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.