FIM Sidecars – Sidecar Festival to provide classic backdrop for round seven

FIM Sidecars – Sidecar Festival to provide classic backdrop for round seven

FIM Sidecars – Sidecar Festival to provide classic backdrop for round seven

Ellis/Clement lead Kershaw/Charlwood

The Motorsport Arena of Oschersleben, mid-way between Hanover and Berlin is the scene of the penultimate round in the FIM Championship 2022. The popular and demanding 2.3-mile-long circuit will welcome Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha) as series leaders on September 30-October 2 after a six week break in World Championship activities.

They enjoy a forty-one-point margin over reigning and defending champions Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries (Gustoil Yamaha) with Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Yamaha) a further twenty-three points behind in third.

This event is very much a sidecar festival, with rounds of the IDM German Championship also on the race card, along with Camathias Cup Championship runners and demonstration parades for pre-85 and pre-91 sidecar racing machines.

The FIM races are the highlight of the weekend having attracted a significant entry list including a strong French contingent headed by Ted and Vincent Peugeot, currently placed seventh in the series.

But for a pedantic UK border control situation ahead of the Donington Park round, they would be in an even stronger position.

Harry Payne and Mark Wilkes will not be competing due to a change of personal circumstances, so fifth place in the standings is very much up for grabs. Lukas Wyssen and Thomas Hofer sit fourth, having had their best season yet.

Pekka Pavairinta and Ilse de Haas re-join the action, with the five-times champion Finn now suitable recovered from shoulder surgery.

Ellis/Clement must maximise their chances, because at the season finale in Estoril, there will be double points on the table. That is something all the teams will be starkly aware of. One slip, and it could all be for nothing.

Photo credit: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

British F1: The cat is away, so who will play, 1-2 October at Donington Park?

British F1: The cat is away, so who will play, 1-2 October at Donington Park?

British F1: The cat is away, so who will play, 1-2 October at Donington Park?

Christies at Snetterton

The British Sidecar Championship goes to Donington Park without the series leaders present to enhance their advantage. Santander Salt Racing’s Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement are away in Germany protecting their lead in the FIM Sidecar World series, which is also reaching its conclusion.

That leaves the door wide open for second in the title stakes Sam and Tom Christie (CES Yamaha) to dramatically close the gap. They cannot however, overhaul Ellis/Clement who enjoy a fifty-five-point cushion currently, with one more round to go after Donington. That round at Brands Hatch carries double points however, so the title is far from won, even at this late stage.

Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney sit third, a further forty-one points behind the Christies, so the Express Tyres Services Yamaha is still in with a shout, albeit a distant one. They appeared in the distinctive blue DAO1886 livery at Snetterton and that is expected to continue.

Ben and Tom Birchall made a debut 2022 appearance at Snetterton taking one race win and second place in the other, moving immediately into the lower order of the rankingsm with forty-five points. They are more than likely be at the sharp end again at Donington Park, so will steal big points from the title contenders. This will inadvertently assist Ellis’s cause.

George Holden and Oscar Lawrence crashed in a big way at Snetterton severely damaging their Holden Racing Kawasaki. It is therefore doubtful if they will re-appear at all this season due to the sheer amount of work and cost involved to repair it. Having said that, do not be surprised if they somehow scrape onto the grid, because an overall fourth place finish is at stake and determination can weave magic spells.

The top four are well clear of the chasing bunch, but Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst, and Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde have Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor and a rapidly improving Andy Peach/Anthony Hildige breathing down their collective necks. Just nineteen points split these four crews for the fifth-place spot, so expect a battle royal there.

Also heading for Germany are Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson (L&W Contractors Yamaha), so they will not improve their standing in the British table ahead of Brands. They have a respectable placing in the FIM rankings to defend.

Once again, Eurosport will cover both races live, although 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.

Photo credits: Barry Clay

British F1: One apiece for Birchalls and Ellis/Clement at sunny Snetterton

British F1: One apiece for Birchalls and Ellis/Clement at sunny Snetterton

British F1: One apiece for Birchalls and Ellis/Clement at sunny Snetterton

Birchalls at Snetterton

There was a sombre mood across the paddock early on Friday morning following the announcement of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the previous evening. The MSVR organisers moved back the start time for Friday practice and scheduled an hour of “quiet period” at lunch time during which no engines would be run or track activity take place. Given the series’ title is “The British Superbike Championship” these measures were entirely appropriate.

Happily, there were several more teams present than in previous rounds, so we were looking forward to a busy weekend and close racing. Free practice across most classes took place in mixed weather conditions, but it was dry with patchy sun for the one sidecar session late on Friday afternoon.

Ben and Tom Birchall (Birchall Racing Haith Honda), along with series leaders Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha) headed the field in the early stages of free practice, but well shy of lap record pace. Half-distance and Ellis took out another second, gathering pace and momentum all the time. The top four regulars ran fastest with the added interest of the Birchall Brothers high on the list as we might have expected, with newcomers Luke Williams/Jason Pitt the best of the rest. Already this was pointing towards a Birchall versus Ellis battle but qualifying would show the real picture. The Christie brothers (CES Yamaha), and Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (Express Tyre Services Yamaha) sporting Dao 1886 livery, were strong in contention ahead of George Holden/Oscar Lawrence. Luke Williams sneaked ahead of Holden with three minutes left on the clock.

Christies at Snetterton

Qualifying

The weather was dull and grey early morning but improved as the day unfolded. By the time the sidecars got out for qualifying, the sun had dried the track in parts, but there were still tricky areas to be mindful of.

Craig Currie was late to the start and was almost locked out of the session but scraped in through a side gate to make his mark.

Coram, the fast right-hander towards the end of the lap, was wet, and caught out several teams, with Todd Ellis spinning at high speed, and the Birchall brothers doing the same twice. Both teams avoided contact with anything, but the same is not true of George Holden/Oscar Lawrence who locked up under the bridge and totally wrecked the bike, hitting the barrier hard.

The expected clash between the Birchalls and Todd Ellis did eventually materialise, with the Honda of Birchall on top of the pile in the closing stages. As conditions improved, Ellis/Clement upped the pace, claiming pole position by over one tenth of a second on their final flying lap. The time of 2.00.974 was way off lap-record pace, but conditions were far from ideal for record speeds. Ben and Tom Birchall would join them on the front row. The Christie brothers were next up, with Blackstock/Rosney close behind. Then newcomers Luke Williams/Jason Pitt headed Craig Currie/Justin Sharp for fifth and sixth. Andy Peach and Anthony Hildige had a great ride to lead Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde home for seventh and eighth fastest.

Andy Peach at Snetterton

Race One

The sun was very low in the sky as the lights went out, so much so, that Ben Birchall didnot get a clear view and almost missed the boat. He was fourth away as the others moved and had to fight back as a result. Ellis/Clement got a flyer and took the lead into Riches.

Sam and Tom Christie went with them, with Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney holding the Birchalls at bay for the early part of the lap. They quickly moved third, but the Christie brothers were a harder nut to crack. Once past them, Ben and Tom set after the race leaders and the two crews had a good scrap, with the Haith Honda determined to find a way past. Todd Ellis kept his cool, even when Ben Birchall came alongside at Riches as a dress rehearsal. Next lap he tried the same move, got his nose in front, went a little bit sideways and Ellis clipped the rear of the Honda. Both outfits slewed, with Ellis/Clement taking to the grass on the exit. They spent the rest of the race recovering and closing on the new leaders. They were close at the end, but the chance had gone. On their way to victory the Birchall brothers claimed the fastest lap, albeit outside their own lap record. Behind, the Christies were never far off the back, staying within five seconds of the two leaders the entire race. Blackstock and Rosney took the Express Tyre Services Yamaha to another solid fourth.

Race action from Snetterton

Andy Peach with Anthony Hildige alongside, had arguably his best race this season, and enjoyed a good battle mid-pack finishing sixth, with Rupert Archer also part of that action until he retired. Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst, from the back row fought through well and were looking impressive. Sadly, they too, were to expire into pit lane once more. There were decent scraps all the way down, with Craig Currie/Justin Sharp ten seconds behind Peach, having overhauled Kevin Cable/Chaz Richardson.

Result

1/ Birchall/Birchall (Haith Honda)
2/ Ellis/Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
3/ Christie/Christie (CES Yamaha)
4/ Blackstock/Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha)
5/ Luke Williams/Jason Pitt (Williams Yamaha)
6/ Andy Peach/Anthony Hildige (Lifesafety Yamaha)
7/ Craig Currie/Justin Sharp (Birchall Racing Honda)
8/ Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson (L&W Contractors Yamaha)
9/ Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor (Centurion Packaging Honda)
10/ Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor (Vinyls 4U Adolf RS)

Race two

The sun was out again on Sunday, and there was a score to be settled. A reverse grid always throws up an interesting race and this one was another cracker.

Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson dived through from row two as the lights went out to lead off the line. It was short lived, as they were three abreast into Riches for the first time, with Andy Peach/Anthony Hildige also getting a flyer to nose alongside on the exit. Sam and Tom Christie were very quick to establish their place at the front, making a great start to lead at the end of lap one. The opening lap was crazily busy with outfits swarming right and left to make the most of the advantage. Half-way round the lap, Luke Williams and Jason Pitt lost the back end, spun, and capsized without injury. Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement meanwhile, had fought through from row five, weaving through the lead bunch, taking the Birchall brothers with them two outfits back.

Ben and Tom were third on lap two, moving past the Christies one lap later. Also riding well were Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney who made it through to fifth, and into fourth shortly after.

The pattern was then set for the race, with Ellis/Clement out in front from Birchall/Birchall, and the Christies chasing in a strong third, from Blackstock/Rosney.

Dean Nicholls had a problem at the back of the grid and slowed. They ran in eleventh for the entire race, eventually retiring on lap nine ahead of Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor. Craig Currie/Justin Sharp moved up one place from their start position, but whilst enjoying a good scrap with Andy Peach and Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst, were unable to improve beyond sixth, until the final lap when an intermittent problem slowed the Christies and dropped them down to seventh ahead of Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde. The Beverly based team suspected a quick-shifter issue, so will have that sorted for the next round. Sadly, they did not need to drop points at this stage, but at least they finished and maintained a full house of scores. Currie/Sharp, along with Simon Robinson and everyone else behind the CES Yamaha, profited from the Christies’ misfortune. Most delighted were Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney who took the Express Tyre Services Yamaha with its new Dao1886 livery to their first podium since early August at the Cadwell Revival.

Race action from Snetterton

Kevin Cable meanwhile had been very active in scrapping with the Honda of Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor to finish ninth and tenth respectively.

This was yet another best performance by Andy Peach (Lifesafety Yamaha) in many races, and he was to end up fourth within sight of sixth place in the standings. At the front, Ellis/Clement never looked back, opening a two second margin at one point, but that was shaved down to under one second on the final lap, with the Birchalls again setting the fastest lap of the race on their way to runner-up spot.

On a sad and sombre weekend, the sidecars gave a thoroughly entertaining and disciplined display, covered live on the Eurosport App/Player. Both races will be available shortly on the RKB-F1 YouTube channel.

Result

1/ Ellis/Clement
2/ Birchall/Birchall
3/ Blackstock/Rosney
4/ Peach/Hildige
5/ Currie/Sharp
6/ Robinson/Fairhurst
7/ Christie/Christie
8/ Archer/Hyde,
9/ Cable/Richardson
10/ Clarke/Ensor
11/ Hauxwell/Taylor

Standings

Ellis/Clement 320
Christie/Christie 265
Blackstock/Rosney 224
Holden/Lawrence 172
Robinson/Fairhurst 117
Archer/Hyde 103
Hauxwell/Taylor 99
Peach/Edwards/Hildige 98
Clarke/Ensor 66
Cable/Richardson 63
Birchall/Birchall 45

The next and penultimate round is at Donington Park – September 30/October 2.

Photo credits: Barry Clay

British F1: Ellis and Clement take unbeaten form to Snetterton 300

British F1: Ellis and Clement take unbeaten form to Snetterton 300

British F1: Ellis and Clement take unbeaten form to Snetterton 300

Ellis and Clement

With a full house of eleven victories from as many starts, the Santander Salt pairing of Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement will arrive in Norfolk in record breaking form over the weekend of 10-11 September.

Two weeks ago, at Cadwell Park they demolished the lap record twice to confirm the fastest ever three wheeled lap time. It remains to be seen if they can manage the same at the very fast and technical Snetterton 300 track.

They now enjoy a commanding lead in the points table from Beverley based Sam and Tom Christie on the CES Yamaha. They in turn are well clear of a somewhat frustrated Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha) who have suffered one DNF and a mysterious loss of speed since double victory at Knockhill propelled them to the head of the standings. They vowed to be at Snetterton with a fresh attitude and a quicker engine, so let us watch with interest how and if that pledge is fulfilled.

Closing rapidly in fourth with a string of podium finishes are George Holden and Oscar Lawrence on their Holden Racing Kawasaki. Their speed has steadily increased over the season, but they still must find the top podium step.

Blackstock/Rosney

One year ago, Ben and Tom Birchall were double winners on this track on their way to the title, but they have yet to register an attendance or any points in the series this season. That should change, as they have signalled their intention to compete, along with fellow Birchall Racing teamsters Craig Currie and Justin Sharpe. The grid is much stronger than in previous weeks anyway with some new names joining the fray. Dean Nicholls and Belgian passenger Ruben Janssens are back to see the year out, and former car racer Luke Williams is down to join in the action. World runners Kevin Cable and Charlie Richardson (L&W Contractors Yamaha) are also on the list of returning crews. The Snetterton circuit is a favourite with teams and spectators alike and at this crucial stage in the championship is bound to deliver great racing action.

Race action from Snetterton

Every round so far has been very close at the front, with great battles between the top four teams. Eurosport once again will cover both races either live TV or the Eurosport App.

Photo credits: Jenny “Triker” Wells

British F1: Bumper Bank Holiday bonus for Ellis/Clement in Cadwell spectacle

British F1: Bumper Bank Holiday bonus for Ellis/Clement in Cadwell spectacle

British F1: Bumper Bank Holiday bonus for Ellis/Clement in Cadwell spectacle

Ellis/Clement race action

Back at the Lincolnshire circuit where they dominated just four weeks ago, series leaders Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement were back for more over the August Bank Holiday weekend. A crunch meeting for the British Superbike Championship ensured a massive trackside crowd in party mood. The action was also scheduled to be screened live on Eurosport and Quest.

Qualifying

As with previous rounds, the grid size was smaller than normal, but the quality was high at the front. In free practice, Ellis/Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha) showed their class with a time just one second off lap record pace. Sam and Tom Christie were close behind, with Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney frustrated by a speed deficit. George Holden/Oscar Lawrence maintained the pace which had carried them to fourth in the title chase. With the clock now ticking for twenty minutes of the real session, the gloves were off.

A change of exhaust system was tried by Blackstock/Rosney to find the missing horses, hoping that would allow them closer to the front men. They had started this campaign in fine style but had slipped back in recent weeks and were now playing catch-up. There was added interest in the first showing this year of Lee Crawford on the long bike, partnered now by the experienced Jake Lowther.

Blackstock/Rosney

Rob Biggs/Jason Pitt had completed free practice with no sign of the gremlins which plagued them all season and ran strongly in the early stages moving second fastest to Ellis/Clement. Ten minutes in, and the Christie brothers were left in Ellis’s wake as he banged in a 1.31.924.

Speed trap times showed Blackstock still off the pace where it mattered, although they held fourth behind a delighted Biggs/Pitt. Their new-found speed was a revelation and something to celebrate. All the indicators pointed to a great battle for the podium places, with five crews all around the same pace behind Ellis/Clement. In the closing stages, the Christies moved to under one second behind Ellis, maintaining their challenging pace. Holden’s Kawasaki was very quick through the speed traps, and that is where he seemed to score as he and Oscar shot to third quickest.

Biggs kept Crawford at bay to stay fourth fastest, with Blackstock in sixth, still perplexed.

Race One

Another glorious day had turned into a cooler situation by the time the teams formed up late afternoon. Qualifying potentially, had thrown up a five-way scrap between the leading bunch. That proved to be the case as the lights went out, with Blackstock/Rosney, George Holden/Oscar Lawrence and the Christie brothers’ side by side, getting the better of the pole position Santander Salt bike of Ellis/Clement. The Christies came out better and led lap one, losing out to a determined Ellis at Park Corner on lap two. Rob Biggs/Jason Pitt were going strongly in the mix, slotting fourth and looking more like the Biggs we know. Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther were also very much in touch, as Blackstock and the Christies tangled at the foot of the mountain, dropping Blackstock into the clutches of Holden. This gave Sam Christie the chance he needed to break clear, which he eventually did.

Christie Racing

Crawford/Lowther moved into third, but George Holden had other ideas. This four-way scrap was very entertaining and raged for a few laps with Blackstock throwing everything he had at anyone in front. It was all in vain because he was simply outgunned. Holden just had to get by Crawford once Sam and Tom Christie had moved into a safe second place, and he tried the move down towards the chicane before the mountain. This resulted in a sideways slew and effectively handed the final podium spot to Lee Crawford. The newcomers were delighted with their first trip to the box and will be looking for more. Meanwhile, race leaders Ellis/Clement had calmly breezed to a new lap record of 1.31.264 on lap three and victory number ten in what is proving to be a stellar season.

Rob Biggs/Jason Pitt were unable to make the best of their early showing from the start when they ran wide out of Mansfield when in sixth, kissing the barrier on the right side of the track. It then transpired Rob had other issues which caused them to retire from the action. Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst had a solid sixth ahead of Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde.

Down the field was an equally exciting scrap involving Andy Peach/Ken Edwards and Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor. This whole race was an absolute testament to sidecar racing, and but for a long delay in the earlier Superbike race, would certainly have enthralled and delighted a live TV audience. Nonetheless, those fans watching on the live stream were treated to a magnificent show.

Andy Peach

It was action from lights to flag and once more demonstrated the incredible talents of the series leaders who are now possibly dreaming of double titles at World and National level.

Result

1/Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
2/Sam and Tom Christie (CES Yamaha)
3/Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther (ARC Kawasaki LCR)
4/George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Holden Racing Kawasaki)
5/Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR Express Tyre Services Yamaha)
6/Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst (24 Seven Couriers Yamaha)
7/Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde (Hannafin Adolf RS Yamaha)
8/Andy Peach/Ken Edwards (Lifesafety Yamaha)
9/Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor (Centurion Packaging/CYB Glass Fibre Yamaha, 10/Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor (Hazbeans Racing Yamaha).

Race Two

The weather had cooled considerably from previous days, but once again the skies brightened for the late afternoon race. As with Cadwell tradition, the reverse grid option was abandoned, and qualifying times dictated the formation.

Once again, a determined charge from the line saw the Christie boys neck and neck with Ellis into Coppice. Lewis Blackstock had his sidecar wheel on the grass as he fought to gain a couple of places but was thwarted in the attempt. If there were a reward for sheer effort in the face of adversity this weekend, Blackstock/Rosney get my vote. George Holden found himself behind Rob Biggs and Lee Crawford on lap one, with Biggs/Pitt absolutely flying this time out.

Race action from Cadwell Park

Sam Christie is growing in confidence daily, and he led the pack into lap two. The favoured passing place for Ellis was Park Corner, and again he used it to perfection. Once ahead, that is where he and Emmanuelle stayed, chased hard by the Christies for at least half the race. The battle for the lead was now firmly on, with Ellis/Clement yet again breaking their own lap record set earlier in the weekend. A new time of 1.31.100 was indeed fresh and uncharted territory. Even if the old guard of former World Champions were to return to the fray, this would be a hard nut to crack. With eleven wins from eleven starts, this has been an incredible season for the Anglo-French pairing. The new kids on the block are in town and you’d better believe it.

The leading two crews then cleared off, as Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther in third headed a freight-train of Biggs, Holden and Blackstock. These four outfits were welded together lap after lap, with ever desperate measures taken by all crews behind the very calm-headed Crawford. He’s a big presence on and off track and was proving impossible to pass. Once more, the spectacle of this dogfight was something to behold for the huge crowd all around the circuit who stayed to watch the final race. They were not disappointed and applauded universally when the chequered flag came out. Further down the field, Rupert Archer overshot Park Corner, and once on the grass was heading for the tyre wall. He avoided contact, but by that time passenger Phil Hyde had abandoned ship. Back at the front, it was lap six before Holden/Lawrence had dived through along the bottom stretch with Biggs/Pitt repeating the move two laps later. This was the Rob Biggs of old and was good to see.

Race action

Despite his best efforts, Blackstock’s Yamaha was no match for the Kawasaki of Crawford in terms of speed, the that is how they finished. Holden/Lawrence closed to within twenty- three points of third place in only their second full season.

Sam and Tom Christie, second in the standings, have never been off the podium including eight runner-up spots, and now trail Ellis by thirty-five points.

Result

1/Ellis/Clement
2/Christie/Christie
3/Holden/Lawrence
4/Biggs/Pitt
5/Crawford/Lowther
6/Blackstock/Rosney
7/Robinson/Fairhurst
8/Peach/Edwards
9/Clarke/Ensor
10/Hauxwell/Taylor

Standings

Ellis 275
Christie 240
Blackstock 195
Holden 172
Robinson 107
Archer 95
Hauxwell 87
Peach 74
Clarke 52
Cable 47
Biggs 38
Kirby 35
Crawford 27

The next round comes from the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk 9-11 September.

Photo credits: Barry Clay

British F1: Ellis and Clement take unbeaten form to Snetterton 300

British F1: Ellis/Clement take big lead back to home ground

British F1: Ellis/Clement take big lead back to home ground

Ellis and Clement

Just three weeks ago the Cadwell Sidecar Revival witnessed a dominant display by Santander Salt’s Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement as they took three out of three. They further increased their points lead two weeks ago at Thruxton. Now they’re back again at Ellis’s home circuit for what they hope will be more of the same August 27-29.

The twenty-seven-year-old and his French lady passenger hail from Market Rasen, and list Cadwell Park as their favourite UK circuit. Their most recent performance on the iconic track built by Howard Wilkinson was testament to that, as they swept away the 600cc and 1000cc lap records on their Yamaha to break new ground as the fastest ever Cadwell sidecar lap.

Their main opposition comes in the form of Sam and Tom Christie from Beverley on their CES Yamaha, and Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney on the DHR/Express Tyres Services Yamaha.

George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Holden Racing Kawasaki) have also grown in confidence, speed, and ability as the season progressed, resulting in a strong fourth place in the standings. They have profited by Blackstock’s misfortunes and are closing the gap race by race. Last time at Cadwell they achieved their first runner-up spot in the series, with just one more step to aim for on the podium.

The Christie brothers trail the leaders by twenty-five points, with Blackstock/Rosney a further twenty-six behind. With two races on the programme, and twenty-five points for each win, these are not insurmountable odds, and you can be assured the top four teams will be doing their utmost to gain those points.

Last time in Lincolnshire, Ben and Tom Birchall, along with Craig Currie/Justin Sharpe chose to use their short chassis F2 Hondas. If that situation is repeated, they are unlikely to be at the sharp end, but if they do appear on the long LCR’s then they will certainly be in the mix. Relative newcomers Simon Robinson and Mick Fairhurst sit fifth in the table ahead of Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde.

Race action from Cadwell Park 2021

The sidecars are always immensely popular at Cadwell Park and there will be no shortage of entertainment on and off track. This round is important to all concerned as there is one more clash with the FIM series later in the year, taking Ellis/Clement out of the equation. At a time when sidecar racing – whilst one of the most fascinating mysteries of Motorsport – is going through something of a crisis, there will be a huge crowd, live Eurosport TV and a real party atmosphere at this traditional BSB holiday weekend.

If you can’t be there, you’re missing out, and if you can – well simply enjoy the occasion.

Photo credits: Jenny “Triker” Wells

British F1: Ellis/Clement turn up the heat at thrilling Thruxton

British F1: Ellis/Clement turn up the heat at thrilling Thruxton

British F1: Ellis/Clement turn up the heat at thrilling Thruxton

Blackstock/Rosney

The tropical conditions continued as the Molson Group sidecars arrived in Hampshire for the half-way mark in the 2022 season. This round is one of the toughest on the calendar due to the unforgiving speeds and cornering forces. This would prove to be a crucial test for the top runners, with Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement carrying an eleven-point lead over Sam/Tom Christie who in turn were a further sixteen points clear of Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney.

Qualifying

The one session went the way of the series leaders as expected. Ellis/Clement have earned the respect of the entire paddock and rightly so. The lap record held by Ben and Tom Birchall was bettered by the Santander salt duo on their way to pole position, but they would need to wait for the races to make it official. They set a time of 1.19.032 on lap two of the session and then sat back. Sam and Adam Christie got the better of Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney early on, with George Holden/Oscar Lawrence repeating the feat to lead row two. Rob Biggs and Simon Robinson were next, with Peach and Nicholls destined to fight from row four.

The back row contained Rupert Archer and new passenger Rhys Gibbons alongside the Hazbeans Yamaha of Hauxwell/Taylor.

Race One

As the crews lined up, Race Director Stuart Higgs made an impromptu visit to the grid and spoke quickly to every team with a safety message, basically giving them the chance to signal if they were in trouble with the extreme heat. As it happened, all teams went the distance except for Rob Biggs, who was still plagued with his mechanical woes and forced to retire at two thirds distance.

From the start, the Christie brothers grabbed the lead chased by Ellis/Clement. The CES Yamaha led lap one right to the final chicane, at which point, Ellis went ahead and held the lead throughout. Behind them, Blackstock/Rosney and Holden/Lawrence fought over the third place slot, with Holden gaining the advantage.

These four teams were ahead of Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst in fifth, and a great battle featuring Peach/Edwards, Nicholls/Janssens and Archer/Gibbons. This went all the way to the flag with a delighted Dean Nicholls getting the verdict.

The leading pair were still very close at half-distance as the Christie brothers kept the pressure on Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement. At one point approaching the end of the race they had narrowed the gap to under one second, but then Ellis responded.

There have been consistently fast, record-setting performances from Ellis/Clement on every stage they have performed this year. In doing so, they have pulled others with them to raise their game. The Christies have never gone faster (Tom was way ahead of previous Thruxton performances and into new territory), George Holden/Oscar Lawrence have exceeded anything they have ever done before, and apart from the unusual recent hiccups, Blackstock and Rosney are also very much on the pace. This year is going a bit wrong for them, but we have the second half of the season remaining.

At the flag, the lead gap was around six seconds, with Sam/Tom Christie keeping their challenge on target.

Result

1/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
2/ Sam/Tom Christie (Christie Engineering Services Yamaha)
3/ George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Holden Racing Kawasaki
4/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha)
5/ Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst (24 Seven Courier Service Yamaha)
6/ Dean Nicholls/Ruben Janssens (TSR Racing Honda)
7/ Andy Peach/Ken Edwards (Lifesafety Yamaha)
8/ Rupert Archer/Rhys Gibbons (Hannafin Adolf RS Yamaha),
9/ Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor (Vinyls 4U Adolf RS Yamaha).

Race two

The reverse grid rule often throws up some interesting situations and today was no exception. Blackstock/Rosney hit the front impressively with Ellis/Clement bogged down in fifth place into the complex. Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst and Andy Peach/Ken Edwards were in the early mix on lap one and literally the entire pack was bunched up and together into the chicane for the first time around. Blackstock made good his escape into lap two, as Ellis set about planning his out-braking move on Christie to propel himself and Emmanuelle to second place. George Holden was now fourth, with Robinson, Peach, and Rob Biggs line astern.

Blackstock/Rosney got cracking in a strong attempt to gap the championship leaders and they did a great job for three laps. Next time around, Ellis had made the move which we all saw coming, lapping with four tenths of the record to go ahead. That left Blackstock at the mercy of an advancing Sam Christie with brother Tom doing a great job on his baptism of fire at this formidable circuit.

Dean Nicholls was to survive just two laps after a collision with Craig Hauxwell, but the Hazbeans outfit battled on regardless, seemingly unaffected by the incident. Lap six and Biggs/Pitt were gone with yet another technical issue. The midnight oil will be copiously burned to get this bike sorted for Cadwell Park next time out.

At the front, the convoy had narrowed down to a battle for second place with the Christies climbing all over Blackstock/Rosney, and Holden/Lawrence waiting for their chance. It came in dramatic style when Sam Christie dived for the inside at the chicane. He made contact with Blackstock, pushing him sideways and wide. It was an unintentional and reasonable move, which simply did not come off. However, Blackstock was compromised and shoved wide. Race Direction took the view it was aggressive and penalised the Christie two seconds. This elevated George Holden to second place.

Down the field, most performances can be described as heroic given the conditions. Young Rhys Gibbons stayed the pace with Rupert Archer for seventh, Peach and Edwards had another finish for sixth, itself an achievement, Simon Robinson, again lonely in fifth racked up good points, with the top four positioned as described. Ellis/Clement once again displayed title-winning form to come away with maximum points.

Result

1/ Ellis/Clement
2/ Holden/Lawrence
3/ Christie/Christie
4/ Blackstock/Rosney,
5/ Robinson/Fairhurst
6/ Peach/Edwards
7/ Archer/Gibbons
8/ Hauxwell/Taylor

Standings

Ellis 225
Christie 200
Blackstock 174
Holden 143
Robinson 88
Archer 85
Hauxwell 75
Peach 58
Cable 47
Clarke 38
Kirby 35
Biggs 25

The next round is back at Cadwell Park 27-29 August at the big BSB weekend.

British F1: Fearsome Thruxton marks half-way stage in 2022 title chase

British F1: Fearsome Thruxton marks half-way stage in 2022 title chase

British F1: Fearsome Thruxton marks half-way stage in 2022 title chase

Race action from Thruxton

The Molson Group sidecars head for Hampshire over the weekend of August 12-14 at the mid-point of a topsy-turvy season.

Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha) had built a decent advantage going on to round three at Brands Hatch. A retirement cost them dear, compounded by double victory for Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement on the Santander Salt Yamaha. Last weekend, three more races at Cadwell Park Revival put a different complexion on the standings, with Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement emerging series leaders after ruling the roost with a devastating performance. They took three wins in Lincolnshire, smashing all known sidecar records along the way.

The Santander Salt duo also lead the World standings and will be away in Germany when this domestic series goes to Donington Park defending that lead. That is why they need another good weekend at Thruxton to get points in the bag ahead of that clash weekend in late September.

The Thruxton track is feared by sidecar passengers due to its outright high speed, grippy surface and enormous cornering forces. It will test the best, and last year, Ben and Tom Birchall emerged, after a tough battle, with double victory.

They, along with Craig Currie/Justin Sharpe, appeared for the first time this year at Cadwell Park last weekend on the F2 Honda TT spec machine but were ineligible for points. If their long bike is still not ready, the same could well apply at Thruxton. We are reliably informed the long bikes are on target to appear at Snetterton early September.

I sense this could be a pivotal round for those in contention, with Ellis/Clement in formidable form and Blackstock and Rosney, along with Sam and Tom Christie, on target for their best seasons yet. They have much to fight for and will not be holding back. Ellis/Clement are without doubt the in-form team, sweeping all before them this year, but this will be a new circuit for the French lady passenger, so that will be something of a challenge.

Ellis has an eleven-point lead over the Christies going into Thruxton, with Blackstock a further sixteen back, so with fifty up for grabs, anything could happen.

Neither should you discount George Holden and Oscar Lawrence. This young pair are not far off the top three and improving every week, claiming their first second place finish in race three Cadwell.

With half the season still to fight for and double points at the Brands Hatch finale, the next few weeks will be riveting, and it all starts at Thruxton this coming weekend.

Photo credit: Jenny “Triker” Wells

British F1: Ellis/Clement masterclass at fantastic Cadwell Park Sidecar Revival

British F1: Ellis/Clement masterclass at fantastic Cadwell Park Sidecar Revival

British F1: Ellis/Clement masterclass at fantastic Cadwell Park Sidecar Revival

Cadwell Revival poster

The weather was very kind, and the entry was superb across all classes for the fourth Cadwell Park Sidecar Revival. This Bemsee organised meeting is the only one outside of the British Superbike calendar and caters for all classes of sidecars ancient and modern.

Three races for the Molson Group F1 Championship with seventy-five points up for grabs were a meaningful target for all concerned, with Ben and Tom Birchall making their first appearance in the series this year. Both they and Craig Currie/Justin Sharpe were out on their short chassis TT Honda engine projectiles. They would not be eligible to take points however, due to their technical specification, and chose to compete in the FSRA F2 category. Todd Ellis had a degree of experimentation with the new Ryde F1 chassis, putting it through its paces extensively in Friday testing with great success. This was home ground for Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement, and they would be going for it as usual. Trying to stop them would be the top two crews in the series, Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney and Sam/Tom Christie.

Qualifying

Saturday dawned with glorious sunshine from the word go, with just one session scheduled for late morning. Todd Ellis popped out in the Bemsee session with the Ryde F1, posting a best time of 1.36.6, a clear six seconds ahead of the closest club outfit.

In the session proper, the Anglo-French par did the same again but this time on the LCR, circulating at sub-lap record pace ahead of Sam/Tom Christie and the series leaders Blackstock/Rosney. Just behind came George Holden/Oscar Lawrence who were easily the best of the rest, two seconds clear of Rob Biggs and new passenger Jason Pitt. They in turn, were well ahead of Kevin Cable/Chaz Richardson and Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde.

Race One

A flying start took the pole sitters into an immediate lead at Coppice with Blackstock/Rosney in close company from the Christie brothers and Holden/Lawrence. Then came Rob Biggs and Jason Pitt and Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst.

The top three broke away in perfect track conditions, opening a slight gap back to the Holden/Lawrence Kawasaki. These four outfits were steadily pulling away with Ellis/Clement easing out a slight edge on lap two.

Then Sam/Tom Christie were on the back of the Express Tyre Services Yamaha, with Blackstock suffering from tyre degradation. They had a moment on the grass and never felt safe thereafter. They simply lost confidence in the feel, lost their speed, and dropped to third, never to recover. Ellis/Clement meanwhile, set a new race lap record of 1.32.099 on lap four and headed the Christies home over the ten laps.

The pace was fierce, and the improvement in lap times by Ellis, Christie and Blackstock before his tyres went off was remarkable. Holden too has steadily gained pace and smoothness. Further down the order, Biggs and Robinson were enjoying their own scrap, with Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson pulling a gap on Archer. Andy Peach and Ken Edwards sported new Gulf livery and spent the race fighting off Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor, eventually losing out. The Hazbeans duo of Hauxwell and Taylor had another enjoyable outing to claim more points.

Result

1/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
2/ Sam Christie/Tom Christie (CES Yamaha)
3/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (Express Tyre Services Yamaha)
4/ George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Holden Racing Kawasaki),
5/ Rob Biggs/Jason Pitt (Santander Salt Yamaha)
6/ Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst (24 Seven Courier Service Yamaha)
7/ Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson (L&W Contractors Yamaha)
8/ Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde (Hannafin Yamaha RSR)
9/ Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor (Centurion Yamaha)
10/ Andy Peach/Ken Edwards (Lifesafety Yamaha)
11/ Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor (Hazbeans Yamaha).

Race Two

It was more of the same this time around in terms of glorious sunshine, with Blackstock/Rosney sporting new rubber. They had a flying start fired up with determination with Ellis/Clement in second and the Christies third ahead of Holden/Lawrence. The lead was short-lived however, as Ellis shot the Yamaha past on the opening lap. From then on, he and his lady passenger just piled on the coals, setting yet another lap record of 1.31.617 on lap two. This surpassed the previous 1000cc record held by Tim Reeves, so the World Championship leaders were clearly setting new standards in 2022. The battle for second place raged between Blackstock/Rosney and the CES Christie brother’s Yamaha, with Blackstock slipping back to third.

Behind came Holden/Lawrence again, closing a little on Blackstock towards the end of the race. Next was a fine fifth throughout by Simon Robinson and Mick Fairhurst celebrating his 2021 “passenger of the year” award presented the previous evening. Their result put them fifth in the standings after race two.

Kevin Cable fought a race-long duel with Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde ahead of Clarke and Hauxwell. It was retirement for both Andy Peach and Rob Biggs who was suffering with a distinct lack of engine performance as the race wore on. It is hard to see any answers for the devastating speed of Ellis/Clement. With one more race to go here, and Thruxton coming up, they were moving towards a strong series challenge.

Result

1/ Ellis/Clement
2/ Christie/Christie
3/ Blackstock/Rosney
4/ Holden/Lawrence,
5/ Robinson/Fairhurst
6/ Cable/Richardson
7/ Archer/Hyde
8/ Clarke/Ensor,
9/ Hauxwell/Taylor

Race Three

The heat had gone up considerably ahead of the final outing with Ellis again almost making the best of the pole position start. He shot off the line but was beaten into Charlies by Blackstock/Rosney, with George Holden/Oscar Lawrence third and fighting. The Christie boys were fourth, but eager and desperate to get back in touch. Lap two, and Holden/Lawrence were not about to give their second spot away, with Blackstock/Rosney nipping at their heels, and the frustrated Christies stuck in fourth. As Ellis/Clement gave a masterful display on the singing Yamaha, the trio behind circulated lap after lap in close formation with Holden looking strong, if a little under pressure.

Robinson/Fairhurst were next, ahead of a despondent Rob Biggs/Jason Pitt. These crews have the speed when all is well, but the bikes were simply not playing ball in this final outing. Both were eventually to retire towards the end of the race on laps seven and eight respectively. The field was now down to eight finishers with Andy Peach/Ken Edwards already non-starters in this one. A gleeful Kevin Cable/Chaz Richardson who had spent the entire race defending another challenge from Archer/Hyde, found themselves in fifth with more solid points. Rupert Archer is another competitor who, by sheer doggedness and consistency, is now placed fifth in the standings just two points ahead of relative newcomers Robinson/Fairhurst. But for their retirement, they would have been in that position.

At the front the battle raged into the final two laps with Ellis/Clement now twenty seconds clear of the trio behind. Blackstock/Rosney were down to fourth with the Christies climbing all over George Holden/Oscar Lawrence on the Holden Racing Kawasaki.

Then the inevitable happened approaching the mountain section before the final lap. A coming together between third and fourth saw the Christies emerge with wheel arch damage and a smoking tyre, whilst Blackstock/Rosney appeared later. They were still fourth, but the chance had gone. Holden/Lawrence meanwhile were cock-a-hoop with their best result at this level.

This championship might have been missing some top names early in the season, but those teams who have turned up and supported the series, have had good racing, and found reward for their efforts.

As for Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement, they are simply in a special pace at this precise moment and few, with any honest knowledge of this sport, could possibly argue with that.

Result

1/ Ellis/Clement
2/ Holden/Lawrence
3/ Christie/Christie
4/ Blackstock/Rosney,
5/ Cable/Richardson
6/ Archer/Hyde
7/ Clarke/Ensor
8/ Hauxwell/Taylor

Standings

Ellis/Clement 175
Christie/Christie 164
Blackstock/Rosney 148,
Holden/Lawrence 107
Archer/Hyde 68
Robinson/Fairhurst 66
Hauxwell/Taylor 60
Cable/Richardson 47
Peach/Edwards 40
Clarke/Ensor 38
Kirby/Kirby 35

Santander Salt to bow out of FIM Sidecar World Championship

Santander Salt to bow out of FIM Sidecar World Championship

Santander Salt to bow out of FIM Sidecar World Championship

FIM Sidecar World championship logos

Following last week’s news that RKB-F1 is to withdraw from sidecar championship activities at the end of the 2022 season, agreement has now been reached with the FIM to formally cease involvement as promoter of that series too.

Roger Body of RKB-F1 Motorsport and CEO of Santander Salt the series sponsor, had this to say – “After much deliberation and with regret I have decided that the time has come for me retire from the front line in organising the world and British Sidecar championships. I have enjoyed immensely the involvement with the series and the people and friendships formed along the way. I would have liked to achieve more but I think it is time for young blood and maybe some fresh thinking. I wish all those involved in the future of the sport the best of luck. My personal thanks go to the FIM and all those who played a part in helping me realise my ambitions.”

The FIM were fully supportive and appreciative of Roger’s decision, and completely understanding of the circumstances which contributed to it.

The FIM President Jorge Viegas said – “On behalf of the FIM, I would like to thank Roger Body and the entire Santander Salt team for having deployed their best efforts and contributed with strong passion to the growth of this spectacular championship in an extremely difficult context. The FIM will try to find a new promoter for the FIM Sidecar World Championship from 2023 onwards.”

As stated in our previous announcement, our best efforts will be applied to the finalisation of the 2022 season for both the British and the World series, with lots of racing still to do. Both championships are wide open, with double points applicable in the final rounds at Brands Hatch and Estoril respectively.

I know I speak for all the sidecar teams, fans, spectators, TV audiences and Santander Salt support staff when I thank Roger Body for his vision, hard work and enthusiasm over many years in keeping the sport of sidecar racing alive at the highest level. No-one could possibly have done more.

Thank you, Roger.

RKB-F1 Sidecar initiatives to end after 2022 season

RKB-F1 Sidecar initiatives to end after 2022 season

RKB-F1 Sidecar initiatives to end after 2022 season

Race action from Cadwell Park Revival

After twelve years of organisation of the British F1 Sidecar Championship (ten of those alongside the prestigious British Superbike series) and more recently, a five-year deal to organise and promote the FIM Sidecar World Championship, the RKB-F1 organisation is calling it a day.

From a sport languishing in the doldrums ten years ago, with a poor image, low grid attendances, shabby paddocks and no recognition or commercial value, under Roger Body’s stewardship and significant investment, sidecar racing has achieved unprecedented exposure and profile.

The vision was always to raise the sport back to a level which justified placing it on big stages and re-establishing it as an attractive product for sponsors and organisers alike.

From little more than a club sport, it became a major part of a Superbike race weekend, with live television, extensive web and media coverage and a vibrant and stylish paddock scene. The time and investment over the period to get the sport to that level cannot be underestimated.

Sadly, the perfect storm of Brexit, the global pandemic, and more recently the Ukraine war have all contributed to a downturn in entries for both series, and rising costs at just about every turn. The result of these and other factors is that once again grids are dwindling, and good teams who should be racing in one or both championships, are not able to. For a minority and niche sport (for that is what sidecar racing is) to succeed and grow, everyone needs to buy into the dream and support any programme designed to deliver the ideal.

The bottom line is, that however tough the decision, for the reasons listed above and more, enough is enough and at the end of 2022, Roger Body will cease his activities under the RKB-F1 banner and close the shop. The implications of that decision will become apparent if, and when, a new season gets underway. Meanwhile, there is the remainder of the 2022 season to deliver, and as a man of his word and more, Roger and his team will deliver it.

RKB-F1 would like to thank all the fans, the teams, the sponsors, and organisations who have shared his vision and supported the initiative over the years. We would also like to extend sincere thanks to Stuart Higgs and his MSVR organisation for having faith in what we were intent on achieving and providing us with the platform to realise the ambition.

Photo credits: Jenny “Triker” Wells

RKB-F1 Sidecar Racing Announcement

RKB-F1 Sidecar Racing Announcement

After much consideration (and the onset of old age) I have decided to hang up my boots at the end of the year.

We have had a good run from the conception in 2010 with Thundersport right through to 2022 with BSB.

My thanks go out to all those people who have helped over the years to put the show on the road. In particular, Mike Dommett and his BEMSEE team, Barry Nutley, Glenn Walsh, Darren Philpott, Gary Bryan, Jane Haselden and Stuart Higgs at MSV and all of his team.

I will also be disbanding our team (Santander Salt) and again many thanks go out to all theriders we have had at the team and the team helpers. We will obviously be finishing the year, and look forward to the continued success of Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement with back up from Rob Biggs team. We also have an interest with Jack Nixon in the FHO Team, again we will continue to support him.

I know there are many people in the wings looking to continue and improve on the series and I wish them every success in the future.

Roger Body

British F1: Double top for Ellis/Clement as Blackstock and Rosney falter

British F1: Double top for Ellis/Clement as Blackstock and Rosney falter

British F1: Double top for Ellis/Clement as Blackstock and Rosney falter

Blackstock/Rosney

An eclectic mix of competitors made for a very interesting grid at Brands Hatch for the third round. From World and British Championship regulars and series leaders for both series, to new names and wild cards testing the water for the first time, the weekend was always going to have an unknown flavour. Certain predictions were inevitable, but equally there were surprises along the way.

For the first time ever, the Santander Salt team featured two lady passengers, as Sarah Stokoe joined Rob Biggs alongside Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement. Sarah is well known in the sidecar world, partly as George Holden’s partner, but also for her exploits alongside multiple TT winner Rob Fisher in classic racing.

A newcomer to the series was Bemsee Championship runner Luke Williams with Jason Pitt alongside, running very well inside the top ten in free practice.

The feeder system in identifying new talent at club level has once again provided strong candidates for the higher order. Williams, at thirty years of age, already has over twenty years of kart and motor racing experience behind him. He follows his father into the world of three wheels. Bemsee F1 series leader Gordon Pottinger/David Dodd were another crew to step up and try their hand at a new level.

Qualifying

Just as the session got underway, rain started falling, catching out a couple of outfits on the opening lap. Gordon Pottinger collected a spinning Craig Clarke, with Pottinger’s passenger David Dodd suffering concussion and an overnight hospital stay for observation. All teams came back to pit-lane or the paddock to change tyres causing a further delay to proceedings. The resumption of qualifying left ten minutes on the clock, with Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde setting the early standard. Ellis/Clement got stuck in and shot to the head of the times, with a respectable 1.47.348 given the conditions.

Rupert Archer and Phil Hyde

Blackstock and Rosney then took control at the front, with Kershaw/Charlwood rushing to change tyres in pit lane, vainly trying to get one lap in. A red flag brought it to a close, with Kershaw unable to complete his lap. He would now start from the back of the grid. Conditions were against them
today, but not so the series leaders. Blackstock and Rosney would start from pole position, ahead of Ellis/Clement and the Christie brothers from George Holden on row two.

Race One

The blue sky was back for Saturday morning with warm-up scheduled for midday and race one late afternoon. It was to be hoped the weather would hold and the prognosis was good. It was indeed hot stuff when the lights went out and the pack streamed into Paddock Hill Bend. Blackstock and Rosney got the initial drop, but Ellis/Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha) dived up the inside and took control. They were never to look back, breaking the lap record in the process of building an eight second lead over the twelve laps. Behind them, Sam and Tom Christie (CES Yamaha) fought tooth and nail with Blackstock/Rosney before the Express Tyres Services Yamaha pair pulled a gap. By the end of lap one Rob Biggs/Sarah Stokoe were out after an incident at Stirlings. Further down the order, Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood had a problem from the start and ran wide at Paddock Hill Bend, so their race was over too. There appeared to be an electrical fault on the Quattro Yamaha which remained undiagnosed late into the evening. The rate of attrition in the early laps was high, accounting for three teams in the early stages. As Ellis/Clement marched on at the front, the Christies had a good scrap with Blackstock/Rosney until the red “ninety-five” bike let go and was also out with a blown engine. This allowed George Holden/Oscar Lawrence to grab their third consecutive podium spot, and a delighted Luke Williams/Jason Pitt moved into fourth in their debut Championship race.

Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst, Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde and Martin Kirk/Kyle Masters all scrapped throughout, with Robinson claiming fifth. Kevin Cable/Chaz Richardson had a solid ride to eighth in their first appearance in this title chase this year ahead of an entertaining battle between the Haz Beans Yamaha of Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor and Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor. Shawn and Anthony Hildidge claimed the final points in ninth.

Total retirements included Peach/Edwards with another mysterious electrical fault, Biggs/Stokoe, Blackstock/Rosney and Kershaw/Charlwood.

Result

1/Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
2/Sam Christie/Tom Christie (CES Yamaha)
3/George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Holden Racing Kawasaki)
4/Luke Williams/Jason Pitt (WSRT Yamaha)
5/Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst (24 Seven Courier Service Yamaha)
6/Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde (Hannifin RS Yamaha)
7/Martin Kirk/Kyle Masters (MK Racing Yamaha)
8/Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson (L&W Contractors Yamaha)
9/Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor (Centurion Packaging Honda)
10/Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor (Haz Beans Yamaha)
11/Shawn/Anthony Hildidge (H&K Racing Yamaha)

Race Two

Warm-up set the scene on another beautifully sunny day, with the race scheduled late morning. Rob Biggs had drafted in Adam Christie alongside, so needed to get his three laps in. Kershaw’s problem appeared sorted he ran third fastest to Ellis but would start from the back of the grid. The Christie brothers were on top of warm-up times. A reverse grid once again was entertaining with Hauxwell/Taylor on pole, and three of the top four crews right at the back.

Christie / Christie

From the lights, the two front row crews Hauxwell and Clarke were under pressure, first from Kevin Cable/Chaz Richardson, and then by Sam/Tom Christie. The Christie boys had started alongside Todd Ellis but made a better job of hitting the front. This they did on lap one, and immediately pulled a three second lead over the pack. Ellis/Clement conversely, were almost on the grass into turn one from the lights, and then had a fight to get past Holden/Lawrence. By lap two they had made it through, but Sam and Tom Christie were flying, holding the lead for four laps. Wild card and new kid on the block Luke Williams with Jason Pitt in the hot seat was fourth on lap one behind Holden/Lawrence but quickly fell victim to the charging Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood, who earlier had claimed the scalp of Blackstock/Rosney. The series leaders coming to Brands were not having the best of days by their high standards. Deep into what was a fantastic race, Ellis/Clement were away with it, not quite bettering their new lap record set earlier, but still faster than the 2021 time set by Ben and Tom Birchall.

Further down, a great ride by Martin Kirk/Kyle Masters saw them move from eighth to fifth at the flag in Kirk’s first ride for well over a year. Simon Robinson headed Rupert Archer, from Kevin Cable and the original front row occupants Hauxwell and Clarke. Ellis’s winning margin at the flag was three seconds over Kershaw/Charlwood who were just happy to know their mysterious gremlins had gone away. Third place for the Christies moved them further ahead in the tile chase. Rob Biggs and Adam Christie had an issue which put them into the pits, but they re-joined to finish in twelfth place behind Shawn/Anthony Hildidge.

Result

1/Ellis/Clement
2/Kershaw/Charlwood
3/Christie/Christie
4/Blackstock/Rosney
5/Kirk/Masters
6/Robinson/Fairhurst
7/Archer/Hyde
8/Cable/Richardson
9/Hauxwell/Taylor
10/ Clarke/Ensor
11/Hildidge/Hildidge
12/Biggs/Christie
DNF – Holden/Lawrence lap 9
Williams/Pitt lap 8

Standings

Christie 108
Blackstock 103
Ellis 100
Holden 61
Robinson 45
Archer 41
Hauxwell 40
Kirby 35
Peach 34
J Holden 22
Kirk 21
Kershaw 20
Cable 17
Biggs 14

The next round comes from the Cadwell Sidecar Revival August 6-8.

FIM Sidecars – Ellis and Kershaw take one each in Donington showcase event

FIM Sidecars – Ellis and Kershaw take one each in Donington showcase event

FIM Sidecars – Ellis and Kershaw take one each in Donington showcase event

Racing at Donington Park

The huge crowd at the Donington Park World SBK round witnessed stunning action from the Superside teams on one of the hottest weekends of the year.

Twelve crews had firm entries for this crucial Donington event, but UK Border Control officials eliminated French father and son team Ted and Vincent Peugeot before they even left France. Young Ted was prohibited from travelling due to his passport not having enough “safety margin”, in that it expired a matter of weeks from his due travel date. Once again, post Brexit legislation dealt a blow to sport, and to a particularly talented but cash-strapped crew.
We were then left with eleven hungry teams including the sole remaining French crew, former National Champion Pierre Leguen and young passenger Leopold Rouby.

Two Swiss and one Dutch team, along with no fewer than seven British teams completed the line-up. Looking at the list, and based on previous showings, we could expect a battle royal between series leaders Ellis/Clement, defending champions Schlosser/Fries, rapidly improving Kershaw/Charlwood, former champions Benny Streuer/Kevin Kolsch and Payne/Wilkes.

Santander Salt’s Rob Biggs/Jake Lowther could well find themselves mixing it with Sam and Tom Christie, and Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson. Leguen/Rouby and Rupert Archer/Steve Thomas could also be well in touch. Cable had contested every round thus far in the series with noticeable benefits to his form. They arrived at Donington in the top ten of the standings, with every possibility of moving eighth. It remained to be seen if my speculative assumptions would be fulfilled in free practice and qualifying.

Free practice saw Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes (DAO1886 Yamaha) turn in a storming lap to record fastest time ahead of Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement and Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries. Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood were obliged to sit out the session after their outfit died with a bent valve, on the opening lap.

Qualifying

Two sessions late on Friday set the standard for what was bound to be a great weekend of racing. Early clouds had lifted and apart from a stiff breeze, conditions were warm and perfect for both twenty-minute periods. The temperature was just shy of twenty-two degrees, so all was good.

Todd Ellis set the early standard from Benny Streuer but with a long way to go. Kershaw had a disaster and was back in pit-lane after just one lap. Kevin Cable also hit trouble and he too was in pit lane – fairing off. Kershaw was obliged to go back to base to try to solve the problem which turned out to be a faulty clutch. Cable’s fault was not immediately resolved, so he looked like missing out.

Todd Ellis still sat fastest towards the end of the first session with a time of 1.36.275, but others were scratching their heads. Harry Payne and Mark Wilkes were next just over one tenth adrift, from Schlosser/Fries, Sam/Tom Christie, and Benny Streuer. Rob Biggs and Lukas Wyssen were also split by just one tenth. There was every chance we would see a new lap record set in the race.

Session two and those who were unlucky had a second bite of the cherry. The French duo of Leguen/Rouby had work to do to make the grid. This they did, albeit some seconds off the lead pace. Kevin Cable would be obliged to start at the back of the grid. His mysterious electrical fault not completely diagnosed but apparently resolved by changing a sensor.

Schlosser started well, clearly realizing he needed to get cracking this time around. He continued the momentum, sharing the front row with Ellis who then got very close to the magic number with a 1.36.087. This was well inside lap record pace and would be hard to beat.

Kershaw/Charlwood did well, given they had not completed a full lap before this session, moving fourth fastest. At this rate, the Santander Salt team of Ellis/Clement could feel optimistic, with a time almost three tenths ahead of the defending champions. Payne/Wilkes headed row two in third, with the Christie brothers a strong fifth ahead of Streuer/Kolsch.

Race One

The wind had subsided with the ambient temperature in the mid-twenties as the lights went out. The track was significantly hotter, so the Avon slicks would be tested to the limit over the eighteen-lap race distance. From the lights, Markus Schlosser grabbed the lead into Redgate, but Ellis/Clement were in front by the end of the lap. Behind, a battle raged with the Christie brothers and Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes, with the Christies shooting into second place, only to lose out again to Payne/Wilkes and Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood.

Bennie Streuer and Lukas Wyssen were locked together fighting for sixth place chased by Rob Biggs/Jake Lowther. Then came Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson, Archer/Thomas and Leguen/Rouby. This format stayed the same for several laps as the teams fought for supremacy in blisteringly hot conditions.

The top three were still all within one second as they commenced lap nine, with Kershaw sitting third on the Quattro Yamaha. Payne/Wilkes were safe in fourth six seconds clear of Sam and Tom Christie.

Ellis’s title margin coming into the race was sixteen points, and he was intent on increasing that. Judging by the body language of the Swiss Schlosser, he had other ideas.
It was still a four-horse race at the front as Payne/Wilkes kept the pressure on third-placed Kershaw. The Scot then banged in the fastest lap of the race, setting a new lap record to move even closer.

Lap fifteen and the gap was two tenths at the front, with Schlosser/Fries now getting to grips with Ellis/Clement. The Swiss pair were desperately keen to steal five points off the series leaders.

Two laps to go and the top three were close and bunched up as they approached tailenders. Kershaw had a lunge at Schlosser into the Melbourne hairpin. That cost him time and back-fired somewhat. Into the final lap, and Ellis had extended his lead to seven tenths over Schlosser with Kershaw dropping back slightly to finish a safe third.

Exiting Goddard’s for the final time, Schlosser had the drive and closed Ellis on the run to the line, but Ellis prevailed for victory.

This was a fine display of sidecar racing between the top four, and good racing all the way down the field. Ellis moved further ahead by five points, and was now back in charge, with a twenty-one-point edge. Benny Streuer did not seem totally at home and would be hoping for a better run out in race two, whilst Kevin Cable was happy to come home with a good score after the nerves of qualifying. Rob Biggs and Jake Lowther debut run together is worthy of recognition, given that was the longest and hottest race the new passenger had endured, and Rob was suffering with seat issues in the bike, not being able to get comfortable. The amiable Pierre Leguen and Leopold Rouby collected six solid points in their first season on a long chassis.

Rupert Archer and Steve Thomas had a problem and pulled the Hannafin Yamaha into pit lane with two laps remaining.

Result

1/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha), 2/ Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries (Gustoil Yamaha), 3/ Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Yamaha), 4/ Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes (DAO1886 Yamaha), 5/ Sam and Tom Christie (CES Yamaha), 6/ Benny Streuer/Kevin Kolsch (Bonovo Action Yamaha), 7/ Lukas Wyssen Thomas Hofer (Gustoil RS Yamaha), 8/ Rob Biggs/Jake Lowther (Santander Salt), 9/ Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson (L&W Contractors Yamaha),
10/ Pierre Leguen/Leopold Rouby (Suzuki),
DNF (Rupert Archer/Steve Thomas (Hannafin RS Yamaha)

Race Two

Even hotter weather greeted the teams for this one. In the middle of the afternoon on Sunday, a peak crowd were trackside to watch the action. What they saw could arguably be described as the best race of the season.

The lights went out and the chase to Redgate was on, with an extra bonus of a £2000.00 winner’s prize donated by Harry Payne’s sponsor DAO1886 Bar from the Isle of Man. The teams did not know this even as they lined up.

Schlosser hit turn one first, but ran wide out of Hollywood, allowing Ellis, and then Payne through. Kershaw as next, so by lap two, the defending champion found himself fourth.
Harry Payne led at this point, forcing past Ellis as if he knew about the financial reward.

Close on them came the Christie brothers, Lukas Wyssen, Rob Biggs, Rupert Archer, Kevin Cable, and Pierre Leguen bringing up the rear. The Suzuki was down on speed, but the Frenchmen were having a great weekend in the Donington sun.

Benny Streuer had lost his passenger Kevin Kolsch at the hairpin so with just one lap completed, they were out of it. Apart from a cut wrist, Kolsch was fine.

Ellis moved ahead and this formation stayed the same for several laps with Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries striving to get on terms with the front three. This front trio were hard at it, with nothing between them, as the convoy streamed out behind.

For the next six laps, it was breathtaking stuff as they climbed all over each other, opening a gap from Sam/Tom Christie who were brilliantly consistent throughout. Dramatically, Kershaw stole the lead on lap seven and then the fight was on. He and Ellis swapped places at least three times, maybe four in the ensuing laps, giving the best possible display of top-class sidecar racing. The crowd was on its toes with this dramatic action.

Lap eight, and Payne/Wilkes set the fastest lap of 1.36.341 fractionally outside Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood’s earlier lap record. The Manx-based duo were riding well and had arrived in style.

Biggs/Lowther were out next lap, with Archer/Thomas also pitting one lap later.

Still the battle raged at the front, switching this way and that, with Schlosser unable to improve his position. Then, it was all over for the Swiss crew as they too retired with twelve laps done. Into the eighteenth and final lap, Kershaw had to defend every inch of Donington, shutting the door at each turn to keep Ellis/Clement at bay. This they did, taking one of the hardest fought victories of their career, certainly on the world stage. The Quattro team celebrated, and the thousands of fans around the track showed their appreciation. With Schlosser’s retirement, came a big safety margin for Ellis/Clement at the head of the table. But the title race still has it all on the table, as the grand finale in Estoril, Portugal, carries double points for both races.

The seven crews who finished all earned solid scores, strengthening championship positions, and enhancing individual reputations. In what could have been a lame showing on the world stage, all competing teams went away from Donington knowing they had delivered great entertainment rivalling anything that transpired that weekend.

Result

1/ Kershaw/Charlwood, 2/ Ellis/Clement, 3/ Payne/Wilkes, 4/ Christie/Christie,
5/ Wyssen/Hofer, 6/Cable/Richardson, 7/ Leguen/Rouby
DNF not classified – Streuer/Biggs/Archer/Schlosser.

Championship standings

Ellis/Clement 255
Schlosser/Fries 214
Kershaw/Charlwood 191
Wyssen/Hofer 121
Payne Wilkes 102
Streuer/Kolsch 101
Peugeot/Peugeot 93
Reeves/Rousseau 68
Cable Richardson 66
Vinet/Vinet 58
Christie 43.

Official full standings will be available on the FIM website.

The next round comes from Oschersleben, Germany Sept 30-Oct 2.

Photo credit: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

British F1: Blackstock/Rosney take eighteen-point lead to Brands 22-24 July

British F1: Blackstock/Rosney take eighteen-point lead to Brands 22-24 July

British F1: Blackstock/Rosney take eighteen-point lead to Brands 22-24 July

Brands Hatch race action

Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney head for Kent with a sizeable series lead over Sam and Tom Christie after double victory in Scotland on the DHR/Express Tyres Services Yamaha. This is the first time they have found themselves in this position and will be very keen to preserve the margin against all odds.

It will not be an easy task, as FIM World Championship leaders Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement are fresh from Croatia and will be aiming to double their current tally of British points for the Santander Salt Yamaha team.

We have yet to see Ben and Tom Birchall in action this year, but they are entered at Brands Hatch hoping to open their score in style, along with Birchall Racing team-mates Craig Currie and Justin Sharpe. Both crews have had a slow start to the domestic scene having focussed on a successful Isle of Man TT.

Sam and Tom Christie (CES Yamaha) sit second in the title chase twenty-two points ahead of Ellis/Clement who claimed a maximum fifty points in the opening Oulton Park round. The Christie brothers from Beverley were also in World action recently in Croatia and are currently in top form, so they will expect to be in the big numbers.

George Holden and Oscar Lawrence are fourth in the table after two podiums in Knockhill and will be rueing their DNF in the opening race of the season at Oulton Park. But for that, they would almost certainly be ahead of Ellis coming here to Kent.

The full entry list is still taking shape as I write, and there might well be one or two surprises.

The Grand Prix circuit at Brands is very popular with the sidecar crews, and Pilgrims Drop is the fastest part of the lap. With one race on Saturday and another Sunday, there are fifty points up for grabs for the double win. Will there be any takers? One thing you can be sure of is there will be no shortage of teams trying their luck.

Eurosport are providing their usual live coverage, with our regular highlights package available later on www.rkb-f1-sidecars.com. Make sure you stay across all the action as it happens, or better still, find your way to Brands Hatch for a summer festival of racing.

Photo credits: Jenny “Triker” Wells

FIM Sidecars – Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement bring reduced lead to Donington Park 15-17 July

FIM Sidecars – Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement bring reduced lead to Donington Park 15-17 July

FIM Sidecars – Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement bring reduced lead to Donington Park 15-17 July

Racing at Donington Park

The Donington Park Round of World SBK will once again host the Superside family in the fifth round of what has been an outstanding Championship year. Whilst grid numbers have not been high, we have witnessed fierce four and five-way battles at the front, and equally strong scraps all the way down. The half-hour highlights TV Show filmed at each round has extended the audience and attracted new viewers to the sport.

Marcus Schlosser/Marcel Fries (Gustoil Yamaha) have closed to within sixteen points of series leaders Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement. At the previous round in Croatia, the Santander Salt Yamaha failed to finish the second race, giving added impetus and encouragement to the defending champions. Last year at Donington Park, Schlosser suffered the same fate, so he will be hoping history does not repeat.

Victory in Croatia also gave a leg-up to third placed Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Yamaha). They are looking safe in third, but trail Schlosser by forty-four points whilst almost fifty ahead of Gustoil Yamaha’s fourth placed Lukas Wyssen/Thomas Hofer.

This year we have seen an injection of new talent in the form of Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes, who, but for taking a sabbatical for the Isle of Man TT, would surely have been even more in the running. They have more than shown what they are capable of, improving all the time.

Likewise, Benny Streuer/Kevin Kolsch, race winners in Hungary, have displayed the speed which took the Dutchman to a previous title. But for a couple of crashes, they would be among the leaders.

Given there have been no Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau to speak of, and an absent Pekka Pavairinta through remedial surgery, the show has been a good one. If or when either or both these crews return, then the spectacle will be truly amazing. The Finn is due to make an appearance before season end, and we hope it is sooner rather than later. As for the Bonovo Action sponsored Anglo/French crew, only they know the answer.

With the appearance of Sam and Tom Christie in Croatia, there is every possibility other leading British crews will enter the fray in Donington Park. Certainly, Rob Biggs will be out on the other Santander Salt bike, and his entry shows he has employed the services of experienced passenger Jake Lowther.

Rupert Archer/Steve Thomas are on the score board with their Hannafin Adolf RS chassis, and thoroughly enjoyed their Spa outing. I think we will see them back for more in Donington. 

The dedicated RKB-F1 TV crew will be there to record interviews and features, with race footage provided by Dorna TV. The usual highlights show will follow in due course.

Photo credit: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

FIM Sidecars – One each for Kershaw/Charlwood and Ellis/Clement in Croatia

FIM Sidecars – One each for Kershaw/Charlwood and Ellis/Clement in Croatia

FIM Sidecars – One each for Kershaw/Charlwood and Ellis/Clement in Croatia

Kershaw / Charlwood Winners Race 2

This famous track in Rijeka Croatia was the perfect setting to begin the second half of what has been a stunning season of racing so far.

The twenty-three-point advantage held by Santander Salt’s Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement would need protecting, as main rivals Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries knew full well that everything was still to play for at this stage of the year.

In scorchingly hot conditions, the teams prepared for a replay of the amazing racing from Hungary just a few days before. Free practice on the 2.6 miles circuit with its long straights, got underway prompt at 1pm on Friday. All teams spent the session in familiarisation and set-up, with no dramas or problems to report.

Qualifying

In ambient temperatures approaching thirty degrees, session one got underway. The early signs were that the battles from Hungary would be repeated. Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement picked up where they left off, going almost half a second faster than the defending Swiss crews Schlosser and Fries. Benny Streuer/Kevin Kolsch were third fastest, ahead of Kershaw/Charlwood and Payne/Wilkes.

Once again Lukas Wyssen was strong, but Sam and Tom Christie got the better of Ted and Vincent Peugeot, slotting into seventh. The Kevin Cable/Claude Vinet scrap was due to be resumed, as they were less than half a second apart.

Ellis/Clement lead Kershaw/Charlwood

Q2, and this was another interesting session. The two teams at the top of the standings were going to be fighting again in the two races, except that Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood got the better of Schlosser, both in time and position. Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes came out third ahead of Benny Streuer. Peugeot was absent, presumably doing some adjustments or sorting a problem.

Lap times were marginally up, with Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement registering pole position once again with a time of 1.31.097, with Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Yamaha) joining them on the front row.

Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries Gustoil Yamaha) headed up row two whilst Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes (DAO1886 Yamaha) joined them in fourth after suffering leg muscle problems in Q1. The defending champions were unable to match their times from last year, which both puzzled and frustrated them. Then came Streuer and Wyssen on row three, Christie brothers and Ted Peugeot row four, with Claude Vinet/Sebastian Arifon and Kevin Cable/Chaz Richardson set to continue their excellent battle from the back of the grid.

Race One

Temperatures were through the roof for the opening race, and that could well pose challenges for all concerned. Ten seconds before the off, the tension was high, expectations were high, and with that came nerves.

The grid had a different look with Kershaw/Charlwood up front alongside Ellis/Clement, and Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes lurking with intent. A great start by the pole team saw the Santander Salt Yamaha lead from the word go. Kershaw/Charlwood went with them, and by lap three were still there ahead of Schlosser/Fries from Streuer and Payne. The battle for third was very fierce, with Benny Streuer, already having tasted victory in Hungary, fancying more of the same.

The Quattro Yamaha of Kershaw, although almost one second off Ellis, was flying and looking strong. Ted Peugeot and Lukas Wyssen were hard at it again, as were Kevin Cable and Claude Vinet. Schlosser had his hands full with Benny Streuer who was closing on the reigning Champion. Sam and Tom Christie closed down Lukas Wyssen and were looking threatening for seventh place.

Cable

Eight laps completed, and Kershaw had taken a fraction out of Ellis’s lead, whilst Schlosser was fighting for survival against Streuer. These two, along with Payne/Wilkes, were having a great scrap for fourth, and maybe even third place. The top five teams had all recorded lap times in the 1.31 sector, with Ellis posting a 1.31.057.

Eleven laps gone, and Ellis had shaken off Kershaw, with Schlosser a further two seconds back. This was by far the best ride this year by the Quattro Yamaha pairing of Kershaw/Charlwood, and surely would inspire them next time out. Harry Payne was now ahead of Benny Streuer/Kevin Kolsch and had Schlosser in his sights into the closing stages.

Ellis/Clement now had a two-second edge over Kershaw/Charlwood, but it was looking like a British one-two except Schlosser was closing fast on the Quattro Yamaha.

Then on lap fifteen, disaster struck as Streuer made contact with the back end of Kevin Cable giving him a rear wheel puncture. Streuer then crashed, capsizing the outfit in doing so. This bought out the red flag. He was taken to the Medical Centre, then hospital, checked over, given pain-killers and told to sit out race two. Our best wishes go to Benny and we’ll see him at the next round. Both Kevin Cable and Benny Streuer were classified as non-finishers. The result declared victory for Ellis and an increased title lead.

Ellis / Clement - winners race 1

Result

1/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
2/ Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Yamaha)
3/ Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries (Gustoil Yamaha),
4/ Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes (DAO1886 Yamaha)
5/ Ted Peugeot/Vincent Peugeot (FHC Competition Yamaha)
6/ Lukas Wyssen/Thomas Hofer (Gustoil Yamaha)
7/ Sam Christie/Tom Christie (Christie Engineering Services Yamaha)
8/ Claude Vinet/Sebastien Arifon (Team Vinet LKS Racing Yamaha).

Race Two

Morning warm-up put Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood on top of the pile, with a lap time approaching race speed. They were buoyed by their second place in race one, whilst series leaders Schlosser/Fries, although fast and second in warm-up, were not their usual selves. Something was amiss with the Swiss, and that would be borne out in the race. Fortune was eventually to go their way however, and as we all know, nothing is certain in racing.

Once again, The Santander Salt Yamaha was away like a rocket from pole position, chased hard by Kershaw/Charlwood being headed to turn one by Schlosser/Fries with Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes right up there in touch and looking good. Schlosser then had a clutch problem which dropped him back. The Christie brothers were also going well along with Ted/Vincent Peugeot. Lukas Wyssen was not far back but would not be fighting with Peugeot at close quarters this time around. The Ellis/Clement duo opened a two second gap over the field and it looked for all the world as if they were once again home and dry. Schlosser was a shadow of his former self in the early stages but soon sorted the problem.

Schlosser / Fries

Having said that, just twelve seconds split the top seven after seven laps, with Kershaw having the race of his life. Schlosser then began to compose himself and get second wind. Then dramatically, Todd Ellis was in the pit with a problem. Schlosser was by now on a charge, and Steve Kershaw was now well out in front. Lap twelve, and Ted Peugeot was into third with Schlosser recovered from his mysterious issue and breathing down his neck. Ellis’s race was now over with a very rare mechanical retirement. This would once again throw the title chase wide open. Ellis rejoined but it was to no avail. They were ill-fared and had to quit.

Kershaw/Charlwood’s lead was now five seconds, with Payne/Wilkes chasing, and a further four seconds ahead of Schlosser/Fries. The writing was on the wall however, and the Swiss Gustoil Yamaha pair were not about to pass up this chance. They promptly moved past Peugeot into third on lap fifteen, with Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes now their next target. Lukas Wyssen/Thomas Hofer held a fine fifth, with Sam and Tom Christie next up. Vinet/Arifon completed the top eight, with just those teams still rolling. Victory for the Quattro Yamaha of Kershaw/Charlwood was indeed sweet for the team.

Result

1/ Kershaw/Charlwood
2/ Payne/Wilkes
3/ Schlosser/Fries
4/ Peugeot/Peugeot
5/ Wyssen/Hofer
6/ Christie/Christie
7/ Vinet/Arifon.

Championship standings

Ellis 210
Schlosser 194
Kershaw 150
Wyssen 101
Peugeot 93
Streuer 91
Payne 73
Reeves 68
Vinet 58
Cable 49

Official full standings will be available on the FIM website.

The next round comes from World Superbikes Donington Park July 15-17.

Photo credit: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

FIM Sidecars – Report by our illustrious lady passenger Emmanuelle Clement following a great Pannoniaring for the team

FIM Sidecars – Report by our illustrious lady passenger Emmanuelle Clement following a great Pannoniaring for the team

FIM Sidecars – Report by our illustrious lady passenger Emmanuelle Clement following a great Pannoniaring for the team

Emmanuelle Clement

Bye Bye Hungary, Hello Croatia.

This weekend we were at Pannonia Ring in Hungary to take part in our fourth round of the Sidecar World Championship.

A hot weekend in temperature and color. Installed Thursday, short reconnaissance walk and off we go for free practice on Friday.

We are making some adjustments and are already in our times from last year. Saturday, big day because two qualifications and a race on the program. The temperatures being high, we take advantage of the first qualifying session at 8:30a.m. to set our time; the choice is good since we achieve a time of 1’55”8, a time never reached before, so the unofficial lap record (since not achieved in the race).

No one improves in the second session which puts us in pole position for both races.

3:15 p.m., start of the first race of 15 laps!!! Excellent start for us since we passed the first corner in the lead. We continue our momentum while saving our tires because with this heat the rubber wears out quickly. We are closely followed by the Schlosser / Fries crew who are trying to overtake us but we react just as quickly and regain our position. We manage to resist our competitors until the end and
therefore win the victory of this first race 🥇

Sunday morning, small warm-up to warm up for the race. The wind is a little more present and it feels good.

1:15 p.m., let’s go!!!! Second race started, same start as the day before, we are leading the race. The competitors are a little more enraged and the attacks more present with the 2021 world champions; which benefits the Streuer/Kolsch crew who take the lead and we pass the checkerboard in second position.🥈

Great races with great rivalry.

We are happy with our weekend and our qualifying time and leave with a smile, boiling hot (it’s the case to say it) for Croatia.

A big thank you to our sponsors, our team, our families and all of you who follow us to the depths of Europe.

Direction Rijeka for the fifth round of the World Cup next weekend.

Photo credit: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

British F1: Knockhill thrills as the title lead changes hands

British F1: Knockhill thrills as the title lead changes hands

British F1: Knockhill thrills as the title lead changes hands

Blackstock/Rosney

As the southern half of the UK basked in Mediterranean temperatures, Fife was a total contrast, with a very wet opening day on Friday.

A relatively small entry was amplified by a clash with the FIM World Championship in Hungary which kept the series leaders Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement away. Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau also signalled a late change of plan and were not present, along with double TT winners Ben and Tom Birchall. This left the door well and truly open for others to capitalise.

The invitation was gleefully accepted, with some serious fighting at the front for  the big points. Making a one-off return was Stuart Clark, who accompanied Steve Kershaw to the 2018 title. He jumped in with Simon Robinson for a one-off appearance, and the pair did pretty well once they had adjusted to each other. Free practice saw Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney run at the front, with Sam Christie giving brother Tom only his second trip out at Knockhill ahead of Phil Bell and his cousin Carl on the Marin Motorsport Yamaha.

Qualifying

The weather had improved significantly ahead of the only timed session. The sun  was out although there was a very stiff breeze in the backs of the crews as they came up from the hairpin and away over the start-finish line.

The Christie brothers Sam and Tom made the early running, but it was not long before Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney on the DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha made their presence felt at the front.

Team Christie racing

They opened a slight advantage, with Simon Robinson and Stuart Clark sitting third. Once ahead, Blackstock/Rosney were never to let the lead slip, making pole position theirs in fine style. Locals Lewis Nicol and Rhys Gibbon were mid-pack behind Scottish Championship rivals Phil and Carl Bell. In fourth, halfway through the session were George Holden and Oscar Lawrence, with every chance of grabbing a podium at this event. That possibility was reinforced as they moved third with seven minutes remaining. Simon Robinson fought back to reclaim third place however, as the Christies tried to close down Blackstock/Rosney. Paul and Tom Kirby went seventh fastest, underlining their steady improvement, with Andy Peach/Ken Edwards, Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde and Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor on the Hazbeans Adolf RS Yamaha completing the grid.

Race One

Late in the day, with a low sun, there was a good crowd of sidecar fans staying for what would be a welcome move to three-wheeled action. Would there be a new series leader at the end of the race? There was every chance, and
away they went for fifteen hectic laps.

Blackstock/Rosney

Blackstock/Rosney led the charge off the line into Duffus Dip with the Christie brothers and Simon Robinson/Stuart Clark neck and neck behind. Next came George Holden/Oscar Lawrence looking left and right for a way through. Phil and Carl Bell were also tucked in behind. These five outfits circulated in close formation with Blackstock easing a small gap on lap two. Equally, Sam and Tom Christie had a small cushion over a lot of action behind. George Holden eventually muscled the Kawasaki past Robinson, who seemed to be in handling trouble, taking to the grass and gravel exiting Leslie’s. It later transpired that his bike for some reason had become almost unrideable, eventually spitting Stuart Clark out. They would need to sort the problems before race two.

Further down the order, young Scotsman Lewis Nicol was having a great ride chasing down his local championship rival Phil Bell and Andy Peach/Ken Edwards. Phil Bell had to pit late in the race with Carl suffering from arm-pump. He was dejected and very disappointed but determined to make the grid for race two. It was to be a fine fourth place for the Nicol/Gibbon pairing in only their second British Championship race.

Race action

Race leaders Blackstock/Rosney were away with it, posting a time just seven tenths outside Todd Ellis’s lap record, so clearly were in form. Peach/Edwards, Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde and Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor had their own fun further down the field, but Peach was rewarded with fifth.

Result

1/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha)
2/ Sam/Tom Christie (CES Yamaha)
3/ George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Holden Racing Kawasaki)
4/ Lewis Nicol/Rhys Gibbon (Nicol Racing Yamaha)
5/ Andy Peach/Ken Edwards (Lifesafety Yamaha)
6/ Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde (Hannafin Adolf RS Yamaha)
7/ Paul/Tom Kirby (Adolf RS Yamaha)
8/ Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor (Adolf RS Hazbeans Yamaha).

Race Two

The reverse grid was always going to be interesting into Duffus Dip and we were not disappointed. Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor were keen not to repeat their Oulton Park antics as they headed off from pole position.

They did a good job on the opening lap, but George Holden/Oscar Lawrence were on them, as indeed were the Christies. Blackstock/Rosney had a heart-stopping moment after the first warm-up lap with a dead engine. They pushed off the grid and onto the grass, only for it to fire up again. The second warm-up lap gave them the breathing space to take their place.

They had a harder fight through but made it on lap three to take the lead, Behind them however, there was lots going on. Simon Robinson had his handling sorted, and he and Stuart Clark were fighting hard, as indeed was Phil Bell. Carl was in better shape this time and they had a good race.

Race action

The Bell pairing claimed fourth place when the rear tyre of Robinson’s outfit failed on the final lap. Knockhill was a weekend to forget for Robinson and Clark. Young Lewis Nicol/Rhys Gibbon enjoyed a good scrap with Andy Peach/Ken Edwards behind the Bell outfit, and Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde stayed ahead of Paul/Tom Kirby. The Gloucester duo have been steadily improving, are consistent, and the standings reflect their efforts.

Archer and Hyde enjoyed their weekend in Scotland picking up twenty-one points for their trouble. Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor, from pole position, slipped to the back of the field, but smiling faces in the “Hazbeans Racing” camp told a great story. Who knows, if there had been prize money, Craig might even have bought some razor blades!!!

Race action

At the flag, Blackstock/Rosney had a two second edge over Sam and Tom Christie, getting to within seven tenths of Todd Ellis’s lap record. Holden/Lawrence were again on the podium in third and that was good to see. Events conspired against a strong entry here, but the ten crews present put on a good show, throwing the title race wide open. When the big guns return from foreign parts, the title race will be very interesting with Brands Hatch next up.

Result

1/ Blackstock/Rosney
2/ Christie/Christie
3/ Holden/Lawrence
4/ Bell/Bell
5/ Peach Edwards
6/ Nicol/Gibbon
7/ Archer/Hyde,
8/ Kirby/Kirby
9/ Hauxwell/Taylor

Standings

Blackstock 90
Christie 72
Ellis 50
Holden 45
Kirby 35
Peach 34
Hauxwell 26
J. Holden 22
Robinson 22
Archer 21
Bell 13
Biggs 10

Round Three comes from Brands Hatch July 22-24.

FIM Sidecars – Ellis/Clement extend series lead in brilliant Hungary

FIM Sidecars – Ellis/Clement extend series lead in brilliant Hungary

FIM Sidecars – Ellis/Clement extend series lead in brilliant Hungary

Podium

The famous Pannoniaring once again played host to the best sidecar racers and passengers in the world, and what a show they put on.

Series leaders by fourteen points at this mid-point of the season Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha) came here with a job to do, and that was to extend their advantage over the Gustoil Yamaha Swiss pairing of Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries. The reigning champions were not about to go quietly, and the fantastic racing emphasised just that.

Free practice took place on Friday in hot, sunny conditions, with the teams settling in nicely before two Saturday qualifying sessions. Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement ran strongly, separated by three one hundredths of a second from rivals Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries. Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood were also in positive form, with eyes on big points.

Race action

Qualifying – Q1 was a very early start at 8.30am local time. Early or not, everyone was clearly wide awake and ready for action. From the word go, the lap times were up there with the best from free practice.

The Gustoil Yamaha of Schlosser/Fries was the first to dip into the 58’s with Streuer/Kolsch and Kershaw/Charlwood also looking good.

Ellis/Clement however, were in a class of their own, setting the bar at a new level on their second lap. They banged in a 1.55.885 on the Santander Salt Yamaha, pulling in and sitting back after five laps. This time put them well over one second faster than their Swiss rivals.

Benny Streuer/Kevin Kolsch were fractionally slower than Schlosser, giving them great hope for Q2. Ted and Vincent Peugeot continued their great form with a fantastic time just half a second off that set by Schlosser and fractions off Streuer. Kershaw and Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes were on the pace too with it all to play for next time out.

The second session saw Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood improve into the 57’s, obviously intent on finding a bit more. Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes did the same, improving their time. Meanwhile, Todd Ellis was watching and waiting, as Schlosser/Fries did their utmost to close the gap.

The series leaders took to the track with a few minutes remaining even though they were looking good for pole position. There was no need, and the times from session one held good, proving to be a bridge too far for Markus Schlosser. The teams lined up for the two races with the Santander Salt Yamaha sitting proudly on pole, ahead of Schlosser, Streuer and Kershaw. Peugeot and Payne made up row three.

Ellis/Clement, Schlosser/Fries, Kershaw/Charlwood

Race One

Fifteen laps awaited the crews forming up on the grid, and when the lights went out, the sprint to turn one was a busy one. Ambient temperature was twenty-eight degrees with the track significantly hotter.

Markus Schlosser went in too deep at turn one, and the Ellis/Clement machine was back in business at the front. Benny Streuer sat second at the end of the opening lap. Kershaw/Charlwood were fourth behind the Gustoil Yamaha of Schlosser, but this was a long race. It looked as if Ted Peugeot and Lukas Wyssen were going to repeat their scrap of Spa, as they were once again paired up. Moments later, Schlosser/Fries moved second, but almost two seconds behind the flying Santander Salt Yamaha of Ellis/Clement. Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes took the DAO1886 Yamaha past Peugeot and began to chase down Wyssen.

On lap four, the Schlosser outfit was on the back of Ellis, having chopped a large chunk out of the advantage. Schlosser/Fries were the fastest on track at this point. One third distance and it was Ellis, Schlosser, Streuer, Kershaw, Wyssen, Payne and Peugeot all within six seconds of each other. Then Harry Payne hit trouble with a split exhaust pipe and dropped out of the reckoning. Moments later they were out, their race over.

Still Markus Schlosser stalked Todd Ellis just three tenths adrift of the twenty- seven-year-old championship leader. Half-distance and it was a two-horse race, with Streuer hanging in a full second back. Suddenly the Dutch/German pairing found something extra and the battle at the front became a three-way scrap. Ted Peugeot got second wind and won his duel with Wyssen, relegating the Swiss crew to a familiar sixth position, and once again Streuer dropped off the top two.

Race action

Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson held ninth and last place but continued to earn valuable title points for the L&W Racing team. In front of the, Kimeswenger/Sedlacek continued to make a fight of it, but by now the front two were split by just a fraction. With two laps to go, Kershaw was adrift of Streuer, with little chance of passing him before the flag.

Going into the final lap, Ellis had the gap managed at half a second, but Schlosser was always going to fight all the way.

Podium

Result

1/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
2/ Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries (Gustoil Yamaha)
3/ Benny Streuer/Kevin Kolsch (Bonovo Action Yamaha)
4/ Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Yamaha)
5/ Ted Peugeot/Vincent Peugeot (LCR Yamaha)
6/ Lukas Wyssen/Thomas Hofer (Gustoil Yamaha)
7/ Peter Kimeswenger/Ondrej Sedlacek (LCR Yamaha)
8/ Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson (L&W Yamaha),
9/ Claude Vinet/Sebastian Arifon (LCR Yamaha),

Race Two

All mechanical gremlins fixed, the grid was complete for the second outing and the weather was once again hot, if not hotter. Harry Payne had shown he could run well, so needed to make amends this time out. Fifteen laps was the scheduled race distance, with Markus Schlosser desperate to find an answer to the young Santander Salt teamsters. He knew at this stage of the season, he needed to stay close in the points. It was a tight thing in the drag to turn one, with Ellis nosing ahead of Schlosser, Streuer and Kershaw.

Payne/Wilkes got the better of Ted Peugeot and moved to fifth. At the end of lap one, Ellis/Clement enjoyed half a second over the Swiss. Lap three, and Kershaw/Charlwood had the Quattro Yamaha into third and began to ease
away from former champion Streuer. Harry Payne had the DAO1886 Yamaha fixed and flying in fifth ahead of Peugeot, Lukas Wyssen and Kevin Cable/Chaz Richardson. Ted/Vincent Peugeot were in the slipstream of Harry
Payne, sensing a move was possible, as Todd Ellis maintained a slender two-tenths over Schlosser. The elastic stretched and contracted, but Ellis/Clement kept the Santander Salt Yamaha ahead as they approached half race distance.

Race action

Steve Kershaw meanwhile was holding a good potential podium spot, only to lose it to Streuer as they began lap eight. There was nothing between the leading pair of outfits as they flashed over the line to begin lap nine. Kevin Cable was having a good scrap with Claude Vinet, as Harry Payne slipped back out of contention, leaving Ted Peugeot in a fine fifth place. This was a close race with just six seconds splitting the top six teams after twenty minutes of racing.

Ellis would need to hold his nerve as the Swiss once again closed in. They had been locked together for the entire race with Ellis fractionally ahead on lap times. Then drama on lap 12, as Streuer emerged leader with Ellis second. Schlosser had muscled past Ellis who dipped onto the grass, only for Ellis to return the compliment at the next turn. Streuer had posted the fastest lap of the race and it paid off. He was able to profit from the close fight between the two leaders. On the final lap, the lead gap was over one second with Schlosser down in fourth. Kershaw was in a provisional podium spot but lost out to the Swiss in the closing stages. Ellis in second place, increased his title lead, with Benny Streuer/Kevin Kolsch on the top step of the podium. Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes had another problem which dropped them behind Lukas Wyssen/Thomas Hofer into seventh, with Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson also losing their battle with Vinet/Arifon.

Race action

Result

1/ Benny Streuer/Kevin Kolsch
2/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement
3/ Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries
4/ Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood
5/ Ted Peugeot/Vincent Peugeot
6/ Lukas Wyssen/Thomas Hofer
7/ Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes
8/ Claude Vinet/Sebastien Arifon
9/ Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson
10/ Peter Kimeswenger/Ondrej Sedlacek

Championship standings

Ellis/Clement 185
Schlosser 162
Kershaw 105
Streuer/Kolsch 91
Wyssen/Hofer 80
Peugeot 69
Reeves 68
Cable 49
Payne 46
Vinet 41
(Full standing as per FIM Website)

Round five is next weekend from Croatia June 24-26.

Photo credit: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

FIM Sidecars – Pannoniaring in Hungary in one week for Ellis and Clement

FIM Sidecars – Pannoniaring in Hungary in one week for Ellis and Clement

FIM Sidecars – Pannoniaring in Hungary in one week for Ellis and Clement

Race action from Hungary

Off the back of their first double victory in World Championship racing, the young series leaders head for Hungary to defend and hopefully extend their fourteen-point lead. June 17-19 is the date for this fourth-round clash with a British Championship event in Knockhill, Scotland.

Certain teams will have a difficult decision to make. One thing is for sure, all the top crews in the hunt will be making the trip.

Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries will doubtless have a clear mission, that being to arrest the charge by the last year’s runners-up.

Schlosser / Fries

Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood have replaced Tim Reeves and Kevin Rousseau in third place, having visited the podium in Spa with the Quattro Yamaha.

Totally impressive were Swiss Gustoil team-mates to Schlosser, Lukas Wyssen and Thomas Hofer. They spent the entire weekend in Belgium locked in a battle with the nineteen-year-old Ted Peugeot and his father Vincent. For this French team to miss any future rounds due to financial constraints would be nothing short of a tragedy, and we all hope they continue their brilliant season in Hungary.

Benny Streuer and Kevin Kolsch were very fast in Belgium, and coming from a shaky start to the season, find themselves in sixth place ahead of Peugeot. Kevin Cable and Charlie Richardson must be shaking themselves after a stunning performance in Spa. They are in eighth with the L&W Yamaha. This is an incredible feat and one which they should be proud of.

Action from Pannoniaring 2021

It is to be hoped that Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes will appear after their TT debut and resume the challenge of regaining lost ground.

The intrepid TV crew will once again capture the action, with lots of on-board and detailed footage for screening through the agreed TV contracts.

Photo credit: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

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