Ellis/Clement claim title for Santander Salt in epic Brands thriller

Ellis/Clement claim title for Santander Salt in epic Brands thriller

Ellis/Clement claim title for Santander Salt in epic Brands thriller

Tom Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement with their trophies

The final race weekend of the British Superbike calendar sported a full entry of over twenty sidecars to see the season out. Friday free practice took place in fine weather conditions, with qualifying later in the day. With double points on offer over the two races, there was still an opportunity for the title to go one of three ways. Clear favourites, nineteen points ahead were Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha). Ever hopeful in second place sat Sam and Tom Christie (CES Yamaha), with third placed Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyres Services Yamaha) a further sixty-one points back.


Spots of rain had made the track slightly damp as the twenty teams began the session. Conditions were far from ideal, but straight from the off, Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood headed the field on the Quattro Yamaha. Ellis/Clement and the Birchall brothers were in close company. Joining one lap later, Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney immediately went fastest, only to lose out to Birchall and Ellis. Sam and Tom Christie were fifth fastest with a 1.33.452 as Kershaw consolidated third place to head up row two alongside Blackstock/Rosney. There was little in it between the top two, but the Birchall brother shaved it, taking pole position by one tenth from Ellis/Clement. Their time was half a second shy of the lap record time set by Ellis earlier this year.

Row three were Christie/Christie and consistently quick Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther, with row four featuring Rob Biggs and veteran Rick Lawrence alongside bright new pairing Luke Williams/Jason Pitt on the Williams Racing Yamaha.

Race One

A brilliantly sunny morning turned into light showers later in the day, with the sidecar race scheduled for late afternoon. From the lights, Todd Ellis was steady away, not making the most of his front row start. He and Emmanuelle Clement were gobbled up by Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood and Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney into fifth place. Meanwhile, Ben and Tom Birchall headed out in front, chased all the way by the Quattro Yamaha of Kershaw, as Sam and Tom Christie slotted into third spot. In this position, the Beverly brothers were reducing the points disadvantage from Ellis and were intent on staying there.

We then had two distinct fights on our hands, as Kershaw dived under the Birchalls at Druids, and Ellis passed the Christie boys at Surtees. This manoeuvre left Ellis a bit wide, and he lost out again to the CES Yamaha.

Out front, a personal best lap time went to Kershaw/Charlwood within two tenths of lap record pace, and Ellis finally secured third, albeit too distant to get back in touch with the Haith Honda of Ben Birchall. This battle at the front overshadowed scraps further down the order, with Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney gamely battling on for a solid result behind Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther to hold third in the standings. Ben and Tom Birchall’s result catapulted themselves up the order four places to fifth overall with race two still to come.


1/ Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Yamaha)
2/ Ben Birchall/Tom Birchall (Haith Honda LCR)
3/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
4/ Sam Christie/Tom Christie (CES Yamaha)
5/ Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther (ARC/Marin Motorsport Kawasaki)
6/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha)
7/ Rob Biggs/Rick Lawrence (Santander Salt Yamaha)
8/ George Holden/Matty Ramsden (Barnes Racing Adolf RS Yamaha)
9/ Luke Williams/Jason Pitt (Williams Racing Yamaha)
10/ Craig Currie/Justin Sharp (Birchall Racing Honda).

Race Two

A reverse grid saw Luke Williams/Jason Pitt neck and neck with Craig Currie/Justin Sharp into Paddock Hill Bend with Rob Biggs/Rick Lawrence looking for a way through. Series leaders Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement got a much better start this time around, and significantly were ahead of series rivals Sam and Tom Christie. This was the containment needed and was never to change throughout the race. The Christie boys had their hands full as they fought through from row four with the Birchalls passing them as they made their own rapid progress. Biggs had played the safe card, choosing intermediate tyres and that was a mistake. He gradually slipped back down the order as the tyres went off from lap five.

Meanwhile, Ellis had fought his way to the front with the Birchalls in tow. They were rarely more than two tenths apart, with Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood battling up to third, setting the fastest lap along the way. This was bettered by Birchall in the closing stages as he closed in on Ellis with half a lap to go. He made the move at before Westfield, and into Clearways, he still held the lead despite Ellis’s best efforts.

Behind these three leaders, Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther had made steady progress until they found themselves in an almighty scrap with the Christie boys. This fight took them clear of Luke Williams/Jason Pitt as they settled into sixth ahead of Craig Currie. The top six outfits finished within twenty seconds of each other after the ten laps, with three seconds covering the podium three.

Runners-up Ellis/Clement claimed the Championship from Sam and Tom Christie after a spirited season from the CES Beverley based brothers. Ben and Tom Birchall’s victory ensure a healthy fifth place despite having only scored in the last three rounds. A huge crowd watched this late morning action ahead of Superbikes, with Eurosport coverage and transmission for later in the day.



1/ Ben/Tom Birchall (Haith Honda)
2/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
3/ Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Yamaha)
4/ Sam/Tom Christie (CES Yamaha)
5/ Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther (Kawaski LCR)
6/ Luke Williams/Jason Pitt (Williams Yamaha)
7/ Craig Currie/Justin Sharp (Birchall Honda)
8/ Rob Biggs/Rick Lawrence (Santander Salt Yamaha)
9/ Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor (Centurion packaging Honda)
10/ Kevin Cable/Chaz Richardson (L&W Yamaha).

Final Championship standings

Ellis/Clement 392
Christie/Christie 353
Blackstock/Rosney 260
Holden/Lawrence 210
Birchall/Birchall 185
Archer/Hyde 139
Robinson/Fairhurst 124
Peach/Edwards 122
Hauxwell/Taylor 118
Crawford/Lowther 104

Ellis & Clement Champions - Santander Salt

Ellis/Clement poised to take title at Brands Hatch 14-16 October

Ellis/Clement poised to take title at Brands Hatch 14-16 October

Ellis/Clement poised to take title at Brands Hatch 14-16 October


Despite not able to add to their score at Donington Park, Santander Salt’s Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement head for the final round with a nineteen-point lead over nearest rivals Sam and Tom Christie. Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney are a further sixty-one points back but still with a mathematical chance of success. The two races at Brands both carry double points, with one hundred points available on the final weekend.

Ellis will be acutely aware of this, as indeed will be the Christie brothers. The boys from Beverley will be focussing on strong finishes in both races, maximising their opportunities and hoping for the best. They have significantly improved this season and have a race-winning pace.

The Anglo-French series leaders arrive at Brands fresh from double victory in the German round of the FIM World Championship, placing them in a strong position to take that title too. However, there is work to be done first in Brands Hatch, and we will see a strong entry, including Ben and Tom Birchall, who with their Haith Honda, have been the only crew to beat Ellis/Clement in a straight fight this season. Double winners last time out at Donington, the multiple TT winners are more than capable of stealing points from Ellis at Brands.

Also on the entry list, but not eligible for points are four wild card teams, among them veteran Brian Gray and eight times world champion Tim Reeves with Kevin Rousseau in the hot seat. Tim has been focussing on the German Championship this year, so it will be good to see him mixing it once again with the Molson Group regulars. Whilst not able to take points from Ellis, he will be out to prove he has none of his flair.

We have seen a definite resurgence of support for the series since a sluggish start to the season in terms of grid size, and among those extra entries are several new names on the long bikes, including Lee Crawford and Luke Williams. The Kawasaki of Crawford ran second to the Birchall brothers last time out at Donington in race one, with the Christies taking that honour in race two. We fully expect Brands Hatch to be a record entry, with all the drama and action that comes with it.

The double points effect, plus a reverse grid in the final race, is guaranteed to build in a thrilling climax to the 2022 season, with plans already afoot for 2023.

Event timings will determine whether the races are in the live TV broadcast or confined to the Eurosport App. Either way the highlights will appear on the RKB-F1 YouTube Channel a few days later.

Clean sweep for Birchalls at Donington Park round seven

Clean sweep for Birchalls at Donington Park round seven

Clean sweep for Birchalls at Donington Park round seven


Summer has truly come and gone, with Donington Park quite a chilly affair at the weekend. Ambient temperature on arrival Friday was around ten degrees, with a cold, patchy track for free practice.

A good entry of over sixteen teams made a meaningful grid, with a couple of wild cards thrown in for good measure.

Free practice sorted out the early nerves, with the only qualifying session scheduled for late in the day. The afternoon programme was later abandoned due to heavy rain and strong winds making conditions dangerous. George Holden/Oscar Lawrence had not repaired their damaged bike from Snetterton, but thanks to the good auspices of Ian Barnes, sponsor of John Holden, the Adolf RS Yamaha normally ridden by John was offered to keep George on track and in the title chase. Qualifying was moved to early doors on Saturday, with a bright, sunny morning to greet the runners.


The session got underway on a damp track, with just about everyone on full wet or intermediate tyres. With one lap completed, Sam and Tom Christie went off at the Old Hairpin, severely damaging the bike and causing a red flag. They were both uninjured but gave themselves a mountain of work to stay in the game. At the restart, Ben and Tom Birchall (Haith Honda) set the early standard, but Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther (LCR Kawasaki) upped the pace to top the times with six minutes to go. Andy Peach/Ken Edwards put the Lifesafety Yamaha third ahead of Craig Currie/Justin Sharp.

Championship contenders Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney had a late panic when a cam-chain adjuster failed, causing them to miss most of the session. They were destined to start from way down the grid on row seven.

Rob Biggs, with stand-in passenger Shane Colbrook went well in the tricky conditions until Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst jumped fourth fastest, pushing them back one place. They were not there for long, bouncing back to go second quickest, sharing the front row with an ever-improving Crawford/Lowther on pole. Team mates to the Birchall brothers, Craig Currie and Justin Sharp, stole third from them on the closing lap.

Race One – Late on Saturday the lights went out for the first race. This was one occasion when the Christie brothers could be grateful for a late start, as they’d had all day to rebuild their bike. From the back of the grid, they had a good race, but there was plenty going on ahead of them. Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther had a brilliant start, making the most of pole position, with Rob Biggs also getting off the line well.

Ben and Tom Birchall slotted third, then very quickly edged into second place. Behind them, Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst had been pushed onto the grass, so had to work hard from the back. The Holden family, George and John, found themselves battling with each other for a few laps before George broke free and made some headway on the Ian Barnes Yamaha Adolf RS.

Crawford gave Ben and Tom a run for their money, but the writing was on the wall. Once ahead, the Haith Honda opened up a six second gap on its way to victory. Craig Currie and Justin Sharp were another crew who had an off-track excursion, running on at the Esses before re-joining further back. Meanwhile, Sam and Tom Christie were

fighting through, moving towards the sharp end, eventually finishing on the podium. This was a magnificent effort and just reward for a long hard day. Rob Biggs had a good solid race, never far off the front trio, and certainly leader of the chasing pack. For his debut race on the long bike, Shane Colbrook did well. They were to finish fourth, so a good result.

On lap five, a very scary moment side-lined Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney when they were fighting to get on terms with the leaders. Brake failure approaching the Melbourne Loop saw them dive left and head for the gravel trap. Mercifully, they got it stopped before the tyre wall did the job for them. They have now slipped out of realistic title contention.

All the way down the field there was entertainment and drama, with great battles going on. This race was a good example of how good sidecar racing can be, once there is a meaningful grid. At the front however, it was another display of class riding by the Birchall brothers, as they took their second win in only two rounds from new stars in this championship Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther.


1/ Ben/Tom Birchall (Haith Honda)
2/ Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther (Marin Motorsport Kawasaki)
3/ Sam/Tom Christie (CES Yamaha)
4/ Rob Biggs/Shane Colbrook (Express Tyres Services/Santander Salt Yamaha)
5/ George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Barnes Racing Adolf RS Yamaha)
6/ Luke Williams/Jason Pitt (Williams Racing Yamaha)
7/ John Holden/Ashley Hawes (Barnes Racing Yamaha LCR)
8/ Martin Kirk/Kyle Masters (MK Racing Yamaha)
9/ Andy Peach/Ken Edwards (Lifesafety Yamaha)
10/ Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde (Hannafin RSR Yamaha).

Race Two

The reverse grid saw Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde on pole, with Sam/Tom Christie coming from row four, and the Birchall brothers on five alongside Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther. As always, the opening lap was hectic, but John Holden/Ashley Hawes did a great job diving through the traffic on the short chassis LCR. The led the field into lap two, followed by the Christie brothers intent on maximising their points opportunity.

Once ahead, they became a target for Ben/Tom Birchall as they too shot through the field into second place. The two leaders were then quite evenly matched, with the Haith Honda just having a slight edge on speed. That carried the Birchalls into a passing opportunity, which they took into the Melbourne hairpin, touching the Christies on the way through. Mild contact is all part of sidecar racing, and the slight nudge unsettled the CES Yamaha enough to drop them firmly second. Once ahead, Ben and Tom made it two victories and maximum points.

Behind there was a titanic scrap between Crawford/Lowther, Rob Biggs/Shane Colbrook, George Holden/Oscar Lawrence and Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney coming from the back of the grid. It took the full ten laps before Blackstock/Rosney made it all the way through, but succeed they did, eventually ending up on the podium in third.

Biggsy got it wrong at Coppice, taking the #5 Yamaha through the gravel and onto the grass before re-joining. John Holden eventually was gobbled up by most of the faster long bikes, but not without a fight. He fell victim to Luke Williams/Jason Pitt and Martin Kirk/Kyle Masters before settling in eighth place after a spirited ride.


1/ Ben/Tom Birchall
2/ Sam/Tom Christie
3/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney,
4/ Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther
5/ George Holden/Oscar Lawrence
6/ Luke Williams/Jason Pitt,
7/ Martin Kirk/Kyle Masters
8/ John Holden/Ashley Hawes
9/ Rob Biggs/Shane Colbrook
10/ Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst.


Ellis 320
Christie 301
Blackstock 240
G. Holden 194
Robinson 124
Archer 115
Hauxwell 108
Peach 106
Birchall 95
Clarke 66
Cable 63
Crawford 60.

The final round which carries double points, comes from the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit in Kent over the weekend of 14-16 October.

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