British F1: Three makes of F1 Chassis on the grid in 2021
Four decades of top-level F1 sidecar racing around the globe have seen one chassis manufacturer dominate.
Such is the level of his engineering prowess and innovation that Louis Christen’s monocoque LCR design stood head and shoulders above anything else available at the time, setting a standard which could only be emulated. In its illustrious history, LCR has won no fewer than thirty-six FIM World Championships. That statistic alone speaks volumes.
There have been other manufacturers present, and indeed the late Terry Windle produced a chassis which claimed five world titles in the hands of George O’Dell, Jock Taylor, Darren Dixon and Steve Abbott. Colin Nicholson’s RCN design also met with approval and was used by several continental teams with varying degrees of success.
A relative newcomer to the scene, the Bavarian Adolf RS1 chassis made an immediate impact in the hands of Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes taking them to the 2019 FIM world championship title. As a result, the Adolf RS design has become accepted as a suitable alternative to LCR with John Holden, Simon Gilbert and Rupert Archer also favouring the marque.
It is fair to say that the LCR design is fundamentally correct and hard to improve on. Therefore, to embark on a totally different concept would serve no purpose other than for the sake of being different. To that end, it is a question of making small but important changes and evolutionary development such as LCR themselves are doing courtesy of Ben and Tom Birchall who handle manufacture and distribution of the brand under the title of LCR-UK.
They are also revolutionising the LCR F2 version using their own vast Isle of Man TT experience in that direction. Now there is another new name to conjure with. Dean Ryde, owner of Billet World and a precision engineer in his own right, has been involved in sidecar racing and chassis and parts manufacture for several years. He has embarked on an ambitious project which sees him tooling up at considerable expense to produce a rival to LCR and Adolf RS. The style is unmistakeably LCR inspired, but he has built in his own tweaks and modifications which will differentiate his design from the other two, and hopefully give a competitive edge.
Dean’s goal is to have his chassis running in the British Championship in the hands of a good team by the end of the season. The first chassis has been commissioned and built for Scottish sidecar enthusiast Boris Stroud who will lend it to Phil Bell for evaluation and testing early in the season with a view to racing it at BSB at some stage.
Nineties racer Chris Wright has also ordered a chassis for himself but is also keen on allowing a top British runner to stretch its legs. Another chassis is being prepared for Dean’s own use and as a test bed for potential customers to try. Several top names have already expressed interest, so it looks like the Ryde F1 has arrived. This is borne out by the first order for Australia, confirming global recognition for the new chassis.
The world of F1 sidecar chassis manufacture has never been livelier and with three brands lining up, interest will certainly be high when the new season gets underway.