British F1 Sidecar Championship News

Round 8 - British F1 Sidecar season ends with hat-trick for Reeves

The 2011 British F1 Sidecar Championship ended on a soggy note at the weekend as whilst most of the UK was basking in glorious sunshine and 30 degrees heat, the Mondello Park circuit in Southern Ireland was hit by torrential rain. But that didn't detract from the racing, which was some of the best seen all season, nor did it stop the recently-crowned Champions, Tim Reeves and Gregory Cluze, wrapping up the season with a superb hat-trick. The pairing were in invincible form to further ram home their domination of the 8-round series.

Having qualified comfortably on pole, Reeves and Cluze were firmly aiming at converting that into race wins but there was drama at the start of Saturday's opening race when their arch-rivals, Ben and Tom Birchall disappeared into the gravel trap at the first corner of the first lap - with all the rain that had fallen, and with slight damage to the outfit, they were unable to continue and their race was sadly run. That mattered little to Reeves at the head of the field though and, initially under pressure from Ben Holland/Lee Watson, the Kent driver soon began to edge away and was able to control the race accordingly.

Holland, having his best drive of the season, was equally secure in second, but the final podium position was wide open as Roger Lovelock/Rick Lawrence, John Clarke/Stuart Graham, Phil Bell/Phil Hyde, Andy Peach/Charlie Richardson and Ben Bygrave/Paul Knapton kept the sodden crowd on the edge of their seats. There was little to choose between the quintet during the 8 laps but they crossed the line in that order with Lovelock able to hold on to third by just under a second from Clarke. Further back, Scott Lawrie/James Neave saw their chances of finishing 2nd overall slip further away as they finished back in eighth. Birchall's misdemeanour meant he had to start the first race on Sunday from the back of the grid, difficult at the best of times but even more so in the wet, but Reeves was unconcerned about that and on a mission to make it win number 2. This time though he had to work a lot harder for the win as Lovelock led for the first part of the race. With visibility continuing to be a problem, Reeves bided his time and once the tyres were up to temperature he made his move and eventually took the victory by 4.8s. Holland was agin revelling in the conditions to take third whilst Lawrie improved to fourth ahead of Bell, Clarke and Bygrave. Birchall was able to fight his way through the spray to take a hard earned eighth.

That just left the final race of the season to negotiate but this had to be re-started after Ian Drowne crashed out. Re-run over 6 laps, Reeves, who had been down in 6th in the initial race, was in no mood to be beaten and he duly completed his hat-trick, this time with the Birchall's in second as they ended their weekend on a positive note. The weather was slighly better than the previous day and that gave way to more exciting racing with battles right the way through the pack. Indeed, the battle for third saw no less than six outfits go wheel to wheel during the race but it was Lawrie who claimed the final podium spot in third ahead of Lovelock although the positions were reversed in the final Championship table. Bygrave and Holland were also part of the battle with the former coming out on top for fifth, whilst Clarke took seventh by just 0.019s from Craig Chaplow/Patrick Farrance!

After 8 rounds and 20 races, which ran from April to October, Reeves and Cluze ran out comfortable winners on 525 points having taken wins on no less than 14 occasions and they were followed in the Championship table by Lovelock (310), Lawrie (272), Birchall (247), Holland (242), Bell (220), Peach (211), Bygrave (205), Clarke (184) and James (115).

Phil Wain: Freelance PR

Photos from Round 8 - Mondello Park

Copyright: Photos: Mark "Wally" Walters

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