Brands Finale sees Kershaw/Charlwood crowned Champions, as Ellis/Richardson lift International Superprix victory
Brands Finale sees Kershaw/Charlwood crowned Champions, as Ellis/Richardson lift International Superprix victory
I was reminded why we do not race beyond October as the weekend dawned on Friday. Cold, damp conditions prevailed, but the mood in the paddock was upbeat and buzzing.
A record entry, including the top three International crews, all former World Champions, were set to do battle for points and big money prizes in the Superprix category.
Meanwhile, the Molson Group regulars were intent on maximising the points opportunity with Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood (Santander Salt Quattro Group Yamaha) within touching distance of the title.
Qualifying – Ambient temperature had plummeted by late afternoon, and with it, any heat the track might have had was vanishing fast. It was important therefore, for early times to count. Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson set a good time early on, and then sat back with only six laps completed. Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau bided their time and circulated steadily before attacking the pole position. Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood went second fastest, with Ellis/Richardson the only team in the 1m.32 sec. bracket.
That is how it stayed for most of the session, with Reeves edging ever closer grabbing second with two minutes left on the clock. Blackstock/Rosney and Streuer/de Haas duked it out for rows two and three, ahead of Pekka Paivarinta/Emmanuelle Clement. Into the final lap with the dying seconds ticking away, Kershaw who had kept his powder dry, played his hand, stealing pole position from his Santander Salt team-mate.
Just one and a half seconds split the top ten on the grid.
Grid – 1/ Kershaw/Charlwood, 2/ Ellis/Richardson, 3/ Reeves/Rousseau, 4/ Blackstock/Rosney, 5/ Streuer/de Haas, 6/ Paivarinta/Clement, 7/ Holden/Lowther, 8/ Philp/Bryant, 9/ Christie/Christie, 10/ Stevens/Allum
Race One – From the lights the championship leaders made the most of their start and led the pack into Paddock Hill Bend from Ellis/Richardson and Reeves Rousseau.
Very quickly, Ellis showed his intent and shot past Kershaw just as Reeves made a similar move. The main threat to Kershaw in this position were the Christie Brothers, but they were in eighth place on the opening lap.
Benny Streuer and Ilse de Haas came next and moved past the series leaders. Kershaw did not panic; he knew that in this position he would do enough, even with double points available in race two.
Tommy Philp and John Holden had a coming together on lap one, as Philp took the outside line at Paddock Hill Bend getting his nose ahead before he turned in. John Holden and Jake Lowther kept the power on hoping to beat Philp into the turn, but it was not to be.
The resultant contact put them both in the gravel trap, with the SBR outfit of Holden/Lowther suffering a severely dented nose. Both were firmly stranded, and it was an early bath for both crews.
Ricky Stevens and Jonny Allum WPS Racing Kawasaki) had a good ride after a race-long scrap with the Christies and a hard charging Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney.
Also in the top ten were a rejuvenated Ben Holland/Tom Christie and the short Suzuki of Lee Crawford/Scott Hardie. On a dry track, against the long bikes, the Barnard Castle pair showed once again they have what it takes to run well at the front. Meanwhile, as Streuer went wide, Kershaw regained third with a watching brief.
Reeves and Ellis were fighting for victory, unaware that a savage blow about to befall the title hopefuls. With one lap remaining, Ryan Charlwood’s hand was in the air signalling a mechanical problem. It appeared to be a cooling issue caused by a faulty battery terminal interrupting water pump flow. Taking nothing for granted, they changed the entire system ahead of race two. It was nothing short of a personal disaster for the Santander Salt/Quattro Yamaha duo, leaving them to do it all over again with a reduced series lead and the prospect of fighting through from the back of the grid.
Race Result – 1/ Reeves/Rousseau (Bonovo Action Yamaha), 2/ Ellis/Richardson (Santander Salt Honda), 3/ Streuer de Haas (Bonovo Action Yamaha), 4/ Blackstock/Rosney (Silicone/Barnes Yamaha), 5/ Stevens/Allum (WPS Racing Kawasaki), 6/ Christie/Christie (CES Yamaha), 7/ Holland/Christie (WPS Racing Kawasaki), 8/ Crawford/Hardie (Team ARC Suzuki), 9/ Peach/Edwards (Lifesafety Motorsport Yamaha), 10/ Bell/Connell (Marin Motorsport Yamaha).
Race Two – With a reverse grid for the top ten, and Kershaw/Charlwood even further down the order, this was going to be a humdinger of a finale.
Add to this the fact that Reeves, Ellis and Streuer were chasing big money for the International Superprix aggregate result, and the air was thick with anticipation.
The drama which unfolded made for a hugely entertaining race. Once more the traditional reverse grid gave Phil Bell and Jimmy Connell the tools for a good job. They flew from the lights chased by Lee Crawford (Team ARC Suzuki) who shot through the middle gap from row two. They almost unbelievably had Todd Ellis and Chaz Richardson for company at the end of the opening lap. Ellis’s Gary Bryan prepared CBR600 Honda was running beautifully, and Ellis was not going to miss a chance like this.
He had gained a huge margin over Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau who simply did not get through the traffic as smoothly as Ellis. Phil Bell proved a hard nut to crack and fought tooth and nail in the top six for the opening laps. Eight times World Champion Reeves was to spend the early part of the race battling through, only to encounter Ricky Stevens and Jonny Allum on lap four. They were flying, but sadly capsized in a big way with six laps completed. It was good to see the green WPS Racing Kawasaki pairings of Stevens/Allum and Holland/Christie so much more in the mix. Both crews are clearly enjoying their racing again.
Tim then met up with former World Champion Benny Streuer and took a lap getting by his team-mate in the Bonovo Action camp. Despite Reeves now being in second position, Ellis was a long way down the road, and that would prove a step too far for the maestro.
Meanwhile, there was a championship to be won for Kershaw/Charlwood, and they were very aware that a safe finish would secure it. By half distance they had done enough, but not content they pushed on, making it to a safe fifth by lap twelve, and an eventual fourth when a red flag signalled the end of proceedings.
Simon Gilbert/Paul Thomas had gone out on lap two, Paivarinta/Clement on lap five, Stevens/Allum crashed on lap seven, George Holden and Oscar Lawrence had a big moment on lap twelve, and Ken Edwards was thrown heavily from Andy Peach’s outfit one lap later. The red flag was to safeguard Edwards who was concussed in the incident and was still on the track. Kershaw/Charlwood were crowned champions, Ellis and Richardson runners-up and Superprix victors, with Sam and Adam Christie rounding out a great season with third overall.
Race Two Result – 1/ Ellis/Richardson, 2/ Reeves/Rousseau, 3/ Streuer/de Haas, 4/ Kershaw/Charlwood (Champions), 5/ Blackstock/Rosney, 6/ Bell Connell,7/ Biggs/Schmitz, 8/ Holland/Christie, 9/ Philp/Bryant, 10/ Crawford/Hardie.
Molson Group Final Standings – Kershaw/Charlwood 193, Ellis/Richardson 170, Christie/Christie 130, Reeves/Rousseau 115, Bell/Sharpe/Connell 103, Blackstock/Rosney 101, Philp/Bryant 92, Stevens/Allum 83, Biggs/Schmitz 78, Holland/Pilmoor-Brady/Christie 60, Holden/Lowther 58, Kirk/Smithies 54.
Santander Salt International Superprix Overall result – Ellis/Richardson 99, Reeves/Rousseau 98, Streuer/de Haas 84, Schlosser/Fries 50, Cable/Masters 50, Archer/Chandler 45, Holden/Lowther 37, Nicholls/Mahl 30, Paivarinta/Clement 21.
NEWSFLASH: Eurosport TV coverage
International Sidecar Superprix by Santander Salt
Week ending the 17th and 18th of October we will see the second of two “Sidecar Superprix” challenge weekends. The first one in Oschersleben, Germany was the “Sidecar Superprix by Bonovo Action”. This one will be the “Sidecar Superprix by Santander Salt”.
This will be at the 2.433 GP circuit of Brands Hatch. These two weekends of sidecar racing have been all down to the hard work and effort by promoters Jurgen Roeder and Roger Body.
In Oschersleben the weekend belonged to the Swiss pairing of Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries, the pair had a faultless two races and went home with a maximum 50 points. Unfortunately, Schlosser and Fries will not be at Brands Hatch. Driver Schlosser has torn ligaments in his knee and has to have this operated on. The team is disappointed not to attend this event.
Also, it has been a very hard year for all types of sport, due to the situation with the COVID pandemic. Because of this a lot of the international teams who would have been coming to Brands Hatch will not be present. This is down to travel restrictions and quarantine rules set out by their countries governments.
With Schlosser and Fries not going to be at Brands the battle will be hot for top honors. The second place team with 36 points is Bennie Streuer and his partner Ilse De Haas, the Dutch pairing will be hoping for a good weekend at Brands Hatch, Streuer a former World Champion has stood on the top spot of the podium at Brands in the past. The team was very fast and smooth in Oschersleben, they will hope for the same this weekend coming.
However, Streuer and De Haas will have to fend off the local, eight times world champion Tim Reeves and his French passenger Kevin Rousseau. Reeves and Rousseau have 33 points, third place in the challenge. Reeves knows this track like the back of his hand, he comes from Tenterden, Kent, just down the road. Rousseau from Le-Mans France, they will be hoping for a trouble free weekend.
Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson, current British sidecar Champions had a great weekend in Germany, even with a, in sidecar terms “a roofing” are coming to Brands Hatch in fourth place with 29 points. Ellis and Richardson will certainly be going for glory; they took third place in the second race at Oschersleben.
Fifth place in the challenge coming to Brands Hatch is the Finish driver Pekka Paivarinta with his French passenger Emmanuelle Clement they have 21 points. Paivarinta himself a five times world champion has had mixed results here at Brands in the past. Again though, the team will certainly be going all out for glory.
Sixth place in the challenge goes to John Holden and Jake Lowther, they have 19 points. Holden and Lowther had a good solid weekend’s racing in Germany, although driver Holden was a little despondent with the results, I think this could have been down to the fact that the team had lonely races, out on their own, but none the less a good
solid weekend for the team.
The next two teams will not be at Brands, Ted and Vincent Peugeot, seventh with 17 points and Josef Sattler and Luca Schmidt, eighth 14 points.
Next up is Kevin Cable and Kyle Masters, they have 13 points in ninth place. Cable and Masters came to Oschersleben with no previous visits to the track. The team worked hard all weekend and their lap times dropped considerably throughout the weekend. They will be hoping that their local knowledge of Brands Hatch will bring them up the point’s board.
The only team left in the “Superprix” challenge that will be present at Brands will be Rupert Archer and Ben Chandler. They had a nightmare weekend, first they had an oil pipe split in qualifying leaving the team to work hard changing an engine, this was only a precautionary decision just in case there was going to be any damage to their engine due to the oil pipe leak. Then disaster in the second “Superprix” race, the team had problems with the safety lanyard causing their machine to cut out bringing them into pit lane for a DNF.
All the other teams contesting the “Sidecar Superprix” challenge with points are international teams and will not be present at Brands Hatch due to the travel constrictions mentioned earlier.
The “Sidecar Superprix by Santander Salt” will be running in conjunction with the “Molson Group British Sidecar Championship” There will be two races a 12 lap race on Saturday and a 14 lap race on Sunday. All the teams will be hoping for fair weather and a good weekends racing.
Copyright text and images Mark ‘Wally’ Walters.
British F1: All eyes on Brands Finale 16-18 October with Kershaw/Charlwood in charge
Typically, the season winds up at the Bennetts British Superbike Championship Finale at Brands Hatch, and typically the entry list is the biggest it has been all season.
The final round includes an International element, with part two of the International Sidecar Superprix lining up with the Molson group regulars.
Those teams who are registered for both competitions, will be eligible for points in both, so expect hectic action throughout.
The Championship arrives in Kent with 2018 Champion Steve Kershaw and his new passenger Ryan Charlwood (himself a double champion) fifty-six points clear of Sam and Adam Christie on their Christie Engineering Services Yamaha. The Beverley based brothers took the decision to focus on the British Championship long before COVID-19 signalled the cancellation of the FIM World Championship.
They will, however, need to produce the ride of a lifetime to hang onto their position, because reigning champions Todd Ellis/Charlie Richardson and Multiple World Champion Tim Reeves are back from Germany where they attacked part one of the Superprix.
The latter pair, despite Kershaw’s handsome lead, still pose a threat for the Quattro Group/Santander Salt teamsters, as double points are up for grabs in the final race of the series. Reeves, however, cannot win the title, as he has scored in just one round with a maximum fifty points from Snetterton. He can, however, be a spoiler for Kershaw if he
takes valuable points from him.
There are seventy-five points available for two victories at Brands, so you can bet several pairs of eyes will be on them.
Ellis trails in third place sixty-one points adrift of his Santander Salt team-mate, so it is a big ask. He and Richardson, along with the Christie brothers, are the only two crews who can potentially steal the title from Kershaw.
Behind the top three, there has been great action from fourth placed Tommy Philp and Tom Bryant. The newcomers on their Roberts Construction/Tops Autos Yamaha were a revelation at Donington park in the previous round taking thirty-eight points away with them. A tooth and nail scrap with Lee Crawford and Scott Hardie in race one saw them narrowly beaten to race victory by Crawford’s rapid Suzuki.
The next four crews are split by a mere fifteen points with Phil Bell/Jimmy Connell leading the charge from Ricky Stevens/Jonny Allum, Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney and their Silicone Barnes Racing buddies John Holden/Jake Lowther.
Then in ninth place it is Robb Biggs/Jeroen Schmitz ahead of Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau. Add to this bevvy of talent a colourful foreign entry, and we have a great spectacle to look forward to.
International Sidecar Superprix by Bonovo Action
Schlosser/Fries supreme in part one of the International Sidecar Superprix – Oschersleben Germany.
In good sunny weather and ideal track conditions, the opening salvos were fired in the German leg of the International Sidecar Superprix at the weekend, with a dominant performance by the Swiss pairing of Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries on their LCR.
Now firmly accustomed to 600cc power, the duo showed an incredible turn of speed, particularly towards the later stages of both races. It is they who carry the main advantage forward into the second leg at Brands Hatch in two weeks.
Race One – Leaders from the lights were Tim Reeves and Kevin Rousseau on their Adolf RS Yamaha chased by similarly mounted Benny Streuer and Ilse de Haas. Streuer is in a rich vein of form again, and he took the fight to Reeves and Rousseau. These two teams set a blistering pace and looked uncatchable early on.
In a strong third were Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson (Santander Salt Honda LCR) having their first taste together of International competition. Behind them came Josef Sattler and Luca Schmidt on another Adolf RS Yamaha with a
determined Schlosser/Fries keeping them company. John Holden/Jake Lowther came next on the Silicone Barnes Racing Adolf RS with Ted and Vincent Peugeot charging hard behind. Pekka Paivarinta/Emmanuelle Clement were making up ground after a torrid start, but the Finn had his work cut out to get with the leaders.
At the front, Streuer was staying in the wheel-tracks of Tim Reeves who by half-distance was already in trouble with his front tyre. He was as determined as ever though, and simply threw everything at staying ahead of the Dutchman. Schlosser capitalised on this scrap, and once by Ellis/Richardson, set after the leading pair. Such was his pace, it was simply a question of when, and as Streuer and Reeves fought their long-standing battle, the Swiss seized the opportunity and shot past the pair of them to grab the lead.
Todd Ellis had become immersed in a huge scrap for fourth with Sattler/Schmidt, only for their rivals to lose a sidecar wheel-arch causing them to pit four laps from the end. This took the pressure off the British pair, who had done well in their debut world-class event. Paivarinta claimed fifth with a happy John Holden not far behind.
Race One Result
3/ Streuer/de Haas,
Race Two – One day later, the weather was still fine, but noticeably cooler as the lights went out ahead of sixteen laps. This time around, Schlosser/Fries, inspired by race one victory took the early lead. Hot on their heels came Ellis/Richardson, with Sattler/Schmidt for company.
The Yamaha LCR of Paivarinta/Clement had a better start this race and sat fourth just ahead of Holden/Lowther and Streuer/de Haas. Next came Tim Reeves and Kevin Rousseau who did not have a good start. They would have to work hard to catch the leading bunch, all of whom were flying. This had all the makings of a great race and did not disappoint. Streuer and Reeves are both masters of making up for lost time through a busy field, and they set about that challenge with typical enthusiasm.
Once past John Holden, Reeves had his eyes on the five teams ahead, and that was his singular focus. Kevin Cable and Kyle Masters were having an exceptionally busy time with Remse/Weschelberger and Kimeswenger/Kolsch until both the latter crews retired with mechanical issues.
This left Cable/Masters in a safe position, and they were to bring it home ninth in their debut overseas foray. Up the sharp end, Schlosser/Fries were away and gone, with Ellis still second, but under real pressure from Benny Streuer who had overhauled Sattler/Schmidt and Pekka Paivarinta/Clement.
Similarly, Reeves/Rousseau were now with these crews and were all over the back of the Finnish multiple World Champion. The persistence of Tim Reeves prevailed, and he was to make his way to fourth, but was unable to go one place better and get the better of Todd Ellis. This was a great race, but a real display by runaway winners Schlosser Fries.
2/ Streuer/de Haas
Aggregate scores are carried forward to the second two-race leg at Brands Hatch with Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries leading the way with maximum points.
Credit and thanks to Mark (Wally) Walters for copy information and images.
British F1: Tricky weather at Donington Park provides thrilling racing, as Kershaw/Charlwood extend lead
British F1: Tricky weather at Donington Park provides thrilling racing, as Kershaw/Charlwood extend lead
The weather felt wintry at this late stage in the season, with Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood (Santander Salt Quattro Group Yamaha) needing to keep out of trouble and score solid points. There were three F2 outfits also joining in the fun, and these were to add huge colour and flavour to the proceedings.
Qualifying – The timed session late on Friday afternoon proved to be extremely interesting, everyone sensing there were big opportunities to be had with a good grid slot.
Ben and Tom Birchall after recording just a couple of free laps earlier, hit problems and did not make it out, so it was an early bath for them. The championship leaders were somewhat eclipsed to fifth fastest, with pole position going to the F2 Suzuki of Lee Crawford and Scott Hardie. This crew are in a rich vein of form currently, having had two good finishes at Knockhill, and four victories at the recent Oliver’s Mount meeting. Second fastest and delighted to be on the front row were Ben Holland and Tom Christie. Row two comprised an impressive Tommy Philp and Tom Bryant, alongside another short F2 of Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley.
Race One – From the lights, the pole men made no mistake, taking Tommy Philp with them into Redgate. Track conditions were slippery, and Crawford/Hardie revelled in them. The bellowing Suzuki was both fast and nimble, with the long outfits unable to make best use of their superior cornering ability.
Tommy Philp and Tom Bryant never let the leaders out of their sights and were in touch throughout, making several attempts to get past. It was truly thrilling at the front as the pair scrapped it out. Championship leaders Kershaw/Charlwood were in the mix further back, seemingly unable to make ground in the way they would like.
A rejuvenated Ben Holland, now with Tom Christie alongside, was having a brilliant ride fighting his own battle with the very experienced Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley. The Kawasaki of Holland was to eventually claim the final step on the podium, proclaiming to the rest of the field that Ben Holland is back.
Kershaw and Phill Bell/Jimmy Connell were also having their own scrap, with Kershaw doing enough to keep a respectable score in the absence of rivals Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson. The latter pair were in Germany chasing Superprix honours but will be returning for the Brands finale.
Sam and Adam Christie were also mid-pack and fighting through, but track conditions were not easy, so caution was the watchword for everyone. Everyone that is except Crawford and Philp who were at it hammer and tongs up front.
Into the final couple of turns and Philp took the lead at the Melbourne hairpin, only for Lee Crawford to grab victory on the sprint to the line. This was a great example of long bike versus short bike with very impressive results.
1/ Lee Crawford/Scott Hardie (ARC Suzuki)
2/ Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant (Roberts Construction/Tops Autos Yamaha)
3/ Ben Holland/Tom Christie (Massingberd Mundy Kawasaki)
4/ Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley (Team Founds LCR)
5/ Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro/Santander Salt Yamaha)
6/ Phil Bell/Jimmy Connell (Marin Motorsports Yamaha)
7/ Sam/Adam Christie (Christie Engineering Services Yamaha)
8/ Simon Gilbert /Paul Thomas (Draper Racing Adolf RS1 Yamaha)
9/ Andy Peach/Ken Edwards (Life Safety Yamaha)
10/ Brian Gray/Kenny Cole (Yamaha).
Race Two – Late in the afternoon the track was dry, and the sun was out. This would be different scenario, and with the top ten reversed on the grid, veteran Brian Gray sat on pole and made the best of it. The High Wycombe motorcycle dealer had recently celebrated his seventieth birthday, but he was to show he had lost absolutely none of his commitment and ability. He was born on the same date as Barry Sheene, hence the number seven he carried most of his career. Alongside him were Andy Peach/Ken Edwards, so these were two vastly experienced crews who would be hard to pass.
Kershaw/Charlwood flew through from row three and once past Brian Gray, never looked back. Behind them though, the entire pack had one of the most frantic and spectacular battles witnessed in modern times. No fewer than ten outfits were dicing for the same bit of tarmac lap after lap, and the picture changed every few yards.
Slowly but surely teams fought through, with Brian Gray stubbornly holding his own and refusing to give ground easily. Up front with them was the F2 outfit of Founds/Walmsley, giving a good account of themselves in fast company on long bikes.
One by one the fast men made it through, with the Christie Brothers breaking clear into second place. Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney took the Silicone Barnes Yamaha into third, making up for a race one retirement.
Tommy Philp’s progress was hampered this time around, and after locking horns with Phil Bell for several laps he broke free into fourth with Blackstock still in sight. After running very strongly all race in third and fourth place, swapping and fighting all the time, Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley were to retire on the final lap. Theirs had been a performance to equal that of Crawford in race one, and it was heart-breaking to see them go out. Rob Biggs and Jeroen Schmitz had a fine ride chasing down Phil Bell at the end, with Crawford/Hardie following them home in seventh.
8/ Martin Kirk/Shelley Smithies (MK Racing Yamaha)
The final round comes from Brands Hatch 16th-18th October.
British F1: Kershaw and Charlwood take Championship lead to Donington Park 2-4th October
Despite the International Sidecar Superprix taking place over the same weekend as Donington Park, the series leaders have opted to consolidate their slender twenty-point lead, and race in round four.
The lure of a high profile International event with big prize money has attracted five crews from the UK, but there will be a full grid at Donington Park to give Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood a run for their money on the Santander Salt/Quattro Yamaha.
Most likely to be in the mix at the front will be Ben and Tom Birchall on their very rapid Honda CBR600 short chassis which is bristling with innovation, and something of a prototype machine maintaining the technological edge of LCR F2 outfits.
Ricky Stevens and Jonny Allum have been on the podium four times in the last two rounds and must now be aiming to put their Kawasaki on the top step. The newly inspired Stevens, despite sponsorship woes, has shown he still has what it takes to regain the Championship he twice won.
The Beverley based Christie brothers Sam and Adam sit third in the table, and with Todd Ellis/Charlie Richardson away in Germany could easily move into second place. The same is true of Ricky Stevens, who trails the Christie boys by just ten points.
Never has there been such an opportunity for teams to capitalise, as reigning champions Ellis/Richardson, Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau and John Holden/Jake Lowther are among the crews absent from Donington Park.
Other big winners at Donington are likely to be Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney, Phil Bell/Jimmy Connell and Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant. All these crews can earn big points in the two races on the programme and significantly shake up the table. It really is a situation of “when the cat’s away”, so expect to see colourful and dramatic action over the weekend.
The final round takes place at Brands Hatch two weeks later, with the second part of the International Sidecar Superprix running concurrently, and double points at stake in the second and final race of the season.
British F1: Kershaw/Charlwood double secures the Jock Taylor Trophy at Knockhill
Round two at Snetterton now seems a hundred years ago in this strange season. At Knockhill courtesy of a non-BSB round, the action on track showed that the crews were all very much up for it, bringing the true flavour of sidecar racing back to the home of former World Champion the late Jock Taylor. The trophy commemorating the great man was the award up for grabs at this event.
Four practice sessions on Saturday in clear, crisp conditions gave the strong field plenty of track time ahead of the two championship races on Sunday. Early signs were good for the reigning champions Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson, who headed the field on the Santander Salt Honda from John Holden and Jake Lowther.
Lee Crawford and Scott Hardie were noticeably quick on their Suzuki LCR, slotting in around fifth fastest. Rob Biggs and Jeroen Schmitz also showed great Knockhill pace, just as they did on previous visits.
Qualifying – The timed session on Sunday took place on cool track conditions undercloudy skies. The track was slightly damp, but t he weather was set fair, so a dry track would make life easier for everyone. Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood were fast on the Santander Salt Quattro Yamaha, putting in consistently quick times.
They were headed home however by team-mates Ellis and Richardson and SBR Racing’s Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney. Those two crews made up the front row. Ricky Stevens/Jonny Allum and the Christie Brothers were two other teams also in the mix at the front, both looking for podiums on the day.
Race One – From the lights the pack streamed off down Duffus Dip, with a great start by Ellis/Richardson carrying them into the early lead chased by Blackstock/Rosney.
Kershaw/Charlwood took three laps to get by and into second place before setting off after the current champion. Lap six and the gap was down to under one second, so the fight was on for the lead. Blackstock still held third with Stevens/Charlwood and Holland/Tom Christie breathing down their necks.
Lap eight and the former champion was in front on home soil. This was the track where Kershaw had a massive crash at the end of the 2015 season, but it holds no fears for him.
Half-distance and Ricky Stevens/Jonny Allum were third, with Sam and Adam Christie up to fourth ahead of John Holden/Jake Lowther and the rapid Suzuki of Lee Crawford/Scott Hardie. Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant came next and looked very much like taking the place from Crawford. Next lap that was the case. Blackstock and Rosney were out on lap ten, so it was a zero score for them.
Into the closing stages, Kershaw never looked like slipping up, and with almost a one second lead, he and Ryan Charlwood took all twenty-five points.
Race Result –
1/ Kershaw/Charlwood (Santander Salt/Quattro Yamaha)
2/ Ellis/Richardson (Santander Salt Honda)
3/ Stevens/Charlwood (WPS Racing Kawasaki)
4/ Christie/Christie (CES Yamaha)
5/ Holden/Lowther (SBR Kawasaki)
6/ Philp/Bryant (Roberts Tools Yamaha)
7/ Crawford/Hardie (Suzuki LCR)
8/ Kirk/Smithies (MK Yamaha)
9/ Biggs/Schmitz (LCR Yamaha)
10/ Bell/Sharpe (Marin Motorsport Yamaha).
Race Two – could Todd Ellis turn the tables this time around? Well, all was about to be revealed. Out went the lights and the charge was on with Kershaw/Charlwood getting the verdict on lap one. Ellis/Richardson stayed in touch and was on his case, with Stevens/Allum third.
Their Kawasaki team-mates Ben Holland/Tom Christie had a flyer and sat fourth on lap four. One lap later and John Holden squeezed the SBR Kawasaki past them to claim fourth.
The Christie brothers were attacking, but Holland kept the pressure on to hold the place.
Meanwhile, the gap at the front was next to nothing, as Ellis/Richardson set about catching the leader. Kershaw responded, and had pulled a slight gap at half distance as Tommy Philp/Tom Bryant closed in on Lee Crawford/Scott Hardie for seventh place. With four laps to go, the pair of Santander Salt bikes at the front were formation flying, some ten seconds ahead of Stevens and Holden, the latter rider looking for a much- needed podium.
On the final lap it was incredibly close at the front. All Kershaw needed to do was keep his cool. That he did, giving him double victory and a twenty-point series lead.
Race Result –
Standings – Kershaw 120, Ellis 100, Christie 74, Stevens 64, Holden 58, Reeves 50, Bell 49, Blackstock 43, Philp 38, Biggs 34, Cable 31, Birchall 30.
The next round comes from Donington Park 2-4th October.
British F1: Kershaw/Charlwood lead the charge to Knockhill 18-20 September
Knockhill hosts round three of the Molson Group British Sidecar Championship as it welcomes the cream of British talent north of the border over the weekend of 18-20 September. The second of our “non-BSB” rounds will give the sidecars star billing in front of what is always an enthusiastic crowd of fans and supporters.
Lauder’s Steve Kershaw and his new passenger Ryan Charlwood have a slender ten-point lead in the standings after a mixed round two at Snetterton in Norfolk last month.
They are pressed hard in the table by their young team-mate in the Santander Salt camp Todd Ellis, who with regular passenger Charlie Richardson on their Gary Bryan prepared Honda CBR600, gave eight times world champion Tim Reeves a terrific fight at Snetterton. These three crews are bound to resume that battle in Fife, with only twenty points splitting the trio, this round being the mid-point of the truncated season.
Tim Reeves and his new French passenger (who will be seeing Knockhill for the very first time) burst into the series in Norfolk with double victory and immediate title contention. Unlike most of the field, they race a German built Adolf RS1 chassis, but with the popular Yamaha R6 power unit.
Whilst most other crews favour the long LCR chassis, Ben and Tom Birchall, who now have the concession and manufacturing rights for LCR, are pioneering and developing a short “TT style” F2 outfit with a very rapid Honda powerplant. Their relationship with Honda goes back many seasons, and it is their favoured choice of engine for the short bike and particularly the road circuits. To that end, the Knockhill track will be a valuable source of feedback and information, whilst giving them a real chance to be in the mix.
The field in Scotland has strength in depth and sees former double champion Ricky Stevens paired up with the experienced Jonny Allum for Kawasaki, whilst sharing his garage with Ben Holland and Jed Pilmoor-Brady. The Southerners sit seventh in the title chase after missing the Cadwell Park opener. Ahead of them is a close race between fourth placed Sam and Adam Christie on the CES Yamaha and Silicone Barnes Racing’s Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney and John Holden/Jake Lowther. Both the latter crews have dropped points with one DNF each, so the ever-consistent Christies have reaped the reward.
Then comes Phil Bell partnered by Dunfermline’s Jimmy Connell ahead of Ben and Tom Birchall, with Rob Biggs and Dutch passenger Jeroen Schmitz rounding out the top ten. We will witness a full grid on this spectacular hillside track which always lends itself to terrific sidecar action.
International Sidecar Superprix to round out 2020
Against a difficult and ever-changing backdrop, and a determination not to allow the COVID-19 pandemic to emerge the winner in 2020, a last-minute deal has given a lifeline to a meaningful and exciting International event to round off the season in style.
A concerted effort between the RKB-F1 Motorsport/Santander Salt, MSVR and a major German commercial partner, has resulted in a two-round, four-race International Sidecar Superprix to run in Germany and the UK.
The popular Oschersleben track, always a favourite with the teams, will host the opener over the weekend of 2-4th October, with the climax two weeks later at Brands Hatch October 16-18th.
Named “The Bonovo Cup”, the German leg presents an unavoidable clash with the penultimate Molson Group British round at Donington Park, so for some teams there will be a difficult choice to make. That fact alone, however, will add spice to both series and maybe give less prominent teams a greater crack at the British points.
The finale will be named “The Santander Salt Cup”, and in keeping with our tradition at the Brands Hatch BSB season closer, double points will apply but this time around, only on the FINAL race for both the International Superprix and British series.
Four races each of twenty-five minutes minimum will decide the outcome, with a generous prize fund of 15,000 Euros up for grabs in each leg of the Superprix competition. This is a real incentive for teams to enter and commit to both rounds.
It is therefore anticipated that the very best sidecar crews will support the event, thus giving us sight and sound of world-class sidecar racing in 2020. That is certainly something we thought would not happen this year.
Entry detail for Oschersleben can be found here www.batc.de
British F1: Windy Snetterton shows the very best of British
Round two at Snetterton attracted the absolute cream of Britain’s sidecar talent, and that was borne out by the action on track. An added challenge came in the shape of storm Ellen which brought gale-force winds howling around throughout Friday and Saturday.
Despite the difficult conditions, qualifying resulted in pole position going to the existing 600cc lap record holders Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson.
They were close to their own lap record speed on their Santander Salt Honda to claim the place ahead of current and eight times World Champion Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau.
Series leaders Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood sat on row two alongside a delighted Ricky Stevens/Jonny Allum, who missed the Cadwell Park opener.
1/ Todd Ellis/Charlie Richardson (Santander Salt GBR Honda)
2/ Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau (Bonovo Action RS1 Yamaha)
3/ Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Santander Salt/Quattro Yamaha)
4/ Ricky Stevens/Jonny Allum (WPS Kawasaki)
5/ Sam Christie/Adam Christie (CES Yamaha)
6/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney SBR Yamaha).
Race One –
The announcement that Tim Reeves had registered as a permanent member of the series gave added impetus and spice to what happened next. From pole position, Ellis and Richardson took the lead into Riches, with Kershaw/Charlwood making a serious play to pass Reeves/Rousseau up the hill to Riches bend. The World Champion held second, with Stevens/Allum dropping into fourth behind Kershaw.
Next came Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney chased hard by Sam and Adam Christie, from John Holden and Andy Peach.
The battle at the front raged for two laps with all three outfits ducking and diving to gain the advantage. Tim Reeves took his chance at turn two and swept through under braking to relegate Ellis. Kershaw and Charlwood kept a watching brief as the cat and mouse game unfolded at the front. On lap six, with his Honda absolutely flying, Ellis dived through to reclaim the lead setting a new lap record in the process, only for Reeves to get alongside moments later. The speed of Ellis’s CBR 600 was every bit as impressive as the Yamaha of the World Champion and that can be solely attributed to Gary Bryan’s preparation skills. They set a new record on this astonishing lap as they once again headed the pack.
Reeves was having none of however and made a clean move into turn one on the inside line. Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson were not about to back off and kept it nailed, spinning out as a result. The outfit was upended without injury to either man, but out came the red flag signalling a result at the completion of five laps.
Kershaw’s patience was rewarded with second place and a thrilled Ricky Stevens gave new passenger Jonny Allum his first British Championship podium.
The Christie brothers had much earlier overcome Blackstock and Rosney to claim fourth at the flag. Ben and Tom Birchall were once again out on the short chassis F2 bike which was outmatched for corner speed but rewarding for them in terms of a seventh-place finish and development lessons learned.
Race Result –
Race Two –
The reversed grid rule always makes life interesting, and Kevin Cable/Kyle Masters, from pole position ran very well for the opening lap with Phil Bell and Andy Peach also getting good starts. The Birchall brothers were well in the mix into turn two, as the faster men from rows four (Kershaw), five (Reeves) and seven (Ellis) began to force through.
Sam and Adam Christie were again strong, and led on lap two, with Tim Reeves already up to second place. Todd Ellis had gone with him, and a dramatic move by Reeves on the Christies at the end of that lap saw both Reeves and Ellis shoot through to resume battle at the front.
Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood fared less well, and after a torrid five laps fighting through, retired with gremlins. Such was their championship lead however, they stayed top of the table at the close of play.
The scrap at the front was one of the best sidecar races we have seen for a long while, with the young pretender locking horns with the best in the world and showing his class.
Reeves led for four laps until lap seven when Ellis made a stunning pass, setting another lap record on his way Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood also made excellent progress and with two laps remaining, clinched the final podium spot from the Christie brothers.
But the last and final lap must go down in history as one of the most dramatic. Tim Reeves regained the lead at his favourite place and then it was game on all the way to the flag. The two outfits were neck and neck, ducking and diving, bobbing and weaving bend after bend, with the World Champion emerging successful, but fully aware he had almost met his match.
Mention must be made of a great ride through to seventh place for newcomers Tommy Philp and Tom Bryant from the back of the grid. Ben and Tom Birchall had another sound ride on the short bike, finishing sixth behind ever consistent John Holden and Jake Lowther.
Race Result –
9/ Bell Connell
The next round comes from the Knockhill circuit 19/20 September.
British F1: Multiple World Champion Tim Reeves enters Snetterton
A very welcome addition to the ranks of round two at Snetterton comes in the form of Tim Reeves partnered by twenty-seven-year-old Frenchman Kevin Rousseau.
A rare British series appearance for the eight times World Champion comes at a time when all sport is hungry for action, and the 2020 World Sidecar championship has yet to get started.
Hot on the heels of the announcement that Ricky Stevens and Ben Holland are returning, plus the already confirmed entry by Ben and Tom Birchall, means that there is absolutely the cream of Britain lining up at Snetterton.
With live Eurosport coverage over the weekend, this is a feast of sidecar racing not to be missed by the television audience.
British F1: WPS Racing Kawasaki teamsters join the Snetterton line-up
Against a backdrop of financial uncertainty which kept them out of the opening Cadwell Park round, the two outfits of Ricky Stevens and Ben Holland will line up on the grid at Snetterton.
With such a short season, it is vital for them to make an entrance now to get up to speed with the rest of the pack.
Former double champion Stevens is paired up with Jonny Allum the man who partnered Tommy Philp to the Bemsee Club title, so is therefore assured of good service from the sidecar.
Likewise, the vastly experienced Ben Holland is keen to get to grips with his new sidekick, long-time friend and familiar face around the paddock Jed Pilmoor-Brady.
Both crews are hoping against hope that the problems surrounding their abortive start to the season are now resolved, and they can pitch a full-scale onslaught at the title.
Scott Lawrie has withdrawn his entry so will be a non-starter, but twenty outfits make for a good and colourful grid, with the two latest additions expected to be right at the front.
British F1: Snetterton 300 circuit welcomes round two 21-23 August
Finally, the wait to re-join the BSB paddock is over for the Molson Group British Sidecar Championship. Round two takes us to one of the most popular and sidecar friendly tracks on the BSB tour.
The Snetterton 300 circuit has plenty of wide-open spaces to observe social distancing, and a super-fast race environment which always delivers great on-track action.
With a truncated five round, ten race season now fixed, there will be no room for error. The opener at Cadwell Park is already behind us, with scores firmly on the board for all the top runners.
Two weeks ago, in Lincolnshire, former champions Steve Kershaw, now with new passenger Ryan Charlwood (Santander Salt/Quattro Yamaha), took double victory ahead of his team-mates and reigning champions Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson (Santander Salt Honda).
Third in the new title chase heading for Norfolk is the SBR Yamaha duo of Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney. They showed they are more than capable of running at the front, so expect them to do more of the same at Snetterton.
High profile non-starters in round one included Ricky Stevens/Johnny Allum and Ben Holland/Jed Pilmoor-Brady. They run in the same Kawasaki team, with financial and sponsorship issues already blighting their new season. There is no sign of an imminent return for the luckless southerners, so they are unlikely to appear next weekend.
Chris Walker and Ashley Hawes recorded a zero in Lincolnshire with a blown engine and will certainly be hoping for a bagful of points alongside the A11. They have a lot of catching up to do, but The Stalker has the speed as we have seen on many occasions.
Sam and Adam Christie (CES Yamaha) sit fourth in the standings, ahead of Phil Bell and Justin Sharpe (Marin Motorsport Yamaha). Ben and Tom Birchall unveiled their new short chassis F2 Honda LCR two weeks ago, treating Cadwell Park as a shakedown. It will be interesting to see if they stay with the short bike next weekend or revert to the tried and tested long LCR given the fast nature of Snetterton’s many bends. It is their intention to contest all five rounds in 2020, so they will almost certainly be in the hunt at the season end.
Making a first appearance this year are Shrewsbury’s Rupert Archer paired up with Ben Chandler, and Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley with their short chassis Suzuki.
John Holden and Jake Lowther also need to make up for a zero in race one at Cadwell and have a good record at Snetterton. The tough Holden is podium material as we have seen in the past.
With around twenty crews entered as we go to press, expect a colourful blend of speed and first-class entertainment with live Eurosport TV coverage exposing the action to its large audience.
British F1: Cadwell Park delivers great opener as Kershaw/Charlwood maximise
The Cadwell Park circuit hosted a Bemsee Club meeting with the opening British F1 Sidecar round as a central feature. Friday was an open test day, and everyone took advantage of the opportunity to get back in the groove.
Everyone that is, except Ricky Stevens and Ben Holland, who’s high profile official Kawasaki team ran into financial difficulties in the final week leading up. They were not on the grid, and it is unsure as to what the future holds for the two crews.
Another team in trouble were Chris Walker and Ashley Hawes who blew their one and only TAG Racing Yamaha engine in the early session. They took no further part in events.
Qualifying saw strong performances from the Santander Salt outfits of current and former Champions Todd Ellis/Charlie Richardson and Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood.
The Christie brothers Sam and Adam, along with Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney also signalled their intention to have a good weekend.
Ben and Tom Birchall were out on their TT short outfit but with a standard tune engine, featuring many mods and innovations. One of these was a countershaft within the swinging arm pivot, enabling constant chain tension of the final drive chain, with a short primary chain carrying the drive to the countershaft.
Qualifying resulted in Kershaw and Ellis sharing the front row, with Blackstock/Rosney and the Christie Brothers making up row two. Veteran John Holden lined up alongside “new kid on the block” Tommy Philp with Tom Bryant in the hot seat.
In extremely hot conditions the pack streaked away and up the hill. Blackstock and Rosney got a flier and were quickly immersed in a scrap with the pole men Kershaw/Charlwood.
They stole a march and took the lead, with Ellis then making a play on Kershaw. Ellis and Richardson stuck to the task, and using their Cadwell knowledge to the full, passed Kershaw before taking the lead from Blackstock/Rosney. They looked on target for victory, but it was not to be.
Each of these three crews had their turn at the front, and were circulating in close formation, with Kershaw eventually opening a good lead.
The battle then raged for the remainder of the race between Blackstock and Ellis, with the reigning champions holding onto the runner-up spot by a couple of seconds at the flag.
Sam and Adam Christie were immaculate throughout in fourth, with a battling John Holden retiring at two thirds distance from fifth.
This promoted Ben and Tom Birchall who were happy with their new F2 Honda LCR. The bike had bedded in nicely to reward them with a strong finish.
Phil Bell and Justin Sharpe had an excellent race scoring valuable points. They were to come home in sixth place and a good start to the season.
Not so lucky, with yet another Cadwell dramatic moment, were Martin Kirk and Shelley Smithies. They launched towards the sky ahead of Phil Bell emerging shocked and surprised, albeit with a damaged fairing.
So that’s how they finished, Kershaw’s debut victory with Ryan Charlwood, team-mates Ellis and Richardson in second, with the SBR pairing of Blackstock and Rosney completing the podium.
1/ Kershaw/Charlwood (Santander Salt/Quattro Yamaha)
2/ Ellis/Richardson (Santander Salt Honda)
3/ Blackstock/Rosney (SBR Yamaha)
4/ Christie/Christie ( CES Yamaha)
5/ Birchall/Birchall (Honda LCR)
6/ Bell/Sharpe (Marin Motorsport Yamaha)
7/ Crawford/Hardie (ARC Suzuki)
8/ Biggs/Schmitz (Express Tyres Yamaha)
9/ Cable/Masters (L&W Yamaha)
10/ Clarke/Anderson (City Lifting Windle)
An astonishing drop in temperature and cold, damp track conditions greeted the early birds on Sunday. By the time the race left the line the track was dry, and Kershaw made no mistake from the line this time. He shot away and was never headed despite Todd Ellis’s best efforts later in the race.
Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney once again jumped from third on the grid into second place as they overtook Ellis and Richardson on the run up to Coppice.
John Holden and Jake Lowther were solid in fourth throughout, as Ben and Tom Birchall sat comfortably fifth before pitting to discuss some mechanical issue.Their weekend had been a valuable test session promising much more to come.
Sam and Adam Christie now were fifth and set about catching John Holden in determined fashion. This battle went all the way to the lights, with Holden making up for his race one retirement claiming fourth place.
A good second outing by Tommy Philp and Tom Bryant saw them finish behind the Christies. This went some way towards compensating them for a race one zero score.
So, it was a repeat one-two for the Santander Salt team-mates, with Kershaw heading home to the borders with maximum points.
Blackstock and Rosney matched their first race performance getting the SBR team off to a strong start.
Round Two comes from British Superbikes Snetterton 21-23 August.