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.
British F1: Gary Bryan appointed Paddock Manager for RKB-F1
When crews arrive at Cadwell Park for the opening round of the 2020 season, there will be a new face responsible for all Sidecar Paddock disciplines and behaviour.
The vastly experienced Gary Bryan has enjoyed a long sidecar association, with Isle of Man TT success to his name, as well as F1 and F2 Championship honours.
Stepping back from active short-circuit competition to care-take and manage his stepson Todd Ellis, Gary has accepted the role of Paddock Manager for Roger Body’s RKB-F1 organisation. This wealth of experience, combined with Gary’s “no-nonsense” manner, will be ideally suited to the many challenges facing him on every race weekend.
The role has been officially recognised by MSVR with whom he will be working closely on BSB weekends, ensuring the Sidecar fraternity maintains its high standards.
All crews are therefore reminded that Gary is working on behalf of them and the sidecar family in general to maximise and maintain the good reputation we have earned over many seasons.
We all wish Gary all the best in this new venture and give him our total support.