British F1: Watch Molson British Sidecars on Quest live

British F1: Watch Molson British Sidecars on Quest live

British F1: Watch Molson British Sidecars on Quest live

Sidecar action from Brands Hatch

WATCH SIDECARS LIVE ON QUEST. That’s right, the British Sidecar Championship first race from Thruxton will be live on Quest at 17:30 today (Saturday 31st July) as part of the full BSB showing. Make sure to be there or click on that record button to watch the action later.

Photo credits: Jenny “Triker” Wells

British F1: Birchalls prove hard to beat in Kent

British F1: Birchalls prove hard to beat in Kent

British F1: Birchalls prove hard to beat in Kent

Race 2 - Birchall Racing win

A slightly smaller grid than normal due to a World Championship clash with Assen and one or two Covid related absentees, did nothing to detract from the quality of racing at Brands Hatch. The recent heatwave had abated slightly, but free practice was dry and warm, with the Birchall Brothers picking up where they left off at Oulton Park. They were over a second faster at the head, with Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant and the Christie Brothers close together and chasing. John Holden’s machine caught fire, damaging his feet in the process, but the BSB Marshalls did a great job extinguishing the worst of the flames.

Qualifying – The weather had cooled and clouded over for the one and only session. This would suit some and not others, but the Birchalls were on a mission from the word go. The Haith Honda was flying, and they banged in an early time two seconds ahead of the chasing pack.

They were not to be headed, and pole position was theirs for the taking. Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant, along with Sam and Adam Christie looked to be the most likely challengers, and there was nothing to choose between those two crews with ten minutes left on the clock.

Race 1: Philp/Bryant and Christie/Christie

Scott Lawrie/Shelley Smithies looked strong in fourth, as Lewis Blackstock sat in the pits. Three minutes to go and Blackstock had re-joined, moving fourth, with Tommy Philp and the Christie brothers closing the gap to the Birchalls to one and a half seconds. It was shaping up to be a four-horse race, with Scott Lawrie still in with a shout. Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde improved dramatically to record their best qualifying for a while as they claimed sixth fastest nearly four seconds back.

Race One – Race-day finally dawned wet and windy, but with the Saturday race postponed to Sunday lunchtime, conditions were virtually perfect by the time the teams lined up. From a safe pole position, the Birchall brothers fended off an early challenge from Tommy Philp and Tom Bryant before getting their heads down to never really be bothered again. It was a different matter behind though, and a three-way scrap developed between Philp/Bryant, the Christie brothers Sam and Adam, and Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney.

This was shaping up to be something special, and then Blackstock was out with a damaged sidecar wheel-arch, only for Tommy Philp to blow his engine one lap later. Eight laps pass very quickly, but their misfortune played into the hands of Scott Lawrie/Shelley Smithies, who moved into third and a podium place.

So, it was maximum points for Ben and Tom Birchall and an unblemished record thus far in the title chase. They posted a fastest lap less than one second outside their own lap record set in 2017.

Race 1 - Birchall/Birchall

Result
1/ Ben/Tom Birchall (Haith Honda)
2/ Sam/Adam Christie (CES Yamaha)
3/ Scott Lawrie/Shelley Smithies (SLR Suzuki)
4/ Ben Holland/Tom Christie
5/ John Holden/Jason Pitt (Barnes Racing Adolf RS)
6/ Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde (Hannafin Adolf RS)
7/ Andy Peach/Ken Edwards (Life Safety Yamaha)
8/ Phil Bell/James Connell (Marin Motorsport Yamaha)
9/ George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Holden Racing Suzuki)
10/ Simon Gilbert/Paul Thomas (G-Force Racing Adolf RS Yamaha).

Race Two – The reverse grid rule put Simon Gilbert/Paul Thomas on pole, with the Birchalls on row five alongside the Christie brothers. Even worse off were Tommy Philp and Tom Bryant two rows back and last crew on the grid. The first two or three laps were manic, with Phil Bell/Jimmy Connell having a good run at the front once they had made their way past Gilbert. George Holden/Oscar Lawrence were pit-lane starters once again, with loads of work ahead of them.

It took until lap four before the fast men were at the sharp end, but not before Ben Holland/Tom Christie and Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde had made their presence felt. There were five or six outfits ducking and diving at the front, with the Birchalls and Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney also in the mix. Holland and Archer were to continue their fight to the flag, gaining fifth and sixth places for their efforts.

Race 2: Clarke/Ensor, Bichall/Birchall, Blackstock/Rosney, Lawrie/Smithies

Going well from row three, John Holden/Jason Pitt had overcome their earlier Adolf RS bonfire but were spun out when clipped by Gilbert. Then Simon Gilbert was out, followed three laps later by Holden.

But the charge through the field by Philp/Bryant was nothing short of sensational, and they were right at the sharp end by half-distance, challenging Blackstock, the Christies and Ben/Tom Birchall.

Philp meant business, even though by this time the Birchall brothers had a three second lead. Sadly, his day was to be ruined when he and Tom Bryant ended up in the gravel after they spun out. It was double disappointment for the Roberts Construction crew, but with Thruxton just one week away, there would be more chances.

Scott Lawrie is once again worthy of mention as he and Shelley Smithies made steady progress to eventually claim fourth place behind Blackstock/Rosney and the Christie brothers. Double wins for Ben and Tom Birchall assured their unbroken maximum points record.

Race 1: Lawrie/Smithies

Result
1/ Birchall/Birchall
2/ Christie/Christie
3/ Blackstock/Rosney
4/ Lawrie/Smithies
5/ Holland/Christie
6/ Archer/Hyde
7/ Bell/Connell
8/ G.Holden/Lawrence
9/ Peach/Edwards
10/ Clarke/Ensor

Standings
Birchall 100
Christie 76
Lawrie 52
Blackstock 39
J.Holden 35
Archer 33
Peach 32
Holland 32
G.Holden 24
Biggs 21
Clarke 21
Bell 17
Philp 16

Round Three comes from Thruxton July 30/August 1.

Photo credits: Jenny “Triker” Wells

British F1: All eyes on Cadwell Sidecar Revival August 6-8th

British F1: All eyes on Cadwell Sidecar Revival August 6-8th

British F1: All eyes on Cadwell Sidecar Revival August 6-8th

Andy Peach and Ken Edwards

After an enforced year away, the highly successful Cadwell Park Sidecar Revival returns over the weekend of August 6-8th. With all Covid related restrictions lifted, we can expect a strong turnout and a bumper crowd of sidecar and classic racing enthusiasts to descend on the picturesque Lincolnshire venue.

With rounds of the FSRA F2 Championship and the Molson Group F1 series on the race card, there can be no doubt as to the expected level of racing. There are also championship rounds for the FSRA Wintec pre-injection and the thundering Camathias Cup outfits. BMCRC and RKB Club teams and BHR Bears are not forgotten, with races for them also on the programme.

Add to all those, the GP legend two-stroke solos and the DFDS Yamaha Past Masters which made such an impression last time out, plus the historic and classic sidecars, and the array of machinery will be truly spectacular. Negotiations are currently taking place to secure as many former World Champions and other great names from the glory days of our sport.

To that end, we are appealing for all classic and historic racing sidecars to support the event and join us for what we know will be a great weekend. Work continues apace to build the support class entries, and entries can be submitted through the Bemsee entry mechanism (www.bemsee.net) as they are in effect hosting the event on our behalf as before.

Esteemed and legendary commentator Fred Clarke will also be exuding enthusiasm and knowledge over the public address system keeping us all abreast of the main classes.

We are also negotiating with our regular TV production house to produce footage and interviews for the various websites and our YouTube Channel.

Finally, if that’s not enough to wear you out, there will be a live band to dance to with a well-stocked bar to keep you smiling!!

So, if you wish to be part of this spectacle, fettle your modern, classic or historic sidecar and get your entry in.

We’ll see you there.

British F1: Birchalls hold the ace cards heading for Brands Hatch – Round Two 23-25th July

British F1: Birchalls hold the ace cards heading for Brands Hatch – Round Two 23-25th July

British F1: Birchalls hold the ace cards heading for Brands Hatch – Round Two 23-25th July

Ben and Tom Birchall

The 2021 sidecar season is well and truly alive after a stunning opening round at Oulton Park in which Ben and Tom Birchall claimed maximum points on their new Haith/Birchall Racing Honda. Since then, they enjoyed a weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed taking the new bike up the famous hill.

The FIM World Championship is also well underway and there is another round this weekend in Assen. Once again, expect even closer racing on the Brands GP Circuit as a result, because two or three top-flight crews will be absent from Kent as they chase World honours.

Second place in the title chase heading for Brands is another brotherly pair.

Sam and Adam Christie from Beverley (Christie Engineering Services Yamaha) had two podiums in Cheshire and trail the Birchalls by fourteen points. Third place in the standings is TT star John Holden (Barnes Racing), with new passenger Jason Pitt who in turn are just one point clear of gritty Scott Lawrie and his lady passenger Shelley Smithies. Rob Biggs and Jeroen Schmitz ran well at Oulton Park and sit fifth on the Santander Salt Yamaha, with Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney desperate to make amends for a DNF and only one score in Cheshire.

Then there is the usual strong body of crews further down the field, some of whom are Brands Hatch specialists. Watch out for Andy Peach and Ken Edwards in this regard. Young talent comes in the form of Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant, fresh from a fourth-place finish in the recent Donington Park World round, and George Holden/Oscar Lawrence still finding their feet, but looking good.

Other new names who could well feature include former F2 stars Simon Robinson and Mick Fairhurst, who sadly had a race two mechanical problem after a brilliant Oulton opener. New to the scene from the world of two and four wheels, come Craig Currie/Justin Sharp. Tenth place in the standings after round one from your very first effort is decidedly impressive. They run under the Birchall Racing banner, and there is clearly more to come from them.

The world of sidecar racing is getting stronger by the day, and there is huge interest from spectators both trackside and television viewers. The renaissance of the sport is on all levels, and Brands will provide yet more stunning action and colourful entertainment.

British F1: Birchalls lead the way in Cheshire thriller with double top

British F1: Birchalls lead the way in Cheshire thriller with double top

British F1: Birchalls lead the way in Cheshire thriller with double top

#5 Biggs/Schmitz

For the first time in the modern era, the sidecars were treated to two races in the Oulton Park opener. After such a long lay-off, everyone was itching to get going, and the size of the entry reflected that enthusiasm.

A clash with the FIM World Championship in Hungary took three or four top crews out of the equation, but that did nothing to detract from the quality of the on-track action.

Qualifying – Early Friday morning and the sidecars were on track at eight-thirty. Initial times had the Christie brothers  looking strong ahead of Ben and Tom Birchall, with Blackstock/Rosney and Holden/Pitt very much in the hunt.

A red flag and a shortened session due to Phil Bell/James Connell crashing spectacularly, with the Scottish passenger breaking a toe. Simon Gilbert/Paul Thomas also hit problems on the same lap. The stoppage resulted in the Birchalls claiming pole position from Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney and Sam/Adam Christie. These three crews were less than seven tenths of a second apart, with Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant a fine fourth fastest.

Race One – The lights were out, and it was game on as Blackstock/Rosney led the initial charge towards Old Hall, with two sets of brothers climbing all over them. There was a great start by a returning Scott Lawrie with Shelley Smithies alongside. They were to have a terrific race at constant speed displaying all the aggression and flair of the Scott Lawrie we know. That became the pattern of the race at the front with the added attraction of a flying Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant making their intentions clear moving into serious contention. They were to be right in the mix at the front throughout the race with a podium to show for their efforts. The young newcomers have a bright future and they meant to put that on show.

The Birchall brothers had quickly moved to the front, but they were hassled all the way lap after lap. The sight of the multiple TT winners and World Champions back on the long bike, this time Honda powered and carrying several experimental modifications was great to see. Despite numerous challenges from Blackstock/Rosney, several spirited lunges from Philp/Bryant, the ever-present Scott Lawrie, and a calculated attack by the Christie boys, the Mansfield duo raised their game, claimed a new lap record, and took an impressive victory.

Sadly, Lewis Blackstock was to retire the DHR/Express Tyres Yamaha with gremlins on lap six, just as Ben Holland/Tom Christie pitted their Kawasaki with problems of their own. The Christies made the most of the opportunity and consolidated their position.

While all this was going on at the front, there were equally fierce scraps in the chasing pack between John Holden/Jason Pitt and Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz. They were to claim fifth and sixth respectively with George Holden/Oscar Lawrence very impressive ahead of seasoned veterans Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde and Andy Peach/Ken Edwards. Credit must go to newcomers on long bikes Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst and Paul/Tom Kirby who scored points, and total sidecar virgin Craig Currie who with Justin Sharp, brought his Birchall Racing Yamaha home in eleventh place.

Result –
1/ Ben/Tom Birchall (Birchall Racing Honda LCR)
2/ Sam/Adam Christie (Christie Engineering Services Yamaha)
3/ Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant (Roberts Construction/Tops Autos Yamaha)
4/ Scott Lawrie/Shelley Smithies (SLR Suzuki)
5/ John Holden/Jason Pitt (Barnes Racing Adolf RS Yamaha),
6/ Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz (Santander Salt Yamaha)
7/ George Holden/Oscar Lawrence ( Holden Racing Suzuki)
8/ Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde (Hannafin Adolf RS Yamaha)

Race Two – The reverse grid always throws up exciting action, but how Ben and Tom Birchall managed to be in the lead half-way round the opening lap from tenth on the grid defies belief. Even before the race got underway, there was drama and some confusion on the grid. Simon Robinson and Mick Fairhurst had to push their failed outfit onto the grass from pole position. George Holden’s hand was in the air, and he was pushed into pit lane from where he was obliged to start. Tommy Philp used the three minutes grace to remove his fairing and tweak a problem, and all before the lights went out for a reduced ten-lapper.

Once away though, mayhem ruled for half a lap before the quick men worked through the pack. Phil Bell and James Connell were quickly to retire, joining Simon Gilbert and Simon Robinson as spectators. As stated, the Birchalls hit the front half-way round the lap, with Blackstock and Rosney following them through, albeit a few places back. John Holden/Jason Pitt, Sam/Adam Christie and Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz all did a good job fighting through, with Scott Lawrie/Shelley Smithies having another fast, consistent ride.

Mid-race distance and the Birchall Honda moved away, opening a gap which was to be ten seconds at the flag and set yet another lap record in the process. Tommy Philp was to retire two laps from the end, having got really mixed up in the traffic, but the twelve finishers included a strong seventh for Andy Peach/Ken Edwards, solid eighth and important points for Holland/Christie, and an extremely good ride for newcomers Craig Currie/Justin Sharp. Paul/Tom Kirby who entered as wild cards, did themselves proud but took no points. Craig Clarke and Peter Ensor, from being upside down in practice, can also be proud of their two points scoring rides, as they came home in tenth.

Result –
1/ Ben/Tom Birchall
2/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney
3/ Sam/Adam Christie
4/ John Holden/Jason Pitt
5/ Rob Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz
6/ Scott Lawrie/Shelley Smithies
7/ Andy Peach/Ken Edwards,
8/ Ben Holland/Tom Christie
9/ Craig Currie/Justin Sharp,
10/ Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor

Championship standings –
Birchall/Birchall 50
Christie/Christie 36
Holden/Pitt 24
Lawrie/Smithies 23
Biggs/Schmitz 21
Blackstock/Rosney 20
Philp/Bryant 16
Peach/Edwards 16
Archer/Hyde 13
Currie/Sharp 12

The next round comes from Brands Hatch 23-25th July.

British F1: Oulton Park welcomes record entry for round one with two races

British F1: Oulton Park welcomes record entry for round one with two races

British F1: Oulton Park welcomes record entry for round one with two races

Blackstock and Rosney

The 2021 season bursts into life at Oulton Park over the weekend of June 25-27th with a bumper grid, some new names, but with some notable teams missing.

The FIM World Championship in Hungary claims the attention of Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau, reigning British Champion Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood, Kevin Cable and Kyle Masters, and 2019 Champions Todd Ellis/Charlie Richardson. This could well be a case of “when the cat’s away”, but that only makes the excitement and opportunity at Oulton more intense.

With two races on the programme at the spectacular Cheshire circuit, there is much to play for. Heading up the list of protagonists are multiple World Champions and TT winners Ben and Tom Birchall. Their LCR design and manufacturing business tends to keep them at home these days, so they will be gracing the domestic series in 2021. Pressing them for honours, will almost certainly be John Holden and Lewis Blackstock. Both these drivers are regular podium finishers, and Holden has a new passenger this year in the shape of Jason Pitt. He retains the Barnes Racing/Silicone Engineering sponsorship.

Blackstock meanwhile has the tried and tested Paddy Rosney alongside and will be looking to improve on his sixth-place finish last year.

The Christie brothers Sam and Adam get quietly on with the job, and if last year is anything to go by, they will be at the sharp end from the word go. Third place in the title case behind Kershaw and Ellis was no mean feat. Their Christie Engineering Services Yamaha is always well prepared and noticeably quick. The third Christie brother Tom is alongside the sole Kawasaki exponent Ben Holland. Ben is revitalised, as keen as ever, and subject to finances holding up, ready to fight for the title.

Another crew certainly capable of upsetting the applecart is the lone Santander Salt team of Rob Biggs and Jeroen Schmitz. They have the added impetus of Yamaha power and assistance from Express Tyres. They will be sharing the new Santander Salt race-truck with Stock 600 contender Jack Nixon.

Other relatively new names include the young guns Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant and George Holden/Oscar Lawrence. Both these crews will be going for maximum points. F2 star Simon Robinson joins the fray with Mick Fairhurst in the hot seat. This crew will be adapting to a long chassis outfit, so that is another hugely interesting point to look out for.

There is also a complete newcomer to the sidecar ranks. Craig Currie is a former saloon car champion and regular Ducati Tri-Options runner. He knows all there is to know about racing but will now need to apply that track-craft to three wheels. With the experienced Justin Sharp alongside, that job might not be too onerous.

Expect also to see Scott Lawrie strutting his stuff with Shelley Smithies alongside. Other regulars back for more include Andy Peach/Ken Edwards, Phil Bell/James Connell, Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde, and Simon Gilbert/Paul Thomas.

The grid is strong, given there is a clash with an FIM round. There is great strength in depth, and there could be a few surprises in what is bound to be a super weekend to set the ball rolling for 2021.

British F1: Knockhill round two axed due to restrictions

British F1: Knockhill round two axed due to restrictions

British F1: Knockhill round two axed due to restrictions

Knockhill action

Extension to the current levels of restriction by the Scottish Government has brought further complication to the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship.

The Knockhill round scheduled to take place over the weekend of July 9-11th will now become a two-day event (10-11th July) with reduced classes participating. MSV, promoters of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, have had the difficult choice of dropping three of those classes. The British Sidecar Championship traditionally runs a full programme alongside that event, but now there is literally no room on the shortened programme to accommodate the sidecars.

This will be a huge disappointment to the teams, and the sidecar-mad Scottish fans. The Knockhill BSB round is a popular fixture on the calendar, and sidecars a highlight in the Motorsport calendar north of the border.

There are no plans to re-schedule later in the year, due to the hectic calendar for World and British Sidecar teams already in place. The British Sidecar Championship will now be fought over eight rounds, but still with double points available at the Brands finale.

British F1: Two races at Oulton Park to get the season under-way

British F1: Two races at Oulton Park to get the season under-way

British F1: Two races at Oulton Park to get the season under-way

Sidecar racing at Cadwell Park

The weekend of June 25-27 sees Oulton Park host the opening round of 2021 as per the published schedule.

In previous years, the constraints placed on the circuit by reduced track time have meant that the sidecars have been allocated just the one race. This has been unpopular, but also recognised as unavoidable.

Roger Body has been lobbying hard over this particular sticking point and his efforts have finally paid off.

The Oulton Park opener will now feature two sidecar races, thereby getting the season away to a meaningful haul of points for the championship hopefuls. This is due solely to Roger’s efforts and a large degree of cooperation from Stuart Higgs and the MSVR organisation.

It is now over ten years since the premier sidecars became a regular support  class on the British Superbike calendar, and clearly the relationship forged between the two parties has reaped mutual rewards.

The acceptance level of sidecars in the BSB paddock is without question, and it is also recognised that they provide a colourful and entertaining addition to any BSB race weekend.

RKB-F1 paddock presence 2021 season

RKB-F1 paddock presence 2021 season

RKB-F1 paddock presence 2021 season

Santander Salt Molson Group liveried truck

The 2021 Sidecar World Championship season finally takes to the track in Le Mans over the weekend of 11-12 June.

Two weeks later, the Hungaroring hosts the second round, whilst simultaneously, the Molson Group British Championship roars into life at Oulton Park.

It has taken an enormous amount of work and planning by Roger Body and the team to bring these two series to fruition, and the front end of that effort is now clearly visible in the published championship schedules.

Behind the scenes, yet more work has been going on to provide a central paddock facility offering a profile worthy of the series organiser and promoter.

A brand new purpose-built forty-foot race truck and awning has been commissioned and will be not only the paddock base for the Santander Salt Race Team, but also the hub of the event organisation at all FIM World Championship events and those British races which do not clash.

Roger also runs and manages his race own team in Santander Salt colours. The line-up comprised two sidecars and one 600cc Superstock Yamaha.

Heading up the challenge for World honours are 2019 British Champions Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson, ably supported by Rob Biggs and Jeroen Schmitz who have their eyes firmly on British Championship glory.

In the same BSB paddock, yet with one wheel less, will be Jack Nixon fighting for a second season in search of the 600cc Superstock title.

The new truck is prioritised for FIM GP duty but will be a very impressive facility indeed when all riders are at home in the UK paddock. The unit boasts office and catering facilities, sleeping accommodation, a large hospitality area and garage space for the race teams.

Driver and hospitality administrator will be the familiar and amiable Glenn Walsh who has the huge responsibility of maintaining the exacting standards expected at this level.

British F1: Bitterly cold Snetterton banishes winter blues

British F1: Bitterly cold Snetterton banishes winter blues

British F1: Bitterly cold Snetterton banishes winter blues

111-34

The two-day test session organised by Roger Body and RKB-F1 Motorsport at the Snetterton 300 circuit attracted a good following from the Molson Group F1 Championship with fifteen outfits signing on Saturday morning.

There was also a fair gathering of club and classic machinery, whilst the F2 outfits were conspicuously absent.

At around six degrees with a strong breeze, conditions were far from ideal, although by its very nature, many teams shook out the cobwebs of the closed season and came away with positive results.

Saturday morning started dramatically, with Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde tipping the Hannafin outfit on its roof. Because the engine ran for several seconds upside down, Rupert called it a day and cut his losses.

Rob Biggs and Jeroen Schmitz had their Santander Salt Yamaha on its side too but continued to spend valuable track time settling in with the new team.

Robert Biggs and Jeroen Schmitz
Robert Biggs and Jeroen Schmitz

Kevin Cable had the luxury of two passengers available for his L&W Contractors outfit, with Lee Watson making a welcome return to the paddock sharing track time alongside Kyle Masters Kevin’s regular sidekick.

Kev Cable and Lee Watson
Kevin Cable and Lee Watson

The plan is for Lee to slot in should Kyle have issues with work commitments, as this crew intends to take in FIM World rounds as well as those British which do not clash.

Former Champions and World hopefuls Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson were bang on form, looking strong on their Santander Salt bike. The new team livery for Biggs and Ellis is indeed striking. A recent episode at the Val de Vienne test in France saw Ellis upside down as well, so there was another new fairing in evidence at Snetterton.

Todd Ellis
Todd Ellis

Newcomers George Holden and Oscar Lawrence were well pleased with their Saturday outing, appearing to have gained speed and smoothness since their 2020 debut.

George Holden and Oscar Lawrence
George Holden and Oscar Lawrence

Andy Peach and Ken Edwards, ever jovial and consistent, were going well, looking forward to a full season, and happy to be back on the bike.

Unassuming as ever, Sam and Adam Christie simply got on with the job and reeled of many laps. They will be a force once again in whichever Championship they choose to contest.

Serious British contenders Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney were sporting a plain white fairing with the final livery obviously work in progress, with Ben Holland/Tom Christie looking good together. This latter pairing, given the finance and opportunity to compete at all rounds, have the proven ability to run at the front.

Ben Holland and Tom Christie
Ben Holland and Tom Christie

Scott Lawrie was out with Shellie Smithies doing the honours, Simon Gilbert looked consistent and obviously happy to be having a family trip out.

All in all, despite the lack of F2 machinery, those who made the trip were very satisfied with the outcome, with all eyes now on June when proceedings get underway.

Phil Bell and James Connell
Phil Bell and James Connell

Photos courtesy of: Jenny ‘Triker’ Wells

British F1: Snetterton practice 10-11th April kick-starts 2021 season

British F1: Snetterton practice 10-11th April kick-starts 2021 season

British F1: Snetterton practice 10-11th April kick-starts 2021 season

Snetterton Round 6 2019

Once again Roger Body and RKB-F1 Motorsport, ahead of the new season have delivered on a promise made to provide two days of pre-season testing and practice. This will take place at the centrally placed Snetterton 300 circuit. This opportunity is the result of huge effort by Roger with great cooperation on the part of MSV against a difficult backdrop of a COVID affected 2021 schedule.

The weekend of 10-11th April is earmarked for the track-time, with Saturday 10th as an exclusive sidecar booking. Three twenty-minute sessions each hour will cater for F1 national licence holders and F2 national licence holders with the third session for club, classic and others. This will be a full day of sidecar action at an entry cost of £220.00 per team.

Sunday 11th is slightly more restricted in that we will be sharing the track-time with “No Limits Trackdays” who have generously allowed us to participate in their programme. As a result, we are obliged to restrict Sunday participation
to F1 and F2 National licence holders ONLY. The cost for the Sunday is £180.00. Garage rental is available on a “first come/first served” basis with two outfits permitted in each garage at a cost of £70.00 per garage (£35.00 per team). There is exclusive sidecar availability on Saturday, although Sunday will be limited to eight garages.

Because the two days are effectively leased by two separate entities, and there are strict COVID conditions in place, Saturday sidecars will not be allowed to remain in the paddock OR anywhere else overnight. You MUST leave the circuit, and re-join Sunday morning.

Whilst this might seem to be an inconvenience, we have no alternative other than to obey the conditions laid down by the Government guidelines and circuit owners.

As stated, this opportunity has taken no small degree of energy and effort to bring about, so we are asking as many sidecar teams as possible to support the initiative and participate.

Bookings for BOTH DAYS will be online via bemsee.net from Wednesday 24th March CLICK ON RACE ENTRIES at bemsee.net

British F1: Oulton Park opener moved back to late June

British F1: Oulton Park opener moved back to late June

British F1: Oulton Park opener moved back to late June

Brands Hatch 2019

The Bennetts British Superbike Championship celebrates its 25th anniversary season against a challenging backdrop of COVID-19 restrictions and a ban on spectators during 2020.

The current regulations on crowd attendances at non-seated venues are set to be lifted on June 20th, so MSVR has taken the bold decision to postpone the start of the new season until the legions of loyal fans can return in force to support and celebrate a quarter of a century of the series.

Intrinsically linked with this decision, the British Sidecar Championship will also benefit from the returning hordes of spectators.

The traditional Oulton Park season opening race will now move to the first available restriction-free weekend, that being 25-27 June.

The two other rounds scheduled prior to 21 June (Thruxton and Snetterton) have also found new homes later in the season. Round two now finds itself at Knockhill 9-11 July.

All rounds except for the Oulton debut event will each feature two races with the new schedule making for an action-packed if somewhat tight season. First and foremost, the prospect of having spectators returning trackside is the all-important factor and one which will be of huge benefit to the teams.

The revised dates are as follows –

25 – 27 June Oulton Park 1 race
9 – 11 July Knockhill 2 x races
23 – 25 July Brands Hatch GP 2 x races
30 July – 1 August Thruxton 2 x races
6 – 8 August Cadwell Park (ISR) 2 x races
20 – 22 August Cadwell Park 2 x races
3 – 5 September Snetterton 300 2 x races
1 – 3 October Donington Park GP 2 x races
15 -17 October Brands Hatch GP 2 x races
British F1: New talent going for 2021 glory in “Generation Game”

British F1: New talent going for 2021 glory in “Generation Game”

British F1: New talent going for 2021 glory in “Generation Game”

Philp / Bryant

Fresh ground was broken at the end of the 2019 season when a youngster, almost a rookie in fact, beat all the established stars to the British Championship title. Todd Ellis, partnered by the experienced Chaz Richardson set the paddock alight, and made everyone sit up and notice.

It’s a known fact sidecar crews can continue racing at a high level far longer than their solo counterparts, and that has led to the age profile in the paddock tending to be higher. The number of youngsters coming into the sport is small, so when we do get real talent at an early age it is something to be celebrated and promoted. In most cases, the younger element is attracted by family involvement with the youngsters growing up alongside three wheels rather than two.

For 2021, three such riders will be hell-bent on making their reputations and following in the footsteps of Todd Ellis.

Tommy Philp made his full debut last year having dominated the Bemsee Club Championship in 2019 with Jonny Allum as passenger.

Now aged 25, Tommy began at the age of 11 on an Aprilia and quickly got to grips with club racing. 2010 saw him lift the BMCRC MRO Superteen Championship before crossing to the BSB paddock on Motostar and 600cc Superstock machinery. 2014 came, and he took overall victory in the MRO 600 Supersport series on Yamaha, with the Champion of Brands and Snetterton titles going his way the same year.

Three more seasons in the British Supersport paddock at BSB and it was time to move to three wheels. His father Bill was an extremely successful sidecar racer at National and World level and is more involved in Tommy’s sidecar career today than he has ever been.

With Tom Bryant now in the chair, Tommy had a couple of British Championship rides to see out 2019, and the pair then had a promising but interesting 2020. Seventh place at the end of the year with mechanical woes did not reflect their capability, so for 2021, we can expect big things from Tommy Philp and Tom Bryant.

Another youngster stepping up, with less actual track time behind him, but an absolute wealth of sidecar knowledge and experience in his head, is George Holden son of TT winner John Holden. Sidecar racing is in the DNA of the Holden family, and John is a regular front runner not just in the Isle of Man, but at British Championship and Grands Prix events. The experience and advice he will be able to pass to George is immense and will seriously shorten the youngster’s learning curve.

George and Oscar Lawrence

George is 27 years old and only began racing in 2019 on an F2 Windle at Darley Moor, teaming up with nineteen-year-old passenger Oscar Lawrence along the way. They moved to Bemsee events in 2020 on an F1 becoming Champions despite the COVID crisis. A promising toe in the water at the Brands finale rounded out the year, and all eyes then turned to 2021. Passenger Oscar too has strong pedigree, as his father Rick partnered Roger Lovelock to British Championship glory. John Cable and Ian Barnes are the main sponsors of this exciting new pairing who will campaign a Suzuki LCR. This young duo will still be learning the game, but certainly have all the theory and support they need to get quickly on the pace.

No so young, but still only 30 years of age and already well established, is Lee Crawford from Bishop Auckland. He and Scott Hardie made a few cameo appearances last year on their TT spec Suzuki powered F2 outfit and really put the “cat among the pigeons” with victory at Donington Park. The highlight of their season however was a clean sweep at Oliver’s Mount. For 2021 they are committed to the British Championship. They have now invested in an ex-John Holden Kawasaki LCR long chassis so will be on level terms.

Crawford / Hardie

A lifetime of racing karts at the top level gave Lee all the track-craft he needed before following in his father Mike’s footsteps with sidecar outfits. To say that Mike has been influential in Lee’s career would be understating a well-known fact. Lee was there in the race paddock from the age of 8 years and became steeped in the sport. Mike has travelled every step of the way supporting Lee, and in doing so has earning himself a reputation as a passionate and lively member of the paddock.

This is another example of sidecar DNA filtering into the next generation, and Lee Crawford/Scott Hardie will be ones to watch once they master the long bike.

So, the series is in good hands for the future, but how easily will the old guard step aside? Not for a minute methinks, but what a prospect we have before us.

British F1: Three makes of F1 Chassis on the grid in 2021

British F1: Three makes of F1 Chassis on the grid in 2021

British F1: Three makes of F1 Chassis on the grid in 2021

Ryde F1 chassis

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.

 

Avon Tyres back on board for 2021

Avon Tyres back on board for 2021

Avon Tyres back on board for 2021

Avon tyres

RKB-F1 Motorsport is delighted to announce the continued support of Melksham based Avon Tyres for the new season.

The Avon product is the proven tyre for sidecar competition and the brand all competitors understand and trust.

There is a new man at the helm of the sidecar motorsport activity for Avon, as Steve Smith our contact for many seasons has moved across to the motorcycle sales team.

Our regular man in the paddock will be Mathew Clifford on 07925 042537, with operations being overseen by the new main point of contact Adam Randall.

We wish Adam well in his new challenge and thank Avon Tyres for their continued assistance.

Adam’s contact details are as follows.
Adam Randall
Technical Sales & Account Manager – Motorsport
COOPER TIRE & RUBBER COMPANY EUROPE LIMITED
Bath Road, Melksham, Wiltshire, SN12 8AA, UK
Office: +44 (0) 1225 357333
Mobile: +44 (0) 7900054996
Email: arandall@coopertire.com
Website: www.avontyres.com/en-gb/motorsport/

British F1: Test days planned for April

British F1: Test days planned for April

British F1: Test days planned for April

2019 Round 2, Oulton Park

RKB-F1 Motorsport in conjunction with MSV is in the advanced planning stages of a two-day open test programme exclusively for sidecars.

Circuits under consideration will be Snetterton or Donington, and the timing is likely to be mid-April, possibly during the week immediately after Easter.

Cost will be £200.00 per day one twenty-minute session each hour between 9am and 5pm.

In order to assess interest and viability, all sidecar teams, whether they be British Championship, Club level, F1, F2 or Classic, are invited to respond and participate.

This is a golden opportunity to shake down the outfits, dust of the COVID cobwebs, and prepare for what we hope will be a full season of competition.

Crews wishing to participate should express interest to Mike Dommett at mikedommett@hotmail.com

British F1: Oulton Park opener moves back to second May Bank Holiday weekend

British F1: Oulton Park opener moves back to second May Bank Holiday weekend

British F1: Oulton Park opener moves back to second May Bank Holiday weekend

Oulton Park 2020

The Bennetts British Superbike Championship organisers today announced a change to the April test schedule and the date for the opening round at Oulton Park.

This means that the opening round for the British Sidecar Championship is also affected and will now take place over the second May Bank Holiday weekend 29-31 May.

MSVR cite the reasons for the change as wishing to occupy dates traditionally held by the road racing fraternity, thereby removing the wide gap between rounds one and two.

It does mean that Oulton Park and Thruxton are now back-to-back rounds to kick the new season off in style.

All other dates in the provisional calender are unchanged. They remain as per the original schedule.

British F1: Biggs and Schmitz join Santander Salt line-up for 2021

British F1: Biggs and Schmitz join Santander Salt line-up for 2021

British F1: Biggs and Schmitz join Santander Salt line-up for 2021

Biggs and Schmitz

Following the announcement that newly crowned Champions Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood are making their own plans for 2021, comes the exciting news that the Anglo-Dutch pairing of Rob Biggs and Jeroen Schmitz will join the Santander Salt team for the new season.

Often front runners and always consistent, whilst immaculate in their presentation and attitude, the duo caught the eye of Roger Body, for whom professionalism and appearance is a major part of being a complete racer.

2016 saw Rob finish a strong fifth in the title chase with podiums at Knockhill and Brands Hatch with Ben Ransley alongside. Rob and Jeroen have been knocking on the door in subsequent seasons, and with the renewed backing of regular sponsor Ian Hamilton (Express Tyre Service) allied to the Santander Salt connection, chance of even greater success beckons.

The Biggs family is another of those dynasties involving several family members and spanning generations. Its name is also recorded in the annals of sidecar racing folklore, with brother Jamie partnering Steve Abbot to the 2002 FIM Sidecar World Championship.

Rob for his part, has had his share of physical woes, with a slipped disc causing him untold pain and discomfort a couple of seasons ago. With that now apparently sorted, the pair can look forward to a full season in which they plan to contest the British Championship as a priority, whilst taking in a couple of FIM World rounds.

Rob is very upbeat about the season ahead. “Jeroen and I are delighted with this new venture. The Santander Salt awning is the centre of the paddock, and the team has a strong record to live up to. We thank Ian Hamilton for his loyal support, and Roger Body for this opportunity. The rest is now up to us, and we intend to take this chance with both hands”.

For his part, Roger Body had this to say. “I have been watching Rob for a while and believe he will be a great asset to our team. He ticks all the boxes in terms of professionalism, and their riding ability is not in doubt. He has big shoes to fill, but we are one big family with lots of positive attitude. I really welcome them on board”.

British F1: Nine rounds planned for a great 2021 season

British F1: Nine rounds planned for a great 2021 season

British F1: Nine rounds planned for a great 2021 season

The Santander Salt team

Despite the disruption to 2020 caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the new season promises much to look forward to.

The RKB-F1 team has been working flat-out to bring a full season of racing to the table. Plans for the FIM Sidecar World Championship are also well underway and will be announced shortly on the dedicated website.

Now established as a fundamental component of the Bennetts British Superbike calendar, the British Sidecar Championship is once again kicking off its year at Oulton Park over the May Bank Holiday.

The BSB race schedule is later than in previous years, but we all hope that by the time we get to late spring 2021, the situation will be something approaching normal, and spectators will once again be trackside.

Eight rounds are scheduled with BSB, with a ninth taking place at the now familiar Cadwell Sidecar Revival. The date for the Revival is the weekend of 7/8 August, with a test day scheduled for Friday 6th.

Once again, the race format will utilise the reverse grid for race two when deemed safe and appropriate to do so, with the finale carrying double points at Brands Hatch in October.

Dates are subject to all outside factors remaining stable, and therefore must be regarded as provisional –

May 1-3 Oulton Park (one race)
June 4-6 Thruxton
June 18-20 Snetterton
July 9-11 Knockhill
July 23-25 Brands Hatch
August 6-8 Cadwell Revival
August 20-22 Cadwell Park
October 1-3 Donington Park
October 15-17 Brands Hatch

British F1: Double top for Team Santander Salt whilst 2021 beckons and Kershaw moves

British F1: Double top for Team Santander Salt whilst 2021 beckons and Kershaw moves

British F1: Double top for Team Santander Salt whilst 2021 beckons and Kershaw moves

The Santander Salt team

In what was without doubt one of the strangest and shortest seasons in recent years, the Santander Salt Team awning had much to celebrate at close of play at Brands Hatch.

Roger Body’s involvement in the team evolved from his already massive role in the promotion and organisation of the British Sidecar Championship series and proved to be a phenomenally successful venture. A long-held desire to run his own team in Santander Salt colours resulted in the formation of the team three seasons ago with Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, and then newcomer and novice, Todd Ellis/Charlie Richardson. Both crews opted for LCR machinery. A solo element was added with young Jack Nixon in the KTM Cup and Motostar series, and that structure continues until the present day.

The sidecar teams more than delivered their respective promises with Kershaw/Clarke winning the title in 2018, and Ellis/Richardson becoming champions in 2019. The 2020 season could not have ended on a higher note, with Kershaw once again lifting the British Championship, this time with Ryan Charlwood alongside, and Ellis/Richardson taking top honours in the “new for 2020” two-round, four-race International Sidecar Superprix. The winning margin could not have been closer, with Ellis stealing the prize by one slender point from multiple World Champion Tim Reeves (Adolf RS1 Yamaha).

Jack Nixon has progressed and matured, demonstrating winning form in both championships, whilst carrying that experience forward very successfully into the Pirelli National Superstock 600 championship on a Kawasaki, finishing a very creditable sixth overall in his debut season.

For 2021 however, there will be change in the line-up with Kershaw and Charlwood embarking on a new venture running their own team with sights on World Championship honours. The departure of the pair, now with five British titles between them, has the blessing of Roger Body, and is a natural progression now the second title is wrapped up.

Steve said “I have always wanted to run my own team. We are a very close-knit family, and Ryan has slotted into that scene perfectly. Without Roger Body and his support over the past three seasons, none of this would have been possible, and we are eternally grateful to him for all he has done”.

Roger Body for his part, was equally complimentary. “Steve has been a real asset to our colours, and a true professional throughout our relationship. We could not have chosen a better ambassador for Santander Salt, and I wish him all good luck and fortune in the future”.

Both Ellis and Kershaw have eyes on World honours and will now be rivals on both the World and the British stages. Hopefully, the COVID crisis will be behind us and calendars for both series will minimise date clashes. This will enable the cream of Britain to attack all the major meetings. As promoter of both Championships, Roger Body and his RKB-F1 organisation have work to do to ensure that happens.

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