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

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

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

2022 Champions

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

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

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

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

Qualifying

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

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

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

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

Race One

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

First lap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Race one winners - Schlosser/Fries

Result

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

Race Two

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

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

Race two start

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kershaw Charlwood lead Schlosser Fries then Christie brothers

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

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

Top three battle for the lead

Result

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

Final standings

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

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

Championship winners Ellis and Clement

Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement

Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries

Stephen Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood

Photo credit: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

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

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

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

Ellis/Clement, Schlosser/Fries, Kershaw/Charlwood

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo credit: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

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

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

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

Tom Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement with their trophies

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

Qualifying

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

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

Race One

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

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

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

Result

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

Race Two

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

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

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

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

Podium

Result

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

Final Championship standings

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

Ellis & Clement Champions - Santander Salt

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

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

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

Ellis/Clement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ellis and Clement lead Schlosser and Fries

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

Qualifying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Race One

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

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

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

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

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

Result

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

Race Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

Result

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

Championship standings

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

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

Photo credit: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters

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

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

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

Birchalls

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

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

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

Qualifying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Result

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

Race Two

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

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

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

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

Result

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

Standings

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

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

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

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