunning racing in France gets season off to a flyer

FIM Sidecar: Stunning racing in France gets season off to a flyer

FIM Sidecar: Stunning racing in France gets season off to a flyer

Race action from Le Mans

The difficulty of added rules and regulations surrounding travel did nothing to dent the appetite of the British crews at the Bugatti Circuit Le Mans for the opening round. Three teams had served seven days quarantine at the circuit ahead of the weekend, with Kevin Cable making the trip slightly later under modified rules.

Sadly, UK absentees included John Holden and Rob Biggs. Nonetheless, sixteen crews enjoyed beautifully sunny conditions on the build- up to a much-anticipated return to Grand Prix action. The numbers were bolstered by a strong showing of French teams.

Todd Ellis was joined by the effervescent Emmanuelle Clement as passenger for this round, whilst Kevin Cable had the services on the experienced Max Vasseur, having done four free practice laps with Kevin Rousseau to find his way round. Pekka Paivarinta had a new name alongside, with Kim Friman stepping up from Finnish National action into the big league. Pekka admitted needing time to adjust, and for his new passenger to settle in.

All the other crews were happy with free practice, with Tim Reeves showing the way throughout, Ellis/Clement started slowly but worked up to second fastest, ahead of locals Ted and Vincent Peugeot. A fast-charging Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries then pipped Ellis to third.

Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood ran strongly, with more to come. The sun was out, humidity was high, and breathing in the Covid regulation masks around the paddock was uncomfortable. Not that anyone cared, it was just good to be racing.

Sadly, Kim Friman was to fall from Paivarinta’s sidecar late in the session and was taken to hospital. This drama left the four-times champion seeking and last-minute replacement passenger.

Qualifying

The first qualifying session in the heat of late afternoon on Thursday, gave Ilse de Haas her first glimpse of Le Mans this year as she jumped on board with Paivarinta to record sixth fastest. This would now give the four-times Champion a fighting chance of good points, given that it was looking like his weekend was over prematurely.

Ahead of them, there was little to choose, as Reeves/Rousseau again took control in the early stages, as only Tim Reeves can do. There were serious threats though, and one came in the form of Todd Ellis, as he and Emmanuelle Clement put in fast laps to move second. At the flag, they were within sight of Tim, only to see that margin stretched to three tenths, as Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries leapt to the front and claimed pole. Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood maintained their early pace claiming fourth ahead of the family Peugeot and Paivarinta.

Bright and early Friday morning, under cloudy, cooler conditions, the second all-important session got underway. All top teams quickly picked up where they left off, running in the 1.45’s with Ellis, Reeves, Schlosser and Kershaw very much in touch. Halfway through, both Tim and Todd pitted, emerging in tandem, with Todd shadowing the eight times champion. Ellis did enough to edge ahead, but once again, both British crews were eclipsed by a late charge from Schlosser/Fries, who will start the race from pole position.

Combined times confirmed the grid as follows:

Qualifying result

1/ Schlosser/Fries
2/ Ellis/Clement
3/ Reeves/Rousseau
4/ Kershaw/Charlwood
5/ Peugeot/Peugeot
6/ Paivarinta/De Haas
7/ Wyssen/Thomas
8/ Endeveld/Hendrik
9/ Barbier/Rigondeau
10/ Le Bail/Leveau
11/ Vinet/Vinet
12/ Cable/Vasseur
13/ Fretay/Fenoy
14/ Gallerne/Druel
15/ Gadet/Salmon

Race One

Eighteen laps in the heat would need calculated and systematic riding, but that was far from the truth as the lights went out. A frantic sprint round turn one saw the front row vying for control, with Tim Reeves and Kevin Rousseau emerging victorious on lap one, with a five-man freight train in tow. It was Reeves, from Ellis/Clement, Schlosser/Fries, Paivarinta/De Haas, Peugeot, and Kershaw. These six crews were to gradually ease away from the chasing pack, with Schlosser moving past Ellis on lap three, and Kershaw pulling a similar move on Peugeot. Nonetheless, it remained a six-crew scrap for the first half of the race.

The three at the front eased away and began a game of cat and mouse, as the Swiss Schlosser looked for every opportunity to make his way to the front. Reeves, ever the master tactician, rode an immaculately defensive race, with Schlosser making an error on the penultimate lap. This allowed Ellis/Clement to shoot through into second spot, but their euphoria was short-lived. On the final lap, Schlosser was back up to second, but his mistake had allowed Tim and Kevin to consolidate their position and record the opening race victory in the 2021 season.

Given the youngster Ellis was seeing Le Mans for the first time, and this was his debut Grand Prix with a stand-in passenger, a podium first time out was an excellent result for the Santander Salt team. The top three crews were all around one second of each other, such was the closeness of the action. Fourth for Paivarinta and fifth for Kershaw/Charlwood were equally good results. In sixth came an improved Lukas Wyssen for Switzerland. Local pride and French honour were maintained with a brilliant fighting seventh for Ted and Vincent Peugeot. Kevin Cable/Max Vasseur for LW Racing were running strongly in Kevin’s debut World Championship race, very much holding their own ahead of the local French wildcards, until they locked up and ran on. A later misfire then finally dropped them out of contention.

Result

1/ Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau (Bonovo Action Adolf RS Yamaha)
2/ Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries (Gustoil Racing LCR Yamaha)
3/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt LCR Yamaha)
4/ Pekka Paivarinta/Ilse De Haas (44 Finland Racing LCR Yamaha)
5/ Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Kershaw Racing LCR Yamaha)
6/ Lukas Wyssen/Thomas Hofer (Gustoil Racing LCR Yamaha)
7/ Ted Peugeot/Vincent Peugeot (FCH Competition LCR Yamaha)

Race Two

The air was thick with anticipation ahead of this one. The close finish between the top three first time out, added to Schlosser’s superior top speed, meant there could be no foregone conclusion. At precisely 10am local time the lights went out and it was game on for the points.

Another flyer for Tim Reeves took him straight to the front, chased by Schlosser/Fries and Ellis/Clement. Pekka Paivarinta sat a fine fourth ahead of Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood. Ted and Vincent Peugeot came next, but two laps later they were by Kershaw as he dropped behind Lukas Wyssen into seventh.

This time around, Schlosser meant business, and on lap four squeezed by Tim and Kevin at the end of the start straight. Thereafter, the Swiss kept the throttle pinned and stretched his advantage. The top three then became quite strung out, with Ellis some two seconds behind Reeves/Rousseau. Paivarinta was locked in a race-long duel with Peugeot for fourth, and theirs was a nip and tuck fight lap after lap.

There was a “heart in mouth” moment for the Finn on lap twelve as he locked up into the left/right before the finish line. He kept it together, and then Reeves hit trouble with his gearbox and no fifth gear. This eventually dropped him to fifth place, scoring valuable points to add to his race one tally.

It was indeed a fine performance by Schlosser, backed up by his fellow countryman Lukas Wyssen who brought it home ahead of Kershaw/Charlwood. Schlosser now goes to the Pannoniaring leading the series from Ellis and Reeves joint second. Kevin Cable was unlucky this time out with a recurrence of his misfire, retiring at two-thirds distance.

Result

1/ Schlosser/Fries (Gustoil Racing LCR Yamaha)
2/ Ellis/Clement (Santander Salt Racing Yamaha)
3/ Paivarinta/De Haas (44 Finland Racing LCR Yamaha)
4/ Peugeot/Peugeot (Perillat and Peugeot Racing LCR Yamaha)
5/ Reeves/Rousseau (Bonovo Action Adolf RS Yamaha)
6/ Wyssen/Hofer (Gustoil Racing LCR Yamaha)
7/ Kershaw/Charlwood (Kershaw Racing LCR Yamaha)

Championship Standings

Schlosser/Fries 45
Reeves/Rousseau 36
Ellis/Clement 36
Paivarinta/De Haas 29
Peugeot/Peugeot 22
Kershaw/Charlwood 20
Wyssen/Hofer 20
Round Two takes place at the Pannoniaring, Hungary, June 25-27th.

FIM Sidecar: UK crews hit by Le Mans Covid new protocols

FIM Sidecar: UK crews hit by Le Mans Covid new protocols

FIM Sidecar: UK crews hit by Le Mans Covid new protocols

2021 Coronavirus

A last-minute change of direction in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the French authorities placing Great Britain under stricter rules for incoming travellers.

Effective Tuesday June 1st all visitors from the UK must have a negative PCR test before travelling to France, and then be subjected to seven days quarantine and isolation in that country before going about their business. Of the six British crews entered for Le Mans next week, only three could conform to that tight schedule.

Tim Reeves and Kevin Rousseau were already in Holland and will make their way direct. Todd Ellis and Steve Kershaw will make the journey separately, but with revised and scaled-down arrangements.

Kershaw’s passenger Ryan Charlwood was already in France, and Todd Ellis will be using the experienced Emmanuelle Clement as his passenger. Her 2021 driver Benny Streuer is still recovering from injury and had not entered the event anyway.

A special quarantine arrangement is under negotiation which will involve the Bugatti Circuit becoming an “isolation bubble” so that the teams can serve their seven days on-site.

This has yet to be signed off by the French Health Ministry, although the circuit is geared up and keen for this to happen. The same rules will therefore apply to the Santander Salt organisational team headed by Roger Body, along with the race truck and hospitality unit. These too will need to leave in good time to spend seven days at the circuit.

The restrictions and immediacy of the initial timeframe had originally proved too onerous for Kevin Cable, Rob Biggs and John Holden. They were forced to abandon plans to be at the opening round, but it is still possible they will now adjust their plans to travel to the event.

This is a hard pill to swallow for many, but as we have maintained throughout this difficult time, we can only plan and hope the world comes out of this sooner rather than later, whilst always remembering those who have been far less fortunate.

We will be staying across all the action from Le Mans remotely, bringing you the news items and results as they become available.

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