FIM Sidecars – Championship joy in Estoril for Ellis/Clement as Schlosser/Fries fight all the way

FIM Sidecars – Championship joy in Estoril for Ellis/Clement as Schlosser/Fries fight all the way

FIM Sidecars – Championship joy in Estoril for Ellis/Clement as Schlosser/Fries fight all the way

2022 Champions

The last weekend in October is often tricky for its weather in Portugal, and we were not disappointed. Track temperature on arrival hovered around twenty- two with an ambient of twenty. Humidity was also high with periodic rain forecast for the weekend. This cliff-hanger finale was poised to give victory to Santander Salt’s Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement with their fifty-one-point advantage. Their goal surely must have been to put the title out of reach of rivals and defending champions Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries in the opening race. Double points in both races however were a major consideration for both contenders. This factor could also radically change the complexion of the table further down the order.

Early on Friday the first private practice saw Schlosser/Fries in determined mood as they, along with Bennie Streuer/Kevin Kolsch and Ted/VincentPeugeot headed the field from Wyssen/Hofer, Kershaw/Charlwood and Payne/Crowe. In free practice proper, the two key players were top of the pile from the off, with Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood fresh from Brands Hatch victory, making themselves conspicuous, going third fastest in the early stages.

That changed as Ellis and Schlosser slugged it out, getting the measure of what was to come. With ten minutes left, Kershaw was back in the game, going second fastest. The top three were all in the 1.47’s with Ted Peugeot, Lukas Wyssen and Sam/Tom Christie the best of the rest along with Pekka Pavairinta/Ilse de Haas.

Ellis hit back, moving to within a fraction of Schlosser’s new time of 1.46.680 as the clock ticked into the final few minutes.

Qualifying

Two twenty-minute sessions would sort out the grid, both on Saturday afternoon. Rain was predicted later in the day, but it held off for the teams to get a decent run.

Immediately, Ellis/Clement laid down a marker with the only lap in the 1.46 bracket, clearly meaning business. Veteran Finn Pavairinta slotted fourth fastest but as the session wore on he was replaced by Sam/Tom Christie having a rare FIM outing having already finished runners-up in the British series. Ever present Kershaw/Charlwood sat third with Lukas Wyssen/Thomas Hofer climbing to fourth with three minutes left on the clock.

Closing stages and the wily Schlosser found half a second to knock Ellis off the top. Bennie Streuer, having missed free practice, ran eighth behind Pavairinta/de Haas. Despite a flying final effort, Ellis missed the provisional cut by just two tenths, but you could sense there was more to come later.

Session two and mercifully conditions were as good, so it was still game on at the front. Five minutes in and Ellis/Clement had turned purple across the board, bettering their earlier time by three tenths to go top. Next lap and they did it again. The British Champions were on fire this time out with eyes firmly set on victory. Schlosser was next fastest, almost one second adrift of the pair, until Kershaw/Charlwood threw a hand-grenade into the party, going top with eight minutes left to go. Schlosser then upped his game to move ahead of Ellis. The newly crowned British Champions would share row two with Ted Peugeot, by far his best qualifying and a sign of things to come from the young Frenchman.

Race One

Despite the morning warm-up being a total washout, the day improved steadily, with the track perfect for the race. The Quattro Yamaha of Kershaw/Charlwood sat proudly on pole position alongside Schlosser. Despite running well in qualifying, Bennie Streuer was to sit this one out with a blown engine which could not be fixed.

First lap

Ellis needed a good start, but eighteen laps was a long way, with no need to panic. A fifty-one-point lead was big, but Schlosser was a fearsome adversary to be respected. The Swiss grabbed the hole shot followed by Kershaw, but Ellis was on a mission from row two, taking the lead halfway round lap one to grab control at the front. Schlosser also lost out to the flying Quattro mounted Kershaw/Charlwood, as Ted and Vincent Peugeot battled hard with Sam and Tom Christie.

As leaders, the Santander Salt duo were on target to put the championship out of reach and get the job done in this opening race. All they needed to do was stay ahead of Schlosser.

Then amazingly, after a sensational lap four, Kershaw was in the lead, nudging Ellis out of ten points and almost into the claws of Schlosser. Two laps later, and the title leaders were down in third behind Schlosser. Just four tenths split the top three at this point as Kershaw/Charlwood raised the stakes. Half race distance and Schlosser/Fries were now all over the Quattro Yamaha of Kershaw as they sought to maximise their effort.

Then suddenly on lap ten, Schlosser was in front and going like a train. He was not going to surrender easily, and Todd Ellis had a fight on his hands to limit the damage.

An equally tight scrap was taking place for fourth, as Wyssen, Peugeot and Christie slugged it out wheel to wheel. Sam Christie was in fifth place, but it was a close call. Pekka Pavairinta sat seventh, but twenty-plus seconds adrift of the leaders. He was later to suffer tyre degradation, unable to improve. Harry Payne/Callum Crowe were next up with Kevin Cable/Chaz Richardson ninth. Payne was in trouble with a slowing engine, so he too was consigned to battle for the lower points.

Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson renewed their love affair with Claude Vinet and Christophe Pouillot, enjoying a race-long scrap to finish tenth behind the stylish French team.

In this leading position, Schlosser was reducing the deficit by a good amount, leaving nothing on the table. Into the closing stages and the defending champion had opened a five second advantage over Kershaw who was by now coming under real pressure from a resurgent Ellis/Clement. On the penultimate lap, Ellis found a way past the Quattro Yamaha, so his damage limitation was working. With this showing, it would all go to the final race on Sunday. Despite a fast final lap, Ellis could not close on the race leader Schlosser, so climbed the podium in second place with a reduced series lead of forty-one points.

Race one winners - Schlosser/Fries

Result

1/ Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries (Gustoil Yamaha)
2/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
3/ Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Yamaha)
4/ Lukas Wyssen/Thomas Hofer (Gustoil Yamaha)
5/ Ted Peugeot/Vincent Peugeot (FHC Competition Yamaha)
6/ Sam Christie/Tom Christie (CES Yamaha)
7/ Pekka Pavairinta/Ilse de Haas (Bonovo Action Yamaha)
8/ Harry Payne/Callum Crowe (Team 45 Racing Yamaha)
9/ Claude Vinet/Christophe Pouillot (Team Vinet LKS Yamaha)
10/ Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson (L&W Contractors Yamaha).

Race Two

There was a clear mandate for Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries, and that was to take victory regardless. In that event, Ellis/Clement needed a top eleven finish. A retirement for either crew could not be countenanced.

To have this series go all the way to the final race, was a promoter’s dream come true, and quite a way for Roger Body to exit that role. The weather was perfect to sign off the season, and nerves were jangling as thirteen starters lined up for this last hurrah of 2022. Once again the Gustoil Yamaha of Schlosser hit the front.

Race two start

Kershaw/Charlwood were keen to go out in style and hung onto the Swiss pair’s coat tails, with Ellis keeping his powder dry in third. He was staying in touch and playing a waiting game. Lap three and Steve Kershaw then did Todd Ellis a massive favour as he forced by the race leader to put the Quattro Yamaha ahead.

One lap later and Sam/Tom Christie nudged ahead of Ellis, demoting him to fourth. This was a magnificent performance from the Beverly based brothers, backing up their fine British season. Literally moments after this move, the defending champion was back in front aiming for fifty more points. On lap nine, the Santander Salt Yamaha of Ellis/Clement re-took the Christies to move back to third. This was easily job done if Todd could stay there.

Schlosser banged in the fastest lap of the race with a 1.45.837 to underline his intent, but with Ellis sitting pretty it was all for nothing at this stage. Over half distance, Christies were fourth, Lukas Wyssen fifth, Ted Peugeot and Pavairinta sixth and seventh. These top seven crews were split by just eight seconds with ten laps completed.

This was a stellar show by the defending champions, and an equally good fight by Kershaw/Charlwood. Ellis show maturity beyond his years, and simply kept his cool. Harry Payne/Callum Crowe led the rest of the chasing bunch with their ailing engine, but way off the back of Pavairinta in seventh. Kevin Cable/Chaz Richardson were next up having a great fight with Rupert Archer/Steve Thomas. The L&W Team have enjoyed a solid and satisfying season, with a good overall position to show for it. Archer too enjoyed his weekend, and this pair had a great second race together.

With two laps to go, Schlosser could do no more, and appeared to be going down in style. Then, remarkably, the Swiss pair had a rare moment and spun.

Kershaw took the lead again, repeating the favour to Ellis. Former team- mates, this was working well for Santander Salt and Ellis/Clement.

Kershaw Charlwood lead Schlosser Fries then Christie brothers

That is the way it stayed, with the Quattro Yamaha of Kershaw/Charlwood taking victory ahead of outgoing champions Schlosser/Fries, and Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement completing the podium, lifting the 2022 FIM Sidecar World Championship in the process. Twenty-seven-year-old Ellis from Lincolnshire now joins an elite band which includes Tim Reeves, Steve Webster, and the late Jock Taylor as winners of both World and British titles in the same year. His passenger Emmanuelle Clement can also now add the FIM Gold Medal to her British and French title successes.

All the battles behind the leading trio in this Estoril finale are very worthy of recognition, as all thirteen crews finished with heads held high.

Top three battle for the lead

Result

1/ Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Yamaha)
2/ Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries (Gustoil Yamaha)
3/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha) Champions
4/ Sam/Tom Christie (CES Yamaha)
5/ Lukas Wyssen/Thomas Hofer (Gustoil Yamaha)
6/ Pekka Pavairinta/Ilse de Haas (Bonovo Action Yamaha)
7/ Ted/Vincent Peugeot (FHC Competition Yamaha)
8/ Harry Payne/Callum Crowe (Team 45 Racing Yamaha)
9/ Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson (L&W Contractors Yamaha)
10/ Rupert Archer/Steve Thomas (Hannafin Adolf RS Yamaha)
11/ Phillipe Le Bail/Serge Leveau (Auto-Terca Yamaha)
12/ Claude Vinet/Christophe Pouillot (Team Vinet LKS Yamaha)
13/ Pierre Leguen/Leopold Rouby ( Team Leguen Suzuki)

Final standings

Ellis/Clement 377
Schlosser/Fries 344
Kershaw/Charlwood 302
Wyssen/Hofer 188
Payne/Wilkes/Crowe 151
Peugeot/Peugeot 143
Streuer/Kolsch 130
Cable/Richardson 105
Christie/Christie 89
Vinet/Vinet/Pouillot 82
Reeves/Rousseau 68
Pierard/Pierard 45

Full standings will be available on the FIM website, with our TV highlights show to follow shortly.

Championship winners Ellis and Clement

Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement

Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries

Stephen Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood

Photo credit: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

FIM Sidecars – Estoril hosts gripping title decider 28 October – 1 November

FIM Sidecars – Estoril hosts gripping title decider 28 October – 1 November

FIM Sidecars – Estoril hosts gripping title decider 28 October – 1 November

Ellis/Clement, Schlosser/Fries, Kershaw/Charlwood

For the second year in a row, the final round of the 2022 FIM Sidecar World Championship travels to Estoril, Portugal for the closing two races of the season. The event also marks the swansong of Roger Body’s RKB-F1 organisation as promoter of the series. Roger is standing down after a lifetime involved in sidecar racing both as a competitor and as figurehead. On behalf of the entire international sidecar racing community, we thank Roger for his efforts and commitment over many years, and more recently persevering through a difficult time as promoter of two championships.

Seventeen teams from seven nations are entered for Estoril at the time of going to press, with Great Britain’s Todd Ellis and his French passenger Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha) enjoying a fifty-one-point lead in the title chase. Ordinarily, this would be a winning margin without turning a wheel, but the final round carries one hundred points across the two races, which is a very different matter. Having clinched the British title just last weekend, the dynamic duo is poised to do the double.

Ellis’s rivals Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries (Gustoil Yamaha) are intent on defending the crown they won in 2021 to the very last race. It is a stage set for the utmost drama, and the Estoril circuit lends itself to just such an occasion.

The Quattro Yamaha of Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood sits third after a very consistent debut season for the new pairing, and whilst mathematically it is still possible for them to become champions, it would need a catastrophic weekend for the two crews ahead of them. Realistically, they will finish in the bronze medal position unless some misfortune befalls Schlosser.

Young Swiss Lukas Wyssen with Thomas Hofer alongside is somewhat vulnerable in fourth, with former champion Bennie Streuer/Kevin Kolsch just a handful of points behind. Resurgent Harry Payne/Callum Crowe salvaged a result last time out in Germany when it looked as if their season was on the rocks following a change of personal circumstances. They borrowed a bike, turning in two solid results keeping sixth place alive. They are back for more, and keen to improve.

A dedicated TV crew will be in Portugal filming both races for the usual highlights show with global distribution through our television partners.
Shorter versions of both races will also be available after transmission on our YouTube Channel. Stay across all the news on www.rkb-f1-sidecars.com and all our Social Media platforms.

Photo credit: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

Ellis/Clement claim title for Santander Salt in epic Brands thriller

Ellis/Clement claim title for Santander Salt in epic Brands thriller

Ellis/Clement claim title for Santander Salt in epic Brands thriller

Tom Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement with their trophies

The final race weekend of the British Superbike calendar sported a full entry of over twenty sidecars to see the season out. Friday free practice took place in fine weather conditions, with qualifying later in the day. With double points on offer over the two races, there was still an opportunity for the title to go one of three ways. Clear favourites, nineteen points ahead were Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha). Ever hopeful in second place sat Sam and Tom Christie (CES Yamaha), with third placed Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyres Services Yamaha) a further sixty-one points back.

Qualifying

Spots of rain had made the track slightly damp as the twenty teams began the session. Conditions were far from ideal, but straight from the off, Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood headed the field on the Quattro Yamaha. Ellis/Clement and the Birchall brothers were in close company. Joining one lap later, Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney immediately went fastest, only to lose out to Birchall and Ellis. Sam and Tom Christie were fifth fastest with a 1.33.452 as Kershaw consolidated third place to head up row two alongside Blackstock/Rosney. There was little in it between the top two, but the Birchall brother shaved it, taking pole position by one tenth from Ellis/Clement. Their time was half a second shy of the lap record time set by Ellis earlier this year.

Row three were Christie/Christie and consistently quick Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther, with row four featuring Rob Biggs and veteran Rick Lawrence alongside bright new pairing Luke Williams/Jason Pitt on the Williams Racing Yamaha.

Race One

A brilliantly sunny morning turned into light showers later in the day, with the sidecar race scheduled for late afternoon. From the lights, Todd Ellis was steady away, not making the most of his front row start. He and Emmanuelle Clement were gobbled up by Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood and Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney into fifth place. Meanwhile, Ben and Tom Birchall headed out in front, chased all the way by the Quattro Yamaha of Kershaw, as Sam and Tom Christie slotted into third spot. In this position, the Beverly brothers were reducing the points disadvantage from Ellis and were intent on staying there.

We then had two distinct fights on our hands, as Kershaw dived under the Birchalls at Druids, and Ellis passed the Christie boys at Surtees. This manoeuvre left Ellis a bit wide, and he lost out again to the CES Yamaha.

Out front, a personal best lap time went to Kershaw/Charlwood within two tenths of lap record pace, and Ellis finally secured third, albeit too distant to get back in touch with the Haith Honda of Ben Birchall. This battle at the front overshadowed scraps further down the order, with Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney gamely battling on for a solid result behind Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther to hold third in the standings. Ben and Tom Birchall’s result catapulted themselves up the order four places to fifth overall with race two still to come.

Result

1/ Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Yamaha)
2/ Ben Birchall/Tom Birchall (Haith Honda LCR)
3/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
4/ Sam Christie/Tom Christie (CES Yamaha)
5/ Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther (ARC/Marin Motorsport Kawasaki)
6/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha)
7/ Rob Biggs/Rick Lawrence (Santander Salt Yamaha)
8/ George Holden/Matty Ramsden (Barnes Racing Adolf RS Yamaha)
9/ Luke Williams/Jason Pitt (Williams Racing Yamaha)
10/ Craig Currie/Justin Sharp (Birchall Racing Honda).

Race Two

A reverse grid saw Luke Williams/Jason Pitt neck and neck with Craig Currie/Justin Sharp into Paddock Hill Bend with Rob Biggs/Rick Lawrence looking for a way through. Series leaders Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement got a much better start this time around, and significantly were ahead of series rivals Sam and Tom Christie. This was the containment needed and was never to change throughout the race. The Christie boys had their hands full as they fought through from row four with the Birchalls passing them as they made their own rapid progress. Biggs had played the safe card, choosing intermediate tyres and that was a mistake. He gradually slipped back down the order as the tyres went off from lap five.

Meanwhile, Ellis had fought his way to the front with the Birchalls in tow. They were rarely more than two tenths apart, with Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood battling up to third, setting the fastest lap along the way. This was bettered by Birchall in the closing stages as he closed in on Ellis with half a lap to go. He made the move at before Westfield, and into Clearways, he still held the lead despite Ellis’s best efforts.

Behind these three leaders, Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther had made steady progress until they found themselves in an almighty scrap with the Christie boys. This fight took them clear of Luke Williams/Jason Pitt as they settled into sixth ahead of Craig Currie. The top six outfits finished within twenty seconds of each other after the ten laps, with three seconds covering the podium three.

Runners-up Ellis/Clement claimed the Championship from Sam and Tom Christie after a spirited season from the CES Beverley based brothers. Ben and Tom Birchall’s victory ensure a healthy fifth place despite having only scored in the last three rounds. A huge crowd watched this late morning action ahead of Superbikes, with Eurosport coverage and transmission for later in the day.

Podium

Result

1/ Ben/Tom Birchall (Haith Honda)
2/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
3/ Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Yamaha)
4/ Sam/Tom Christie (CES Yamaha)
5/ Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther (Kawaski LCR)
6/ Luke Williams/Jason Pitt (Williams Yamaha)
7/ Craig Currie/Justin Sharp (Birchall Honda)
8/ Rob Biggs/Rick Lawrence (Santander Salt Yamaha)
9/ Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor (Centurion packaging Honda)
10/ Kevin Cable/Chaz Richardson (L&W Yamaha).

Final Championship standings

Ellis/Clement 392
Christie/Christie 353
Blackstock/Rosney 260
Holden/Lawrence 210
Birchall/Birchall 185
Archer/Hyde 139
Robinson/Fairhurst 124
Peach/Edwards 122
Hauxwell/Taylor 118
Crawford/Lowther 104

Ellis & Clement Champions - Santander Salt

British F1: Ellis/Clement poised to take title at Brands Hatch 14-16 October

British F1: Ellis/Clement poised to take title at Brands Hatch 14-16 October

British F1: Ellis/Clement poised to take title at Brands Hatch 14-16 October

Ellis/Clement

Despite not able to add to their score at Donington Park, Santander Salt’s Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement head for the final round with a nineteen-point lead over nearest rivals Sam and Tom Christie. Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney are a further sixty-one points back but still with a mathematical chance of success. The two races at Brands both carry double points, with one hundred points available on the final weekend.

Ellis will be acutely aware of this, as indeed will be the Christie brothers. The boys from Beverley will be focussing on strong finishes in both races, maximising their opportunities and hoping for the best. They have significantly improved this season and have a race-winning pace.

The Anglo-French series leaders arrive at Brands fresh from double victory in the German round of the FIM World Championship, placing them in a strong position to take that title too. However, there is work to be done first in Brands Hatch, and we will see a strong entry, including Ben and Tom Birchall, who with their Haith Honda, have been the only crew to beat Ellis/Clement in a straight fight this season. Double winners last time out at Donington, the multiple TT winners are more than capable of stealing points from Ellis at Brands.

Also on the entry list, but not eligible for points are four wild card teams, among them veteran Brian Gray and eight times world champion Tim Reeves with Kevin Rousseau in the hot seat. Tim has been focussing on the German Championship this year, so it will be good to see him mixing it once again with the Molson Group regulars. Whilst not able to take points from Ellis, he will be out to prove he has none of his flair.

We have seen a definite resurgence of support for the series since a sluggish start to the season in terms of grid size, and among those extra entries are several new names on the long bikes, including Lee Crawford and Luke Williams. The Kawasaki of Crawford ran second to the Birchall brothers last time out at Donington in race one, with the Christies taking that honour in race two. We fully expect Brands Hatch to be a record entry, with all the drama and action that comes with it.

The double points effect, plus a reverse grid in the final race, is guaranteed to build in a thrilling climax to the 2022 season, with plans already afoot for 2023.

Event timings will determine whether the races are in the live TV broadcast or confined to the Eurosport App. Either way the highlights will appear on the RKB-F1 YouTube Channel a few days later.

FIM Sidecars – Ellis/Clement edging closer to title with a double in Germany

FIM Sidecars – Ellis/Clement edging closer to title with a double in Germany

FIM Sidecars – Ellis/Clement edging closer to title with a double in Germany

Ellis and Clement lead Schlosser and Fries

Coming many weeks after the previous round, Oschersleben was welcomed by all in the
paddock, as it was effectively a sidecar festival for many other classes. There were outfits
of all shapes and sizes, along with many names from the past and present.

Qualifying

Heavy rain greeted the early risers on Saturday, with a red flag halting proceedings in the opening session of a classic support class.

It was wet throughout the free practice sessions, as Pekka Pavairinta/Ilse de Haas made a welcome return to action, showing the way round. Bennie Streuer/Kevin Kolsch headed the times before qualifying proper got underway with the first session.

Todd Ellis’s forty-one-point series lead needed protecting, but Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries were going to attack if possible. They started the session two seconds faster than Ellis/Clement, with Streuer and Paivairinta second and third. The five-times champion Finn had lost none of his speed during his time away. Conditions were wet, so caution was the watchword with all teams respecting the tricky going.

Contrary to popular opinion and despite recent difficulties, Harry Payne had made it to the grid with Callum Crowe alongside on a borrowed bike but suffered engine problems before the opening session.

With seven minutes remaining, Ellis found a bit more, moving to within one second of his Swiss rival and main challenger. Schlosser then banged in his fastest lap of 1.48.389, a clear one and a half seconds faster than Ellis. Work to do for the Santander Salt team before session two, which hopefully would be dry.

Session two and the track was better, with times much more respectable. Pavairinta again threw the gauntlet down, but on lap three Ellis/Clement went top with a 1.33.416, almost one second faster than Streuer/Kolsch who were next best.

Lap seven, and all the top teams were into the 1.33 second bracket with Streuer, Pekka Pavairinta and Schlosser moving past Ellis/Clement. The Anglo-French pair responded with a 1.32.253 and then pitted. Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Yamaha) crept into the top four on their final lap. Kevin Cable/Chaz Richardson made tenth on the L&W Contractors Yamaha among the French crews.

Ellis confirmed pole ahead of Schlosser, Streuer and Kershaw. Pavairinta, Peugeot, Wyssen and Payne completing the top eight grid places.

Race One

Twenty-one laps of the Oschersleben circuit lay ahead of the teams as the lights went out. Ellis/Clement almost made the most of pole position but did not get the hole shot. That went to Schlosser/Fries, but it was indeed Ellis leading the pack first time around with two-tenths edge over Schlosser/Fries. The Quattro Yamaha of Kershaw and Charlwood sat third, from Streuer, Peugeot and Pavairinta. Ted Peugeot looked vulnerable, with the veteran Finn Pavairinta setting the fastest lap.

Next time round, Schlosser claimed the quickest lap, carving chunks out of Ellis’s lead, but there was a long way to go. The defending champions knew they had to try to win here in Germany if they had any chance of retaining the title. The leading four outfits were split by just four seconds, as Kershaw/Charlwood in third, sought a way past the Swiss crew ahead.

Pavairinta and Peugeot were still hard at it, with Harry Payne/Callum Crowe doing a great job in eighth behind Lukas Wyssen/Thomas Hofer.

Eight laps gone, and Streuer was up to third, looking for a way past Schlosser. Ellis’s gap, meanwhile, was out to almost one second again, but it was still anybody’s race at this stage. Ellis pulled the pin and eased away to give himself breathing space, as the large crowd from the sidecar paddock watched on. With a two second edge, the fight for second place was very much alive between Schlosser, Streuer and Kershaw, with Pavairinta a bit further back. Schlosser/Fries again nailed a fastest lap as they moved closer to the race leaders. This determined Swiss pair were not about to surrender easily.

Ted Peugeot was now in the pits, so Harry Payne gleefully accepted seventh spot, with everyone behind moving up one place. Then, with fourteen laps completed, a red flag came out due to sudden rain. A result was declared as only seven laps remained. Ellis/Clement took victory, enhancing their points tally.

Result

1/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
2/ Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries (Gustoil Yamaha)
3/ Bennie Streuer/Kevin Kolsch (Bonovo Action Yamaha)
4/ Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Yamaha)
5/ Pekka Pavairinta/Ilse
de Haas (Yamaha LCR)
6/ Lukas Wyssen/Thomas Hofer (Gustoil Yamaha)
7/ Harry Payne/Callum Crowe (Yamaha LCR)
8/ Kimeswenger/Sedlacek (Yamaha LCR)
9/ Cable/Richardson (L&W Contractors Yamaha)
10/ Pierard/Pierard (Yamaha LCR)
11/ Vinet/Pouillot (Yamaha LCR).

Race Two

Good track conditions on Sunday morning heralded a proper race at around
lunchtime. Markus Schlosser made no mistake this time, leading from the word go ahead
of Streuer and Ellis. Kershaw as once again in fourth, hunted by Pavairinta. Ted Peugeot
had another good start, battling with his arch-rival Lukas Wyssen.

A fastest lap two propelled Ellis/Clement into second place and the battle was on between
the young British crew and the Swiss defending champions. Two tenths split the pair as
Ellis stalked Schlosser, with Streuer and Kershaw very much in attendance.

One lap later, the Santander Salt bike was ahead with an equally tight scrap raging behind
them between Streuer and Kershaw. Schlosser was not lying down and reclaimed the lead
on the same lap. This was a close battle with Schlosser and Ellis almost on the same
piece of tarmac.

Lap after lap they were tied together as Ellis dropped back to half a second behind at
eleven laps gone. It was two plus two because the battle for the final podium place was
just as tight between Streuer and Kershaw.

Lap fourteen and this was beginning to look like Schlosser’s race as he edged away.
Kershaw nailed Streuer for third, but could he hold it? Time would tell as the laps ticked by.
Lap seventeen and they were among the tailenders. Schlosser hesitated as he looked to
lap a backmarker, and Ellis was in front. He had held his nerve and it paid off. He was now
able to control the race with half a second over his rival. A double victory sealed a great
weekend for the Santander Salt team with maximum points added to their score. Kershaw
held off Bennie Streuer to complete the podium.

Behind the top four, Pavairinta led Peugeot from Wyssen/Hofer and Payne/Crowe, with
Pierard/Pierard ahead of Kevin Cable/Chaz Richardson.

Result

1/ Ellis/Clement
2/ Schlosser/Fries
3/ Kershaw/Charlwood
4/ Streuer/Kolsch
5/ Pavairinta/de Haas
6/ Peugeot/Peugeot
7/ Wyssen/Hofer
8/ Payne/Crowe,
9/ Pierard/Pierard
10/ Cable/Richardson
11/ Vinet/Pouilly
12/ Leguen/Rouby

Championship standings

Ellis 305
Schlosser 254
Kershaw 220
Wyssen 140
Streuer 130
Payne 119
Peugeot 103
Cable 79
Reeves 68
Vinet 68
Pierard 45

Official full standings will be available on the FIM website. The final round carrying double points, comes from Estoril, Portugal October 28-30th

Photo credit: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

British F1: Clean sweep for Birchalls at Donington Park round seven

British F1: Clean sweep for Birchalls at Donington Park round seven

British F1: Clean sweep for Birchalls at Donington Park round seven

Birchalls

Summer has truly come and gone, with Donington Park quite a chilly affair at the weekend. Ambient temperature on arrival Friday was around ten degrees, with a cold, patchy track for free practice.

A good entry of over sixteen teams made a meaningful grid, with a couple of wild cards thrown in for good measure.

Free practice sorted out the early nerves, with the only qualifying session scheduled for late in the day. The afternoon programme was later abandoned due to heavy rain and strong winds making conditions dangerous. George Holden/Oscar Lawrence had not repaired their damaged bike from Snetterton, but thanks to the good auspices of Ian Barnes, sponsor of John Holden, the Adolf RS Yamaha normally ridden by John was offered to keep George on track and in the title chase. Qualifying was moved to early doors on Saturday, with a bright, sunny morning to greet the runners.

Qualifying

The session got underway on a damp track, with just about everyone on full wet or intermediate tyres. With one lap completed, Sam and Tom Christie went off at the Old Hairpin, severely damaging the bike and causing a red flag. They were both uninjured but gave themselves a mountain of work to stay in the game. At the restart, Ben and Tom Birchall (Haith Honda) set the early standard, but Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther (LCR Kawasaki) upped the pace to top the times with six minutes to go. Andy Peach/Ken Edwards put the Lifesafety Yamaha third ahead of Craig Currie/Justin Sharp.

Championship contenders Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney had a late panic when a cam-chain adjuster failed, causing them to miss most of the session. They were destined to start from way down the grid on row seven.

Rob Biggs, with stand-in passenger Shane Colbrook went well in the tricky conditions until Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst jumped fourth fastest, pushing them back one place. They were not there for long, bouncing back to go second quickest, sharing the front row with an ever-improving Crawford/Lowther on pole. Team mates to the Birchall brothers, Craig Currie and Justin Sharp, stole third from them on the closing lap.

Race One – Late on Saturday the lights went out for the first race. This was one occasion when the Christie brothers could be grateful for a late start, as they’d had all day to rebuild their bike. From the back of the grid, they had a good race, but there was plenty going on ahead of them. Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther had a brilliant start, making the most of pole position, with Rob Biggs also getting off the line well.

Ben and Tom Birchall slotted third, then very quickly edged into second place. Behind them, Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst had been pushed onto the grass, so had to work hard from the back. The Holden family, George and John, found themselves battling with each other for a few laps before George broke free and made some headway on the Ian Barnes Yamaha Adolf RS.

Crawford gave Ben and Tom a run for their money, but the writing was on the wall. Once ahead, the Haith Honda opened up a six second gap on its way to victory. Craig Currie and Justin Sharp were another crew who had an off-track excursion, running on at the Esses before re-joining further back. Meanwhile, Sam and Tom Christie were

fighting through, moving towards the sharp end, eventually finishing on the podium. This was a magnificent effort and just reward for a long hard day. Rob Biggs had a good solid race, never far off the front trio, and certainly leader of the chasing pack. For his debut race on the long bike, Shane Colbrook did well. They were to finish fourth, so a good result.

On lap five, a very scary moment side-lined Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney when they were fighting to get on terms with the leaders. Brake failure approaching the Melbourne Loop saw them dive left and head for the gravel trap. Mercifully, they got it stopped before the tyre wall did the job for them. They have now slipped out of realistic title contention.

All the way down the field there was entertainment and drama, with great battles going on. This race was a good example of how good sidecar racing can be, once there is a meaningful grid. At the front however, it was another display of class riding by the Birchall brothers, as they took their second win in only two rounds from new stars in this championship Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther.

Result

1/ Ben/Tom Birchall (Haith Honda)
2/ Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther (Marin Motorsport Kawasaki)
3/ Sam/Tom Christie (CES Yamaha)
4/ Rob Biggs/Shane Colbrook (Express Tyres Services/Santander Salt Yamaha)
5/ George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Barnes Racing Adolf RS Yamaha)
6/ Luke Williams/Jason Pitt (Williams Racing Yamaha)
7/ John Holden/Ashley Hawes (Barnes Racing Yamaha LCR)
8/ Martin Kirk/Kyle Masters (MK Racing Yamaha)
9/ Andy Peach/Ken Edwards (Lifesafety Yamaha)
10/ Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde (Hannafin RSR Yamaha).

Race Two

The reverse grid saw Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde on pole, with Sam/Tom Christie coming from row four, and the Birchall brothers on five alongside Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther. As always, the opening lap was hectic, but John Holden/Ashley Hawes did a great job diving through the traffic on the short chassis LCR. The led the field into lap two, followed by the Christie brothers intent on maximising their points opportunity.

Once ahead, they became a target for Ben/Tom Birchall as they too shot through the field into second place. The two leaders were then quite evenly matched, with the Haith Honda just having a slight edge on speed. That carried the Birchalls into a passing opportunity, which they took into the Melbourne hairpin, touching the Christies on the way through. Mild contact is all part of sidecar racing, and the slight nudge unsettled the CES Yamaha enough to drop them firmly second. Once ahead, Ben and Tom made it two victories and maximum points.

Behind there was a titanic scrap between Crawford/Lowther, Rob Biggs/Shane Colbrook, George Holden/Oscar Lawrence and Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney coming from the back of the grid. It took the full ten laps before Blackstock/Rosney made it all the way through, but succeed they did, eventually ending up on the podium in third.

Biggsy got it wrong at Coppice, taking the #5 Yamaha through the gravel and onto the grass before re-joining. John Holden eventually was gobbled up by most of the faster long bikes, but not without a fight. He fell victim to Luke Williams/Jason Pitt and Martin Kirk/Kyle Masters before settling in eighth place after a spirited ride.

Result

1/ Ben/Tom Birchall
2/ Sam/Tom Christie
3/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney,
4/ Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther
5/ George Holden/Oscar Lawrence
6/ Luke Williams/Jason Pitt,
7/ Martin Kirk/Kyle Masters
8/ John Holden/Ashley Hawes
9/ Rob Biggs/Shane Colbrook
10/ Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst.

Standings

Ellis 320
Christie 301
Blackstock 240
G. Holden 194
Robinson 124
Archer 115
Hauxwell 108
Peach 106
Birchall 95
Clarke 66
Cable 63
Crawford 60.

The final round which carries double points, comes from the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit in Kent over the weekend of 14-16 October.

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