FIM Sidecars: Brands Hatch penultimate round cancelled

FIM Sidecars: Brands Hatch penultimate round cancelled

FIM Sidecars: Brands Hatch penultimate round cancelled

Gustoil Sidecar Racing Team - Whyssen & Hofer

It is with huge regret that RKB-F1 announces the cancellation of the planned round at Brands Hatch over the weekend of 15-17 October.

Many of you will recall that last season we ran a Santander Salt/Bonovo two round series under the guise of the International Sidecar Superprix in which we had a mixed grid of World and National Championship teams. This was a one-off series which provided a pragmatic solution to a catastrophically disrupted season and delivered a spectacle of 26 teams to an International TV audience.

The Sponsor acknowledges now that the assumption to run a similar approach this year, could not in fact be applied to a mixed World & British grid at a World Championship event. Nonetheless, much time has been spent in trying to make a joint grid happen between the current British series and the World Championship, but it is simply not feasible on two counts. They are as follows:-

This being the final round of the British Superbike Championship there is no scope within the program to run separated World and British Sidecar races. Furthermore, the licensing and insurance conditions that the FIM would offer to World sidecar entrants are not possible under mixed grid conditions.

We are sorry therefore that the World Sidecar round at Brands Hatch is cancelled, and we look forward to the finale in Estoril where double points will be on offer for the two races. This has been a great season this far, and the series has yet to be decided so we will all go to Portugal with much still to play for.

Photo credits: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

British F1: Birchalls put the title out of reach at Donington Park

British F1: Birchalls put the title out of reach at Donington Park

British F1: Birchalls put the title out of reach at Donington Park

Race 1 - Lap 1

A distinctly winter feel greeted the crews at Donington with heavy rain and wind on Friday. Saturday was another tricky day with the organisers moving the schedule to fit the weather which was predicted to deteriorate as the day unfolded.

Free practice saw a good performance by John Holden, with the Birchall brothers distinctly faster in the dry. They expressed concern that Avon had not brought enough of the new wet radial rear tyre with them. So, they would be obliged to use the older cross-ply version which did not perform as well.

Qualifying

Ben and Tom Birchall did indeed claim pole, with Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney getting to within half a second of them. John Holden/Jason Pitt got third, with Ben Holland/Tom Christie making fourth, only to crash out badly. Tom Christie suffered a broken arm, and the bike was badly bent. Holland’s weekend and season are therefore over. Newly crowned F2 Champions Lee Crawford/Scott Hardie on their new Kawasaki long LCR did amazingly well fifth fastest just ahead of Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley on the short F2. Sixteen crews qualified, but due to Holland’s crash, fifteen would line up.

Race One

In adverse weather conditions, a reduced distance of eight laps was implemented by race control, with two warm-up laps to familiarise the crews with a very wet track. Drama unfolded on the opening of those two laps when Ben Birchall appeared to collide with the back of Lee Crawford’s outfit on the approach to the Foggy Esses. Birchall took to the grass with sidecar wheel arch damage and Crawford retired in pit lane with a rear wheel puncture. Neither crew started, leaving the field open for others to gain big points. Slippery conditions were certainly a factor in the incident.

Lewis Blackstock was not about to pass up that chance and led from start to finish. They were to open a sixteen second margin from the chasing pack, and that was where the interest lay. If John Holden/Jason Pitt thought they would have an easy ride, nothing could be further from the truth. Newcomer Craig Currie, with Justin Sharpe alongside, settled into second place and looked strong throughout. They had a battle from mid-race distance with John Holden who also had Andy Peach/Ken Edwards to contend with. The Lifesafety Yamaha was right up there with Peach obviously relishing the conditions. He had a moment in the closing stages which dropped him into the clutches of Phil Bell/Jimmy Connell but recovered towards the end of the race to get back on terms with Holden, Currie, and Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley on their F2 short LCR.

There were good scraps all down the field with veteran Brian Gray/Sarah Stokoe in the thick of it early on. Phil Bell claimed sixth ahead of a great fight involving Craig Clarke, Simon Robinson and new kid on the block, Lewis Nicol.

The young Scot, with his passenger Rhys Gibbons survived a big practice crash and extensive repair work to bring it home tenth. They were to start race two nervously from pole position.

Race 1 Peach & Edwards

Result

1/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyres Services Yamaha)
2/ Craig Currie/Justin Sharpe (Birchall Racing Yamaha)
3/ John Holden/Jason Pitt (Barnes/Silicone Adolf RS)
4/ Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley (Team Founds Yamaha)
5/ Andy Peach/Ken Edwards (Lifesafety Yamaha)
6/ Phil Bell/Jimmy Connell (Marin Motorsport Yamaha)
7/ Conrad Harrison/Mark Middleton (Bellas Honda)
8/ Craig Clarke/Pete Ensor (Centurion Packaging LCR Honda)
9/ Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst (24 Seven Courier Service Yamaha)
10/ Lewis Nicol/Rhys Gibbons (Lewis Nicol LCR Yamaha)

Race Two

A huge crash on the warm-up lap involved Brian Ilaria/Matty Simms clipping the kerb at Starkeys and rolling the outfit in dramatic fashion. The fairing was destroyed and parted company with the bike as Ilaria struggled to get out of it. They both quickly jumped to their feet, but the race was over for them before they got to the line.

As normal, the reverse grid gave great action with Blackstock charging through the pack followed by Ben and Tom Birchall. This time the weather was kind, and the track was dry. Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst were very strong at the front, holding second place for the early laps. Phil Bell spun out and into the gravel on lap two, with John Holden/Jason Pitt having another good ride working through the pack.

Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley made their way to fifth and were enjoying a great tussle with Holden, as Craig Currie/Justin Sharp followed up their earlier podium with a great ride to sixth place.

Meanwhile, the Birchalls had forced through to lead and opened up a huge gap back to Blackstock/Rosney, with Simon Robinson having the ride of his life on the new long bike. He was to keep John Holden at bay to claim the final podium spot.

Further down the order there was a race-long entertaining battle between evergreen Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor, TT winner Conrad Harrison/Mark Middleton and the new youngsters Lewis Nicol/Rhys Gibbons.

The twenty-year-old Scot with his nineteen-year-old passenger, nephew of Pete Founds, were mixing it in fast company and very much holding their own. But it could have been a very different story when Harrison got it sideways onto the grass, Clarke jabbed the brakes and skipped sideways himself causing Nicol to think quickly and positively. His reward was eighth place behind Andy Peach and Ken Edwards rounding out a good weekend for the Lifesafety squad. Other crews in trouble were Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde in the gravel on lap six, and Lee Crawford/Scott Hardie completing a miserable weekend with another DNF on the final lap.

Birchall’s victory gave them the Molson Group Championship title, a new lap record, and a bonus award of the Tom Wheatcroft Trophy presented by the Donington Supporters Club.

Birchalls taking 1st place

Result

1/ Ben/Tom Birchall (Champions) Haith Honda
2/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney
3/ Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst
4/ John Holden/Jason Pitt
5/ Pete Founds Jevan Walmsley
6/ Craig Currie/Justin Sharpe
7/ Andy Peach/Ken Edwards
8/ Lewis Nicol/Rhys Gibbons
9/ Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor
10/ Conrad Harrison/ Mark Middleton
11/ Brian Gray/Sarah Stokoe

Championship standings

Birchall 340
Blackstock 231
J. Holden 167
Holland 135
Archer 105
Peach 102
Biggs 100
Ellis 90
Lawrie 90
Bell 87,
G. Holden 87
Christie 76
Clarke 70
Philp 69
Robinson 69
Currie 60

The final round comes from Brands Hatch 15-17 October with double points on offer.

Photo credits: Jenny “Triker” Wells

FIM Sidecars: FIM Sidecar World Championship Round Six Oschersleben Germany

FIM Sidecars: FIM Sidecar World Championship Round Six Oschersleben Germany

FIM Sidecars: FIM Sidecar World Championship Round Six Oschersleben Germany

Podium from Oschersleben

There was a great turnout for this German round including a strong British contingent. The Oschersleben Sidecar Festival featured a round of the German IDM Championship, ensuring Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau and Bennie Streuer/Jeroen Remme had a busy weekend.

Qualifying took place in bright sunshine with Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement setting second fastest time on the Santander Salt Yamaha behind series leaders Schlosser/Fries with a lap of 1.31.986. Time Reeves/Kevin Rousseau (Bonovo Action Yamaha) were fourth behind Streuer/Remme.

Q2 and it was more of the same in equally great weather conditions. This series is firmly a four-horse race with Reeves, Streuer, Ellis and Schlosser setting the pace at the front.

These four crews filled the front rows, with Pekka Pavairinta/Ilse de Haas also very strong. There was also a good showing form Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood leading the rest of the pack.

Pavairinta de Hass

Race One

A flyer from the lights had Ellis/Clement narrowly ahead of Schlosser/Fries into the first turn. They began to extend the lead on the opening lap, pulling Schlosser with them, along with Benny Streuer/Jeroen Remme in third. A twenty-one-lap race was plenty of time to sort the positions and Tim Reeves would need it. He and Kevin Rousseau had a shocker off the line in around eighth place on lap one. Young Ted Peugeot sat fourth followed by Pavairinta de Haas and Kershaw/Charlwood.

Reeves/Rousseau had to get their heads down and that they did. They were to make headway through the field to third and even challenge for second place towards the end. Given the start they had, credit must be paid to the Bonovo Action crew for a valiant effort.

Meanwhile, tyre issues hampered Todd Ellis’s aspirations for victory, and the Santander Salt Yamaha was overhauled by the clinical riding of Markus Schlosser. Once again, the Gustoil Yamaha of the Swiss series leaders sat atop the pile.

There were strong battles all down the field with Kershaw/Charlwood bagging sixth, Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz eighth behind the Peugeot pairing, and Scott Lawrie/Shelley Smithies in ninth.

Further back, there was a race-long scrap which saw Kevin Cable/Kyle Masters continue their string of finishes with a points-scoring ride to fourteenth.

Todd Ellis leading race two

Race One Result

1/ Schlosser/Fries
2/ Ellis/Clement
3/ Reeves/Rousseau
4/ Streuer/Remme
5/ Pavairinta/de Haas
6/ Kershaw/Charlwood
7/ Peugeot/Peugeot
8/ Biggs/Schmitz
9/ Lawrie/Smithies
10/ Wyssen/Hofer
11/ Kimeswenger/Kolsch
12/ Endeveld/Krome
13/ Remse/ Welschelberger
14/ Cable/Masters
15/ Vinet/Farnier.

Race Two – Cloudy and cooler weather greeted the second twenty-one lap race as Todd Ellis once again shot into the lead from the lights.

This time, Tim Reeves and Kevin Rousseau made no mistakes and were on their case from the word go. Line astern it was Schlosser, Streuer and Kershaw next up.

Behind them was a French/Finnish scrap involving the Peugeots and Pavairinta, followed by a slightly more distant Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz. This was a good showing from both Santander Salt teamsters, and a thoroughly successful weekend.

The pace at the front was once again fierce, as Tim Reeves made his move and took the lead on lap nine with Schlosser also lining up a move. He was to go through, passing both Ellis and Reeves to lead the world once again. Tim Reeves had no answer for the charging Swiss and that was how it stayed. There was drama aplenty, with Rob Biggs taking a trip into the gravel and various scraps all the way down the field. It was also a great race and weekend for the ladies with Clement third, de Haas fifth, Smithies ninth at her first effort and Farnier thirteenth and in the points.

Kevin Cable/Kyle Masters made their weekend complete with twelfth place and more solid points.

Kevin Cable

Race Two Result

1/ Schlosser/Fries
2/ Reeves/Rousseau
3/ Ellis/Clement
4/ Streuer/Remme
5/ Pavairinta/de Haas
6/ Peugeot/Peugeot,
7/ Kershaw/Charlwood
8/ Wyssen/Hofer
9/ Lawrie/Smithies
10/ Kimeswenger/Kolsch
11/ Biggs/Schmitz
12/ Cable Masters
13/ Vinet/Farnier
14/ Gallerne/Bidault,

Full Championship Standings were not available at time of going to press. Updated totals will follow.

Photo credits: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

British F1: Birchall brothers flying high to Donington Park 1-3rd October

British F1: Birchall brothers flying high to Donington Park 1-3rd October

British F1: Birchall brothers flying high to Donington Park 1-3rd October

Ben & Tom Birchall Race 2

With eleven victories from thirteen outings Ben and Tom Birchall (Haith Honda) head for Donington Park on target for the championship. But for the double points on offer in the Brands Hatch finale, they would be home and dry anyway, However, Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney still have a mathematical chance of stealing the title. Their record of podiums is equally impressive, having only missed out twice.

A clash with the FIM World Championship in Oschersleben sees four of the top runners absent, including the only crew to beat the Birchalls this year, Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha). That leaves the door wide open for others to capitalise at Donington, with Blackstock/Rosney at the front of the queue. They have been edging ever closer on the DHR/Express Tyre Service Yamaha LCR.

A real battle is shaping up for third place between John Holden/Jason Pitt (Barnes/Silicone Yamaha) and Ben Holland/Tom Christie (Team JH Racing Kawasaki). Just three points split these two crews, as Ben Holland continues to find his mojo.

Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde (Hannafin Adolf RS) will benefit significantly from the absence of Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz and Scott Lawrie/Shelley Smithies (Team SLR Yamaha) who are also entered for Germany.

Despite the FIM clash, the grid is strong with several wild cards joining the party. Among those is the extremely fast Lee Crawford, who with regular passenger Scott Hardie alongside, is expected to be getting to grips with a new “long chassis” LCR powered by Kawasaki for team ARC.

TT winner Conrad Harrison joins the line-up as do Brian Ilaria and Matty Sims with their Suzuki. It will be interesting to see how these short chassis outfits cope against the long bikes on the flowing lines of Donington Park.

Lewis Nicol and Rhys Gibbons make the long trek from Cupar to throw their hats into the ring and are an unknown force against the Molson regulars.

It could well be a very different points table at the close of play at Donington Park on Sunday with Lewis Blackstock desperate to keep his hopes alive going into the Brands finale.

One thing is certain, it will be a brave man to place odds against Ben and Tom Birchall doing the double.

Photo credits: Jenny “Triker” Wells

FIM Sidecars: FIM World circus heads for Oschersleben 1-3rd October

FIM Sidecars: FIM World circus heads for Oschersleben 1-3rd October

FIM Sidecars: FIM World circus heads for Oschersleben 1-3rd October

Early laps race two Schlosser leads

After five weeks away, the FIM Sidecar World Championship swings back into action in Germany. Sixteen crews from eight nations are entered for the event with six making the journey from the UK.

The Motorsport Arena of Oschersleben is their destination, a popular and regular venue in recent years, located mid-way between Hanover and Berlin. Leading the points table by a healthy forty-one-point margin is the Swiss pairing of Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries. They have shown good speed and consistency all season despite the ravages of last lap battles with Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement and Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau. Eight-times champion Reeves is not going quietly, and with six races still on the agenda, there is much to play for.

Ellis/Clement, on the Santander Salt Yamaha sit second, thirty-four points clear of reigning British Champions Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood, with Finnish legend Pekka Pavairinta/Ilse de Haas next up in fourth.

Reeves/Rousseau trail Kershaw by a further fifteen points, putting them one hundred adrift of the series leaders.

Lukas Wyssen and Thomas Hofer, Schlosser’s teammates are best of the rest in sixth.

This round clashes with a British Molson Group round at Donington Park, but there is strength in depth at both events, making the weekend a fascinating prospect for sidecar racing lovers and enthusiasts.

All these teams will be coming together at the next British round in Brands Hatch, where both FIM and Molson Group crews will take to the Kent circuit in a combined event.

Meanwhile, the focus is on the top four crews heading for Germany and the appetising prospect of yet more drama as Schlosser/Fries aim for their first title, and Ellis/Clement close in on what could be a sensational debut year on the world stage.

There are two crews equally determined to stop that happening at whatever cost, as Reeves/Rousseau and Pavairinta/de Haas prepare for battle.

Photo credits: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

British F1: Birchalls prevail at Snetterton as they and Ellis smash lap record

British F1: Birchalls prevail at Snetterton as they and Ellis smash lap record

British F1: Birchalls prevail at Snetterton as they and Ellis smash lap record

Race 2 Ellis & Clement, Holden & Pitt, Holden & Lawrence

Fresh from double victory in the German national championship in which they defeated main rivals Tim Reeves and Markus Schlosser, Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement had every reason to feel buoyant ahead of this home series round. In free practice, it became clear this would be a renewal of the battle between the Santander Salt pairing, and the Haith Honda of Ben and Tom Birchall. They had edged free practice by seven one-hundredths of a second.

Qualifying – The weather brightened up just in time and was much warmer as the session began. With the first race later in the day, and no warm-up prior, this sole twenty-minute qualifier was essential on all counts.

The 2019 British Champion went straight out to the top of the timesheets, with the Birchalls playing a waiting game.

Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney continues their rich vein of form from Cadwell missing out by just seven tenths from the early leaders.

Four laps in and the Birchalls were third but looking fast and safe as they moved up a gear to find the missing one second. Behind these top three, there was a real fight between Biggs/Schmitz and Holland/Christie.

Next came a similar scrap involving Holden Senior, Scott Lawrie, Rupert Archer and Phil Bell.

Holland and Lawrie shared row three, with Archer/Bell making up row four. Ellis was well inside his own lap record pace, as Ben Birchall eclipsed that time with five minutes left. Ellis pitted, and when he resumed he was looking to find almost half a second. Biggs moved fourth pushing Ben Holland back, as Blackstock grimly sat third with a good cushion.

That’s how it finished, with the two rivals sharing the front row three tenths apart.

Race One – Lights out and the Birchall Honda flew off the line chased by Ellis/Clement. Lewis Blackstock put his nose between them on the run to turn one, but he was denied second place by a determined Ellis.

These three teams quickly established their place at the front, with Ellis climbing all over the back of the race leaders. The Santander Salt Yamaha had the sidecar wheel across the grass and into the dust on lap two, such was his eagerness to get on terms.

Sadly, on lap three the Santander Salt Yamaha was out of the running with a loose final drive sprocket. This was an unusually rare occurrence, and one which was infinitely better confined to this event, rather than a World Championship round.

That left Ben and Tom Birchall to clear off into the distance compounding their advantage by almost two seconds each lap.

Blackstock and Rosney were never threatened in runner-up spot and once Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz established third, that is where they stayed, Ben Holland/Tom Christie ran strongly early on but were to hit problems and drop right down the order.

There was drama aplenty behind though, with Scott Lawrie/Shelley Smithies taking to the rough stuff with their Yamaha, Andy Peach/Ken Edwards pitting with mechanical problems and Brian Gray shedding passenger Rick Lawrence at the Murrays left-hander.

The most interesting battle raged all race between Phil Bell and John Holden for fourth. Bell and Connell prevailed for a strong finish and best result of the year so far. A recovering Craig Currie/Justin Sharpe backed up Ben Birchalls victory with a strong seventh on their first outing for several weeks.

Result –
1/ Ben/Tom Birchall (Haith Honda)
2/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Service Yamaha)
3/ Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz (Santander Salt Yamaha)
4/ Phil Bell/Jimmy Connell (Marin Motorsport Yamaha)
5/ John Holden/Jason Pitt (Barnes/Silicone Adolf RS Yamaha)
6/ Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde (Hannafin Adolf RS Yamaha)
7/ Craig Currie/Justin Sharpe (Birchall Racing Yamaha)
8/ George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Holden Racing Suzuki)
9/ Kevin Cable/Lee Watson (L&W Contractors Yamaha)
10/ Scott Lawrie/Shelley Smithies (SLR Yamaha)

Race Two – The reverse grid always throws up excitement, and there was some of that on the opening laps. The Birchall brothers started from row five, and Ellis/Clement from the back of the grid. Pole sitter Scott Lawrie and Shelley Smithies had a great start into the lead and held that place until the Birchalls caught them up on lap three. Sadly, Lawrie was to retire close to the end of the race, but he and Shelley Smithies showed what they could do once again. They have had a good season – if a somewhat eventful one.

Ellis/Clement were less fortunate than the Birchalls, getting bogged down in traffic, one of which was Ben Birchalls’ team-mates Craig Currie and Justin Sharpe. Considering his recent confinement with Covid, Craig held up well and was strong until the closing stages claiming eighth at the flag.

The TV cameras focussed on several individual battles, one of which was a really good scrap between Blackstock/Rosney and Biggs/Schmitz. It would be a tough task to get the better of the DHR/Express Tyre Yamaha, but Biggs was determined and stuck to his guns. The result was a second podium, just three tenths ahead of his rival.

John Holden and Jason Pitt had another good solid ride, keeping Phil Bell at bay this time and moving to third in the standings ahead of a fighting Ben Holland. The gap at the front was slightly less than three seconds going into the final lap, but Birchall had enough up his sleeve to bring it home with a safe margin ahead of Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement and a new lap record to boot. Both Birchall and Ellis smashed the record with lap times, just four one hundredths apart. It was therefore a double podium for Santander Salt with Ellis and Biggs all smiles. Despite the two at the front clearing off, the scraps further down the order were entertaining and did the image of sidecar racing no harm at all.

The only other retirement was Andy Peach who took an early bath on lap two.

Result –
1/ Ben/Tom Birchall
2/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
3/ Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz
4/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney
5/ John Holden/Jason Pitt
6/ Phil Bell/Jimmy Connell
7/ Ben Holland/Tom Christie
8/ Craig Currie/Justin Sharpe
9/ Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde
10/ Kevin Cable/Lee Watson

Championship standings
Birchall 315
Blackstock 186
J Holden 138
Holland 135
Biggs 100
Archer 97
Ellis 90
Lawrie 90
G Holden 87
Peach 79
Christie 76
Bell 76

The next round comes from Donington Park 1-3 October.

Photo credits: Jenny “Triker” Wells

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

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

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

Race action

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo credits: Jenny “Triker” Wells

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

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

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

Early laps race two Schlosser leads

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

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

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

Race action

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

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

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

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

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

Croatia podium

Todd and Emmanuelle, Rijeka

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

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

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

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

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

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

Croatia podium

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

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

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

Photo credits: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

British F1: Damp Cadwell Park sees Birchall brothers increase lead

British F1: Damp Cadwell Park sees Birchall brothers increase lead

British F1: Damp Cadwell Park sees Birchall brothers increase lead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Christie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo credits: Jenny “Triker” Wells

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

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

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

Race action from Assen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo credits: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Race action from Cadwell Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo credits: Jenny “Triker” Wells

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