British F1: Ellis and Clement versus Birchall brothers in round six Snetterton September 3-5th

British F1: Ellis and Clement versus Birchall brothers in round six Snetterton September 3-5th

British F1: Ellis and Clement versus Birchall brothers in round six Snetterton September 3-5th

Race action

Well into the second half of the season, Ben and Tom Birchall have taken the lion’s share of victories, having been defeated just twice. The only crew running them close on a regular basis is the Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney duo on the DHR/Express Tyre Service Yamaha.

Last time out at Cadwell Park, inclement weather conditions played a part, with Blackstock/Rosney just one second behind at the flag. They sit second in the table by a comfortable margin.

It was in similar weather conditions one month ago, also at Cadwell, that World Championship runners Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement took the Santander Salt Yamaha to twin victories ahead of the Birchalls and will be looking to do the same at Snetterton.

The twists and turns of the Snetterton 300 circuit with suit the Haith Honda, but with a string of podiums including victory in world races already, Ellis/Clement’s Yamaha will be on full song.

A revitalised Ben Holland, with Tom Christie alongside is enjoying his season, and his old hunger is there to see. They are third in the standings on the Kawasaki, but the omnipresent John Holden/Jason Pitt (Barnes/Silicone Yamaha) sit a mere handful of points behind.

Scott Lawrie, having something of an eventful year, could have been higher up the board than fifth, had he and Shelley Smithies not destroyed their Suzuki LCR in a big crash at the Cadwell Revival. Undeterred, they will be on the case to replace those lost points in Norfolk.

More talent comes in the shape of George Holden and Oscar Lawrence. They are having their first full year and learning all the time. More than capable of running top six, they will relish Snetterton on their very fast Suzuki.

At the time of going to press, newcomers Craig Currie and Justin Sharp are down to ride despite Currie having an enforced sabbatical with Covid. We certainly hope to see him back in action for Birchall Racing. World Championship contenders Kevin Cable/Lee Watson are also on the list having left Cadwell Park with a blown engine.

All four Japanese engine manufacturers feature in the sidecar class, as well as a diversity of chassis manufacturers. These include the popular LCR, the Adolf RS, and now a new name from the UK, the Ryde F1 in the hands of wildcards Chris Wright and Paul Bailey.

Take a trip into the paddock and marvel at the technology involved. You will be made welcome.

Photo credits: Jenny “Triker” Wells

FIM Sidecars: More success for Schlosser/Fries in Rijeka as Ellis/Clement consolidate championship position

FIM Sidecars: More success for Schlosser/Fries in Rijeka as Ellis/Clement consolidate championship position

FIM Sidecars: More success for Schlosser/Fries in Rijeka as Ellis/Clement consolidate championship position

Early laps race two Schlosser leads

The 2021 FIM World Championship is well and truly alive and kicking. Even with a grid depleted by COVID and travel restrictions, all the main players were on duty in Rijeka, welcomed with open arms by an enthusiastic crowd at the Automotodrom Grobnik.

Eleven teams made the long journey, with three trekking from the UK. Former eight-times World Champion Tim Reeves with his French passenger Kevin Rousseau set the standard in free practice, from series leaders Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries (Gustoil Yamaha). Third and fourth came Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha) followed by reigning British Champions Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood.

Qualifying – In very good weather conditions and twenty-eight degrees on them mercury, the Swiss pairing of Schlosser and Fries took control of the first qualifying session, heading Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement home by three tenths of one second, with Reeves/Rousseau a further couple of tenths back in third. Benny Streuer/Jeroen Remme replaced Kershaw Charlwood to go fourth fastest. Session two and it was more of the same, with Reeves/Rousseau edging out Ellis and Clement by one tenth to claim position two on the grid from the young Anglo- French couple. Kershaw/Charlwood share row two with Benny Streuer, followed by Pekka Paivarinta/Ilse de Haas alongside Lukas Wyssen in row three. At this pace, Schlosser looked to be the man with a target on his back, as well as being series leader. His pole time of 1.30.963 was impressive.

Race action

Race One – The ambient temperature was through the roof for the start, sitting at the early thirties, this was going to be a hot one. There was no doubting the speed at the front of the race as the three favourites fought tooth and nail. Tim Reeves and Kevin Rousseau needed a strong win here to re-establish them as championship contenders.

That was not to be, as their Adolf RS Yamaha was to retire from proceedings after fourteen laps. Their problem was once again overheating and has become a cause for serious frustration to the Anglo-French duo. Prior to that, they had been scrapping throughout with the lightning-fast Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries. They grabbed the lead from Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement, with Benny Streuer/Jeroen Remme slotting third. Reeves sat a close fourth, looking dangerous, but as stated, was a condemned man. As the brace progressed, he and Kevin Rousseau fought past Ellis/Clement and then made a successful move on Schlosser, only to be re-taken.

After such a good race, Reeves must have been utterly gutted to retire with mechanical issues. He certainly was fast here.

The Swiss Gustoil Yamaha pairing finally brought it home for victory just six-tenths of a second ahead of Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha) for victory.

This was becoming something of a habit for Schlosser, but well deserved. Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood had been quietly chipping away, and once more picked up a good finish, as they completed the podium ahead of Benny Streuer/Jeroen Remme and Pekka Paivarinta/Ilse de Haas.

Croatia podium

Todd and Emmanuelle, Rijeka

Result –
1/ Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries (Gustoil Yamaha)
2/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
3/ Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Yamaha)
4/ Benny Streuer/Jeroen Remme (Bonovo Action Yamaha)
5/ Pekka Paivarinta/Ilse de Haas (44 Racing Yamaha)
6/ Lukas Wyssen/Thomas Hofer (Gustoil Racing Yamaha)
7/ Peter Kimeswenger/Kevin Kolsch (LCR Yamaha)
8/ Claude Vinet/Melanie Farnier) LCR Yamaha
9/ Janez Remse/Manfred Welschelberger (Adolf RS Yamaha)

Race Two – If ever there was an advertisement for close sidecar racing, this was it. Again, it was a very vivid scrap at the front with Schlosser, Reeves, Ellis and Kershaw in line astern in the early stages. These four teams were all in the 1.31’s, with Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau claiming the fastest lap of the race on lap three with a 1.31.201. This probably gave them the edge they needed, because the winning margin was as close as that.

Lap after lap the three at the front circulated within a few lengths of each other, but after such huge disappointment with his earlier retirement, the eight times world Champion was in no mood for compromise. He is the first to acknowledge he has real competition this season, but still has a point to prove, and he did just that. Even the great talent that Pekka Paivarinta has was overshadowed by the sheer speed of the front pack. He and Benny Streuer had a scrap in the early stages, but Pekka came home twelve seconds off the sharp end, and six seconds behind Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood.

Meanwhile, words cannot describe the action at the front going into the final lap. All three outfits would have fitted into a large van, they were so close.

At the flag, Tim Reeves’ winning margin over Schlosser was just eight one- hundredths of a second, with Todd Ellis a similar fraction behind in third.

But for that phenomenal lap three for Reeves, it would have been a different story. Despite his best efforts, he still finds himself one hundred points behind Schlosser, with newcomers Ellis/Clement sitting second, forty-one points adrift.

Croatia podium

Standings –
Schlosser 210
Ellis 169
Paivarinta 135
Kershaw 125
Reeves 110
Wyssen 77
Peugeot 45
Endeveld 41
Vinet 38
Payne 36
Kimeswenger 35

(Full standings can be found on www.fim-moto.com)

Round Five comes from Oschersleben Germany October 1-3rd.

Photo credits: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

British F1: Damp Cadwell Park sees Birchall brothers increase lead

British F1: Damp Cadwell Park sees Birchall brothers increase lead

British F1: Damp Cadwell Park sees Birchall brothers increase lead

Race 1 Birchall & Birchall, Blackstock & Rosney, Biggs & Schmitz

Despite adverse weather, the second visit to Lincolnshire in two weeks delivered great racing in front of by far the biggest crown in almost two years. A clash with the FIM World Championship in Croatia kept numbers low, but every single team on the grid meant business in efforts to catch the unstoppable Ben and Tom Birchall. Scott Lawrie had completely rebuilt his outfit following his big crash two weeks ago.

Qualifying – There was no mistaking who would be running at the front, as Ben/Tom Birchall fired a missile to the rest of the pack with a 1.31.310. This officially established them as the fastest-ever three-wheeled lap of the Cadwell Park circuit. Conditions were perfect, with sun out and a very light breeze prevailing.

Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney proved that like the Birchalls, life together for many seasons pays dividends, and they ran second fastest, albeit two seconds adrift of the pole time.

Ron Biggs and Jeroen Schmitz brought the Santander Salt Yamaha to third, enforcing their aspirations for a podium in the races.

John Holden/Jason Pitt escaped the clutches of his John’s son George, to lead Ben Holland/Tom Christie across the line. These four or five outfits behind the polesitters were likely to enjoy close racing.

Race 1 Biggs & Schmitz, Holland & Christie, Holden & Pitt

Race One – Spots of rain were in the air as the lights went out, with Ben and Tom Birchall leading the charge up the hill from Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney.

This was no surprise, as they had been virtually unbeaten all season on their Haith Honda.

Rob Biggs and Jeroen Schmitz slotted into third and with them went Ben Holland/Tom Christie and John Holden/Jason Pitt. This scrap for the final podium place became the highlight of the race, and John Holden/Jason Pitt (Silicone/Barnes Racing Adolf RS) giving Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz a hard time on the Santander Salt Yamaha.

Out on track for the first time was the new Ryde F1 chassis ridden by Chris Wright and Paul Bailey. They are the current Bemsee Club championship leaders with a huge degree of experience. The plan is for the new chassis to find its way onto the grid in the hands of an established Molson group team for further evaluation, with Andy Peach/Ken Edwards earmarked for that role.

Phil Bell is another driver involved in using the new chassis. Using his familiar LCR, he and Jimmy Connell went well, finishing in seventh place behind hard charging Scott Lawrie/Shelley Smithies.

George Holden’s passenger Oscar Lawrence was plagued with a stomach bug over the weekend, so they were below their usual standard. Ben and Tom Birchall though, made it yet another victory, with Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney following them home. The gap at the flag almost seven seconds.

Race 1 Archer & Hyde, Bell & Connell, Lawrie & Smithies, Holden & Lawrence

Result –
1/ Ben/Tom Birchall (Haith Honda)
2/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR Express Tyres Yamaha)
3/ Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz (Santander Salt Yamaha)
4/ John Holden/Jason Pitt (Barnes/Silicone Yamaha)
5/ Ben Holland/Tom Christie (JH Kawasaki)
6/ Scott Lawrie/Shelley Smithies (SLR Suzuki)
7/ Phil Bell/Jimmy Connell (Marin Motorsport Yamaha)
8/ Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde (Hannafin Adolf RS Yamaha)
9/ George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Holden racing Suzuki)
10/ Andy Peach/Ken Edwards (Lifesafety Yamaha)

Race Two – this race was all about tyres, with a drying track ahead of the ten-lap race. The Birchall boys opted for intermediate front and sidecar, with what appeared to be a slick rear. At the end of the race, it was hard to determine what they were, because the degradation was so high.

Nonetheless, similarly shod Blackstock and Rosney chased them all the way in this race, and it became a two-horse affair at the front as lap after lap the red Yamaha shadowed the Haith Honda.

Behind them, the Ben Holland/John Holden battle raged for the entire ten lap, with the Kawasaki of Holland eventually completing the podium. Ben is enjoying his racing again, and it showed as he and Tom Christie moved third in the standings.

Tom Christie

Peach/Edwards had a much better outing this time claiming eighth behind George Holden and Phil Bell, with Scott Lawrie/Shelley Smithies, despite a scary moment exiting the Hairpin, claiming a fine fifth. This has been a good, consistent year for the Scot and his lady passenger.

At the flag, Blackstock/Rosney were less that one second behind the Birchall Honda, with the gap having been less in the closing stages. Ben Birchall freely admitted it was a close race, and clearly, the Blackstock/Rosney duo are in the
groove.

The Ryde F1 paring of Wright/Bailey had a hairy episode at the foot of the mountain when the driver’s chest pad became detached and jammed the steering.

He managed to throw it clear, so all was well, and they finished twelfth.

Race 2 Birchall & Birchall, Blackstock & Rosney, Holland & Christie

Result –
1/ Birchall/Birchall
2/ Blackstock/Rosney
3/ Holland/Christie
4/ Holden/Pitt
5/ Lawrie/Smithies
6/ Bell/Connell
7/ Holden/Lawrence
8/ Peach/Edwards
9/ Robinson/Fairhurst
10/ Archer/Hyde

Championship standings –
Birchall 265
Blackstock 153
Holland 122
J Holden 116
Lawrie 84
Archer 80
Peach 79
Christie 76
G Holden 74
Ellis 70.

The next round comes from Snetterton September 3-5th.

Photo credits: Jenny “Triker” Wells

FIM Sidecars: All eyes on sunny Croatia for round five 20-22nd August

FIM Sidecars: All eyes on sunny Croatia for round five 20-22nd August

FIM Sidecars: All eyes on sunny Croatia for round five 20-22nd August

Race action from Assen

As the 2021 season moves into its second half, the battle at the top of the standings reflects a dominant performance by the vastly experienced Swiss crew Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries (Gustoil Racing Yamaha).

They enjoy a thirty-two-point advantage over series newcomers Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement and their Santander Salt Yamaha LCR.

An incident last time out at Assen involving Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau left Ellis/Clement in the gravel in race one, empty-handed as far as points went, hence the wide deficit.

The Bonovo Action duo of Reeves/Rousseau salvaged third place in that race, but now sit in fifth place in the standings, eighty points behind Schlosser. The long journey to the Automotodrom Grobnik will give Ellis the opportunity to close the gap at the top, and he will certainly be aiming to make up the deficit.

A somewhat rejuvenated Pekka Paivarinta is third, twenty points behind Ellis, and he is more than capable of springing a surprise at this stage in the season. Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood have got their act together and play a smart game waiting and watching the others knock the ball out of the park. Twice already they have benefitted from incidents ahead of them, so who’s to say Croatia will be any different? They find themselves just seventeen points off third place and eleven ahead of Reeves/Rousseau.

Fourteen teams from eight nations have signed up for the long haul to Croatia with some of the lesser lights almost certain to gain respectable points for their efforts.

Schlosser is fast, very fast, and he is obviously the target for everyone to aim at. For Ellis to win the title in his debut year would be a dream come true, but he has the speed too, and already has shown a huge amount of maturity and patience. With four more rounds ahead of them, it is all very much still to play for.

Live timing for the event next weekend can be found here >>

Photo credits: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

British F1: Cadwell Sidecar Revival 2021 T-Shirts on sale

British F1: Cadwell Sidecar Revival 2021 T-Shirts on sale

British F1: Cadwell Sidecar Revival 2021 T-Shirts on sale

Cadwell Revival 2021 Tshirt - light yellow
Cadwell Revival 2021 Tshirt - dark yellow

Cadwell Park Sidecar Revival T-Shirts are now available to purchase from Ebay.

The links below will take you to the Ebay listings where you will be able to purchase them. They are available in light yellow or dark yellow and available in sizes small to extra large.

The t-shirts are £10.00 each and £3.50 postage.

Light Yellow Cadwell Revival T-Shirt 2021 – Size small
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/294332014063

Light Yellow Cadwell Revival T-Shirt 2021 – Size Medium
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/294332012228

Light Yellow Cadwell Revival T-Shirt 2021 – Size Large
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/294332015652

Light Yellow Cadwell Revival T-Shirt 2021 – Size Extra Large
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/294332043728

Dark Yellow Cadwell Revival T-Shirt 2021 – Size small
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/294332048045

Dark Yellow Cadwell Revival T-Shirt 2021 – Size Medium
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/294332046799

Dark Yellow Cadwell Revival T-Shirt 2021 – Size Large
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/294332046185

Dark Yellow Cadwell Revival T-Shirt 2021 – Size Extra Large
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/294332045516

British F1: Birchalls take huge lead into round five at Cadwell Park

British F1: Birchalls take huge lead into round five at Cadwell Park

British F1: Birchalls take huge lead into round five at Cadwell Park

Race action from Cadwell Park

The Molson Group Sidecars return to Lincolnshire just two weeks after appearing at the popular Cadwell Sidecar Revival meeting.

Unbeaten up to that point, series leaders Ben and Tom Birchall took a win and two second places, beaten only by FIM World Championship top runners Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement.

The Santander Salt teamsters are away in Croatia, a clash with the popular BSB weekend, so the coast is clear for the Mansfield boys to resume normal service on their Haith Honda. They recorded the fastest ever 600cc three- wheeled lap of Cadwell in qualifying two weeks ago, so given the right weather pattern, the stage is set for more rapid action.

Also heading for the Rijeka circuit in the sun are Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood, Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz and Kevin Cable/Kyle Masters. Tim Reeves/Kevin Rosseau are committed solely to overseas racing this year, so will also be in Croatia.

Back to the here and now, with a trio of third places last time out, Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney have moved second in the title chase albeit over one hundred points adrift.

A rejuvenated Ben Holland, with Tom Christie alongside, has muscled the JH Racing Kawasaki into third spot in the standings, as they enjoy something of a stellar season. Evergreen John Holden sits fourth but will be looking over his shoulder for his precocious son George, who defeated him for the first time at the Cadwell Revival event.

Sadly, we are also missing two fast crews with injuries. Sam and Adam Christie were Thruxton casualties, whilst Tommy Philp had a massive crash into the tyre wall at Mansfield last time out at Cadwell.

He is recovering from rib and lung damage at the time of going to press. We wish both crews all speed with their recovery. Scott Lawrie and Shelley Smithies also wrecked their bike in the same meeting, giving them much work to do ahead of the coming weekend. You can be sure they will be intent on making up lost ground.

Clashes with World Championship races have been numerous this year, and the door has been left open for big points opportunities. This is yet another of those weekends. However, on current form, it seems unlikely anyone will catch Ben and Tom Birchall, given the pace and sheer stability of their new Honda CBR600.

But, and there is always a but, – there could yet be adverse weather, or possible mechanical issues to hamper their progress. In racing, you just never know. Whatever happens, the Cadwell Park party atmosphere will be unrivalled.

Photo credits: Jenny “Triker” Wells

British F1: Birchalls and Ellis/Clement dominate damp Cadwell Park

British F1: Birchalls and Ellis/Clement dominate damp Cadwell Park

British F1: Birchalls and Ellis/Clement dominate damp Cadwell Park

Race 1 Biggs/Schmitz & Holland/Christie

The celebrated Cadwell Sidecar Revival attracted a full entry of all manner of sidecars, with the main focus being on the three championship races.

Todd Ellis (Santander Salt Yamaha) had his French lady passenger alongside for his second British Championship appearance in as many weeks. Ben and Tom Birchall (Haith Honda) were more than keen to fight for their unbroken record of victories.

Absent from Cadwell Park were Sam and Adam Christie because of Adam’s Thruxton injuries. At this moment in time, the Christie bike will continue to be missing, with the ankle injury to Adam more serious than initially thought. Asked if he might be tempted to use a replacement passenger to protect their points, Sam said the family feeling was, that racing was on hold pending Adam’s recovery. Let’s all hope it is sooner rather than later. Scott Lawrie and Shelley Smithies had a huge crash at Mansfield in Friday practice which seriously bent the bike and ended their weekend prematurely. Happily, both were none the worse for the experience. They intend being back at Cadwell in two weeks time.

Qualifying – Saturday dawned cool but bright, with every prospect of a dry weekend ahead. Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement set an early pace, but it was not long before Ben and Tom Birchall went under their own lap with the fastest three-wheeled time ever recorded at Cadwell to claim pole position by well over one second. The Haith Honda sounded sublime, and the pair looked very smooth indeed.

Tommy Philp and Tom Bryant (Roberts Construction Yamaha) were another quick crew running very similar times to Ellis/Clement, whilst Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney were also not far adrift. Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz ending up fifth fastest.

At the end of the session, a communication breakdown saw Tommy Philp accelerate up the mountain, when Tom Bryant his passenger was preparing to exit stage left into the holding area. He was dumped on the tarmac, with Philp briefly continuing alone. That, however, was not the end of their drama.

Race One – The Birchalls flew off the line in dry fast conditions chased by Ellis/Clement, and for three laps the gap was never more than four tenths of a second. The Honda looked to be superior on straight-line speed and smooth as silk in the bends.

Try as he might, Ellis could not close them down, but chased them home over twelve laps to second place. The winning margin was five seconds at the flag, with Blackstock/Rosney some thirteen seconds further back. Tommy Philp and Tom Bryant were again close in fourth and looking dangerous, until they discovered the exhaust shield had been left in the garage, and not where it should have been protecting the driver. Philp persevered adrenalin fuelled, not giving an inch despite being in constant pain. He made it to the end without losing places but shed some skin from his ankles along the way.

Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz, Ben Holland/Tom Christie and John Holden/Jason Pitt made a real race of it split by just nine seconds at the flag, as George Holden/Oscar Lawrence brought it home in eighth. A close quartet completed the lower order, as Andy Peach/Ken Edwards fought off a race-long challenge from Kevin Cable/Lee Watson, Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde, and Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst. Final place for three points went to Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor for City Lifting.

Clark/Ensor - Peach/Edwards - Robinson/Fairhurst - Cable/Watson

Result
1/ Ben/Tom Birchall (Haith Honda)
2/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
3/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR Express Tyres Yamaha)
4/ Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant (Roberts Construction Yamaha)
5/ Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz (Santander Salt Yamaha)
6/ Ben Holland/Tom Christie (JH Racing Kawasaki)
7/ John Holden/Jason Pitt (Barnes Silicone Racing Adolf RS Yamaha)
8/ George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Suzuki LCR)
9/ Andy Peach/Ken Edwards (Life Safety Yamaha)
10/ Kevin Cable/Lee Watson (L&W Yamaha)

Race Two – With no reverse grid applied at Cadwell, and cool, grey weather conditions, was there an opportunity for Todd Ellis to reign in the flying Birchalls?

Fourteen laps were a good distance in which to do it, and when the lights went off, you just knew the Anglo/French couple were going to give it their best shot. Emmanuelle was learning all the time, so there was every chance

From the lights, again Ben and Tom Birchall led the charge into Coppice and round Charlie’s. On the run down from the Gooseneck to Mansfield, a flash shower caught all the leaders out, with the Birchalls and Todd Ellis going straight onto the grass, along with Lewis Blackstock who just managing to avoid crashing. Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant were not so lucky and came unstuck into the tyre wall, causing the red flag to come out. Both were examined at the scene with Tommy being airlifted to hospital with chest injuries and for further precautionary checks. All best wishes go to Tommy for a speedy return from what turned out to be rib and lung damage. After a heavy downpour, the race was restarted in wet conditions.

This time around, the only tyre choice was full wets, but even as they started, the rain had abated, and the sun was out. The Birchall boys again hit the front chased by the Santander Salt Ellis/Clement pairing. Blackstock and Rosney once more dropped into third, and that is where they stayed for a respectable, if lonely race, Ben Holland and Tom Christie got their Kawasaki into fourth after an early challenge from Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz. This was a strong race for Holland, and he was never threatened once the race settled down. A great battle between the Holdens John and George resulted in the new generation surpassing the old. It was heart-warming to see the quality from both crews throughout the scrap.

Mention should be made of a good performance from Craig Clarke and Peter Ensor as they obviously revelled in the adverse conditions.

Four laps from the end and Ellis/Clement made the move which secured an impressive victory on destroyed rubber. Ben Birchall was magnanimous in defeat despite the fact his unbroken win record in the series had gone.

Barry Nutley interviewing Todd Ellis / Emmanuelle Clement

Result
1/ Ellis/Clement
2/ Ben/Tom Birchall
3/ Blackstock/Rosney
4/ Holland/Christie
5/ Biggs/Schmitz
6/ G Holden/Lawrence
7/ J Holden/Pitt
8/ Peach/Edwards
9/ Clarke/Ensor
10/ Cable/Watson
11/ Archer/Hyde
12/ Robinson/Fairhurst

Race Three – This was declared a wet race, although Rob Biggs made the decision to go out on intermediate tyres. It was a gamble which did not pay off as once again the weather closed in, and persistent rain fell.

The Birchalls made the start, with Ellis/Clement tardy off the line allowing Blackstock through. That was not for long, and this time Ellis got in the groove quickly, assuming control early on. Such was the massive points lead amassed by Ben and Tom Birchall, to risk a crash would have been foolish. Lap times were ten seconds slower in tricky conditions, but that did not stop a brave challenge by Ben Holland/Tom Christie for the final podium position. They chased Blackstock/Rosney down all race long to within one second at the flag. Three podiums for Blackstock moves them to second place in the standings. John Holden, still smarting from defeat by his son, made no mistake this time with an inspired ride to fifth ahead of Andy Peach/Ken Edwards, both still suffering from their big Thruxton crash. A small error by George Holden dropped them off the pace, but they rounded out the weekend with seventh place.

Race 3 Podium - Ellis/Clement - Birchalls - Blackstock/Rosney

Result
1/ Ellis/Clement
2/ Birchall/Birchall
3/ Blackstock/Rosney
4/ Holland/Christie
5/ J Holden/Pitt
6/ Peach/Edwards
7/ G Holden/Lawrence
8/ Robinson/Fairhurst
9/ Cable/Watson
10/ Archer/Hyde

Standings
Birchall 215
Blackstock 113
Holland 95
J Holden 90
Christie 76
Ellis 70
Philp 69
Archer 66
Peach 65
Lawrie 63
G Holden 58
Biggs 52
Clarke 37
Bell 34
Robinson 32
Cable 30
Gilbert 17
Currie 12

The next round is back at Cadwell Park BSB 20-22 August.

Photo credits: Jenny “Triker” Wells

British F1: Fast Thruxton and six not out for Birchalls

British F1: Fast Thruxton and six not out for Birchalls

British F1: Fast Thruxton and six not out for Birchalls

Race one starting lap

Cooler and mixed weather provided interesting racing conditions on what is widely acknowledged as one of the toughest tracks in the UK. With no FIM World round clash for the next two domestic championship weekends, there was a strong entry for both this, and the upcoming Cadwell Park Sidecar Revival. Fresh from success in Assen, Todd Ellis, reunited with Charlie Richardson for home rounds on the Santander Salt Yamaha, was determined to pick up where he left off when last on UK business.

Ben and Tom Birchall arrived at Thruxton on maximum points score from four races, with every intention of maintaining that unbroken record. Torrential rain fell immediately prior to free practice so all seventeen crews began the twenty-minute session on full wet tyres. Todd Ellis set the early pace in the wet, with Ben and Tom Birchall holding station second fastest. Given the weather was very showery, it was clear the situation would change by the time qualifying came around.

Ben Holland and Tom Christie were strong, along with Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney, the Christie brothers and Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant, who nipped fourth fastest at the very end behind Blackstock.

Race action

Qualifying – Heavy rain had indeed abated on Saturday morning, but damp patches persisted around the circuit. General tyre choice was slicks initially to see how things turned out!

At the front there were no surprises as World Championship class showed. The Birchalls and Ellis/Richardson ran neck and neck for most of the session. Tommy Philp and Tom Bryant, gaining confidence with every outing moved third, just as Ben/Tom Birchall set a phenomenal lap half a second inside their own lap record. Ellis at this precise time was in the pit, and just might have been caught napping. Blackstock/Rosney ousted Philp, with the Christie boys and Holland/Christie in the hunt on the lone Kawasaki.

In the closing stages, Rob Biggs moved his Santander Salt Yamaha fifth with a strong fourteenth lap only to be pipped at the post by Ben Holland. With Ellis still in pit lane, pole position went to Ben and Tom Birchall (Haith Honda). Blackstock and Philp made up row two, with Holland and Biggs forming row three.

The Holden family were on rows four and five respectively, with father John and the Christies just ahead of son George and Scott Lawrie completing row five.

Race One – In bright sunlight, twelve laps would be a daunting prospect for the three- wheelers. The sheer speed, the abrasive nature of the track and the right-handed bends which go on forever make life extremely difficult for passengers. Even the best are caught out on this unforgiving track, but that certainly was not the case for Ben and Tom Birchall. The Haith Honda pairing were unstoppable from the word go and established a massive lead as the race developed. The fight for second place was a totally different matter, with Todd Ellis/Charlie Richardson, Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant and Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney locked in a fierce struggle throughout.

Sam and Adam Christie were never far away in fifth, having their own scrap with John Holden/Jason Pitt as Holland and Archer sat just behind. Sadly, the popular Christie brothers were to part company on lap seven.

In fairness, the battles all down the order were worthy of note, and supreme as the Birchall brothers were, their light out front shone alone. The focus of the live television direction was very much on the incredible action behind. As the pack closed in on Todd Ellis, it became obvious four laps in that all was not well.

Ellis was off the pace and the pack were swarming all over him by half distance. That was when he pulled into pit lane, and it was game over. Chaz Richardson admitted afterwards that his long lay-off plus the arduous nature of the track, made it all a bit too much.

The mid-pack scrap was good, with Ben Holland/Tom Christie fighting hard with friends and paddock buddies Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde. John Holden/Jason Pitt had a brilliant ride to fourth place ahead of this battle to equal their best performance to date at Oulton Park. Phil Bell/Jimmy Connell pipped Andy Peach/Ken Edwards to seventh by a whisker, with new daddy Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst having his best ride.

The red flag came out when the Adam Christie came off exiting Church at frightening speed. He sustained breaks to an ankle and one hand, was hospitalised for the repairs, and to remove rubber debris from his injured hand. Our best wishes go to him for a speedy recovery.

Ellis/Richardson and Holden/Lawrence

Result
1/ 1/ Ben Birchall (Haith Honda)
2/ Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant (Roberts Construction Yamaha)
3/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (LCR Yamaha)
4/ John Holden/Jason Pitt (Barnes/Silicone Adolf RS Yamaha)
5/ Ben Holland/Tom Christie (LCR Kawasaki)
6/ Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde (Hannafin Adolf RS)
7/ Phil Bell/Jimmy Connell (Marin Motorsport Yamaha)
8/ Andy Peach/Ken Edwards (Lifesafety Yamaha)
9/ Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst (LCR Yamaha)
10/ Simon Gilbert/Paul Thomas (G Force Adolf RS).

Race Two – The reverse grid was set, and Simon Gilbert led the charge from pole position making an impressive fluorescent orange target at the front. Alongside them, new boys Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst started well but the traffic was swarming all over them on lap one. Todd Ellis/Chaz Richardson had decided to sit this one out given the first race experience, so they were reluctant spectators.

From row five, Ben and Tom Birchall initially had less success than Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant who very quickly were at the sharp end. Two laps in and Philp was fighting with Blackstock/Rosney before forcing to the front and breaking away, with the Birchalls bogged down in the traffic.

The action behind this scrap and mid-pack raged for half the race with notable performances by John Holden/Jason Pitt and Ben Holland/Tom Christie. Scott Lawrie/Shelley Smithies fought up from the back row to claim fifth at the flag behind Holden. This result moved them fourth in the table. Lap six saw slight contact between Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz and Andy Peach Ken Edwards resulting in Peach spinning and rolling over. Mercifully, both were none the worse for the experience. Rob Biggs was the first to check on the pair on the slow-down lap, and all is well between them. Once up with Philp, the Birchall boys chose the moment to pass, and when through, opened a six second margin almost matching their own lap record set earlier in the day.

The battle for second between Holden and Holland went the way of the burly local man by four one-hundredths of a second, giving Ben Holland/Tom Christie a debut podium.

Blackstock/Rosney appeared to have an issue after a hard bump over the chicane kerb, and they dropped to sixth ahead of Biggs/Schmitz and Phil Bell/Jimmy Connell. This was by far the best we have seen from Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant, who have now well and truly emerged as potential champions of the future. Three podiums from three finishes say it all.

Podium

Result
1/ Ben/Tom Birchall
2/ Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant
3/ Ben Holland/Tom Christie
4/ John Holden/Jason Pitt
5/ Scott Lawrie/Shelley Smithies (Team SLR Suzuki LCR)
6/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney
7/ Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz
8/ Phil Bell/Jimmy Connell
9/ Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde
10/ Kevin Cable/Lee Watson (L&W Contractors Yamaha)

Standings
Birchall 150
Christie 76
Blackstock 65
Lawrie 63
J Holden 61
Holland 59
Philp 56
Archer 50
Peach 40
Bell 34
G Holden 31
Biggs 30
Clarke 27
Gilbert 17
Robinson 16
Currie 12
Cable 11
Hildige 9

The next round is from The Cadwell Revival 6-8 August.

Photo credits: Jenny “Triker” Wells

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