FIM Sidecars – Legendary Spa circuit hosts round three June 2-5th

FIM Sidecars – Legendary Spa circuit hosts round three June 2-5th

FIM Sidecars – Legendary Spa circuit hosts round three June 2-5th

Ellis/Clement

The sight of grand prix sidecars streaming through Eau Rouge and away along the Keppel Straight is a sight to stir even the most passive of motorsport fans. That is what to expect the weekend of June 2-5th when the third round of the FIM Sidecar World Championship again joins the FIM Endurance World Championship, this time at the famous 4.352 miles Ardennes circuit of Spa Francorchamps in Belgium.

Four races are already done with fierce battles up front. Young British star Todd Ellis (Santander Salt Yamaha) and French lady passenger Emmanuelle Clement, hold a slender four-point lead over reigning champions Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries. The Swiss Gustoil Yamaha team have been as strong as last season, earning universal respect for their skill and determination.

In third place is many times champion Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau who will not improve on his current score. He, along with Ben and Tom Birchall, is competing in the Isle of Man TT, which unfortunately clashes with the Spa event. All efforts were made to slot the dates with other events, but the opportunity to compete alongside another FIM major series was a priority.

Race action from Assen

That will almost certainly leave the door open for fourth place Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood to move up the table on their Quattro Yamaha. The current British Champions have excelled on the world stage, registering strong finishes at every round so far. By far the strongest talent not in the top six is former champion Benny Streuer from the Netherlands. He and Kevin Kolsch are playing catch-up on the Bonovo Yamaha and will be strong contenders in Belgium. They are joined by compatriots Vermeule/Bouius.

Six nations in total feature on the grid with a large French contingent headed by Ted and Vincent Peugeot. The nineteen-year-old, with his father alongside has been a bright light of young talent, with more to come. They sit seventh, just four points off Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes (DAO1886 Yamaha). This latter pair are also entered for the TT and may have to make some hard decisions. We wish them luck.

Five French crews in total join the fray, along with five British and two Swiss teams in the shape of Schlosser and Lukas Wyssen. Rupert Archer/Steve Thomas also wave the flag for the UK and Hannafin, with Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson performing on their L&W Yamaha. Markus Schwegler/Ondrej Kopecky trek from Germany and Czech Republic respectively, with home honours defended by Belgians Cedric and Arnaud Pierard. A dedicated TV crew will once again record the action for later transmission, with broadcast schedules and destinations already decided in many countries.

Photo credit: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

FIM Sidecars to get global exposure in new deal

FIM Sidecars to get global exposure in new deal

FIM Sidecars to get global exposure in new deal

Race action from Le Mans

RKB-F1 Motorsport is delighted to bring some exciting news to fans and lovers of Grand Prix Sidecar racing worldwide.

Each round of the 2022 FIM Sidecar World Championship will have a half-hour TV show filmed and produced by a dedicated crew and aired across the globe through a variety of channels.

TV exposure is key to the growth and awareness of any sport. It broadens the fan-base and attracts new audiences. It stimulates sponsorship opportunities and opens doors. Sidecar racing is one sport which has suffered historically from a lack of exposure and general understanding. That has turned it into something of a niche sport.

However, if you put that out there for all to see, suddenly the awareness will come. The spectacle of two people climbing all over what resembles a three-wheeled Formula One car, at speeds approaching 150 miles per hour, is something which defies belief.

Put twenty of these missiles together on a track, and things become very interesting indeed.

That is the thinking behind a new arrangement struck with PCG TV (Performance Communication Group) which will significantly increase that exposure. Details of TV distribution already agreed is as listed below.

Main UK broadcaster will be Freesport, secondary broadcaster (4 x weeks later) Sporty Stuff and Ayozat (both Sky channels).
Motorvision TV showing in circa 100 countries (Europe/Asia/Africa)
More than Sports free to air in Germany
MotoRRacing showing in UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland on Samsung TV Plus
MotoRRacing worldwide through Distro TV with 99% viewers in US
MotoRRacing showing Indonesia with LongTV and Transvision

PCG TV continue to work on our behalf to add to this already impressive list of broadcasters. Our sport should now reach more homes than ever before.

Photo credit: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

British F1: Double top and lap record for Ellis and Clement at Oulton Park

British F1: Double top and lap record for Ellis and Clement at Oulton Park

British F1: Double top and lap record for Ellis and Clement at Oulton Park

Race 1 podium

​The opening two races of the 2022 season at a packed Oulton Park gave the spectators good value for money, despite a reduced grid size. Clashes with other events diluted the normally strong attendance. However, it was clear to see the crowds were delighted to be back trackside at BSB, with its full programme of support classes.

Following free practice in which Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement set quickest time on the Santander Salt Yamaha, the sunny conditions which prevailed for two days prior, turned into a grey day with spots of rain in the air just as the outfits rolled out for qualifying.

Thirteen crews were entered, with a good bunch of fast boys intending to give Ellis a run for his money. Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney and Sam/Tom Christie (CES Yamaha) were second and third quickest, with George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Kawasaki LCR) running a strong fourth. John Holden/Jason Pitt were impressive on their TT F2 chassis with a standard specification motor fitted. Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde were another crew
bedding in their TT LCR Honda, looking not in the slightest rusty.

Qualifying

From the word go, despite tricky conditions, Ellis/Clement were in attack mode, with the Christie brothers giving it their best shot. The race lap-record set by Ben and Tom Birchall last season was the benchmark, and the World Series leaders surpassed that on lap six. A time of 1.43.644 was two tenths inside the record, and that was on a cold and very slightly damp track, which the French lady was seeing for the first time. Behind them, the Christie brothers and Blackstock/Rosney were strong, with George Holden/Oscar Lawrence marginally quicker than Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley on their Rowtech Honda. Always a force to be reckoned with, Pete Founds was his usual determined self.

Rob Biggs and Jeroen Schmitz suffered head gasket failure, with Paul/Tom Kirby out of action with suspected clutch problems on their KRT Racing Yamaha Adolf RS. Both crews were busy in the garage at the close of play, and would do their best to make the grid for the opening race, albeit from the back. So, the front row featured Ellis/Clement and Blackstock/Rosney, from Sam/Tom Christie and George Holden/Oscar Lawrence, then came F2 rivals Founds/Walmsley and Holden/Pitt, with row four carrying Andy Peach/Ken Edwards and Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst.

Two ten lap races were scheduled, so there was plenty of opportunity to grab big points. Given there were a couple of clashes between World and British title fights, it was imperative that Todd Ellis scored as many as possible here at the opener.

Race One

Overnight rain fell, but by the time the outfits arrived at the line, the track had seen hectic British Superbike action dry the track. Pole sitters Ellis/Clement got a flyer, chased by Blackstock/Rosney. The Christies were up into third and there they stayed. The speed differential between them and Blackstock was tight but overtaking on the Oulton Park circuit is not easy. Next came Pete Founds and Jevan Walmsley. The leading F2 outfit was hassled in the early laps by a hard charging George Holden/Oscar Lawrence.

Holden / Lawrence

There was a new level of determination from the former Bemsee champions, and their bike was fast. They swarmed all over Founds/Walmsley until the 600 Kawasaki let go in a big way, breaking a con-rod. The dry sump configuration contained the oil in the tank, so there was no contamination to the track. That left Pete Founds to make fourth place his, ahead of John Holden/Jason Pitt, who with their standard engine, claimed the fourth place points.

Shawn and Anthony Hildige had a hairy moment exiting Old Hall on lap three, slamming the Armco barrier at 115 MPH before spinning and throwing Anthony from the chair. They were lucky not to go in head-on. This ended their day. Another rare, if not unique situation saw Phil Hyde exit Gary Bryan’s Honda, only to jump straight back in and claim a ninth- place finish.

Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst made great strides from a pit-lane start to overhaul Andy Peach/Ken Edwards for sixth place, with Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz still with coolant trouble, not completing a lap. Tom Kirby was feeling the effects of no track-time and found Oulton Park almost a bridge too far in race one, but after a good night’s sleep, had his head in a better place for race two. Nonetheless, they were credited with a finish and points. This pair of Kirbys are committed to the season, and simply need to be more on the bike. Lap times were good, and all the signs are there. They were up there with Craig Hauxwell and Gary Bryan, so they can take encouragement from that.

Hauxwell / Taylor

At the front, Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement were cruising, but banged in a new lap record on their way to victory. They were half a second quicker than Ben and Tom Birchall were this time last year. Blackstock/Rosney and the Christie brothers completed the podium with polished displays.

 

Result

1/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
2/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha)
3/ Sam Christie/Adam Christie (Christie Engineering Services Yamaha)
4/ Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley (Rowtech Honda F2)
5/ John Holden/Jason Pitt (Barnes Racing Yamaha F2)
6/ Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst (24/7 Courier Service Yamaha)
7/ Andy Peach/Ken Edwards (Lifesafety Yamaha)
8/ Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor (VINYLS 4U Adolf RS Yamaha)
9/ Gary Bryan/Phil Hyde (GBR Honda LCR)
10/ Paul Kirby/Tom Kirby (KRT Racing Yamaha)

Race Two

In keeping with tradition, the reverse grid saw Paul and Tom Kirby on pole position alongside Gary Bryan/Phil Hyde. The first few laps were spectacular, in fact the action surpassed the first race in terms of entertainment. Craig Hauxwell and Derek Taylor went onto the grass at Cascades on lap one, spinning on the gravel and ending up capsized. Neither was hurt, dented pride being the only affliction. Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley were not about to pass up the chance of having top crews behind and led after lap one from Blackstock/Rosney and Gary Bryan/Phil Hyde. Todd Ellis was fifth but on a charge. He was soon up with the leaders and went ahead on lap three.

He and Clement were never to look back, setting another new lap record in the process. They came to within one second of Tim/Tristan Reeves 1000cc best from 2017 with a time of 1.42.987.

Race action

Sam/Tom Christie’s Yamaha was the fastest through the speed traps, and testament to their engineering skills. They fought from eighth on lap one to third at the flag, although it took them five laps to muscle past Pete Founds. Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz spun the other Santander Salt bike, but given the way their weekend had gone, were more than happy to recover and claim ten valuable points. Once the Christies had dispensed with Pete Founds, it was the turn of George Holden/Oscar Lawrence to tangle with the F2 star. Lap after lap he was hassled and harried, but only succumbed in the closing stages, as the youngsters shot by on the final lap. This scrap, with Holden junior using the spare engine – in his own words “an old motor”, was almost the highlight of the race.

Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst did another great job, bringing it home in sixth, ahead of Biggs and John Holden/Jason Pitt on their resplendent TT bike. Gary Bryan/Phil Hyde, along with pole men the battling Kirbys, completed the top ten, with another eight championship points going to the latter crew. They emerged from Oulton in sixth place overall – get in!!!

Ellis / Clement

Andy Peach/Ken Edwards, after scoring well in the opener, were deemed non-finishers along with Hauxwell/Taylor. All in all, given the shortage of entries due to alternative event clashes and TT preparation, the racing was good, if a little eventful, with the Ellis/Clement bringing their World series class to bear in emphatic style.

Result

1/ Ellis/Clement
2/ Blackstock/Rosney
3/ Christie/Christie
4/ Holden/Lawrence
5/ Founds/Walmsley
6/ Robinson/Fairhurst
7/Biggs/Schmitz
8/ Holden/pit
9/ Bryan/Hyde
10/ Kirby/Kirby

Standings

Ellis/Clement 50
Blackstock/Rosney 40
Christie/Christie 32
Holden/Pitt 22
Robinson/Fairhurst 22
Kirby/Kirby 16
Holden/Lawrence 13
Biggs/Schmitz 10
Peach/Edwards 10
Hauxwell/Taylor 9

Round Two comes from north of the border at Knockhill, Fife, June 17-19.

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