Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement clinch championship at Brands Finale

Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement clinch championship at Brands Finale

Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement clinch championship at Brands Finale

Ellis/Clement Champions
Rowe Motor Oil

This final round had two unique features which could easily turn the year on its head. Both races would carry the traditional double points allocation, and in a final twist, all competitors were obliged to drop the two least productive races. Where races were missed through non-attendance, then those missed races could be included in the calculation. Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement therefore, would keep all points earned thus far, as they missed three Cadwell Revival races due to world championship duties.

Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney have scored every round, so they would need to shed points, provided they scored again in one or both races at Brands. It is often the case the end of season Brands Hatch closer attracts a variety of weather conditions, and that was the case for the free practice. It would have been so easy to throw it away and ruin the weekend, but Todd and Emmanuelle (LCR Brookland Yamaha) were taking no such chances. Instead, they left it to the young guns to set the standard, with Luke Williams/Jason Pitt (WSRT Yamaha) heading home Lee Crawford/Scott Hardie (ARC/Marin Motorsport Kawasaki). Joint leaders Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney sat a reliable fourth fastest on the DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha.

Race action from Brands

Qualifying

Blackstock/Rosney came out swinging with an early fast lap, with Williams/Pitt close behind. The track was dry, so times were good, whilst well shy of lap-record pace. After four laps, George Holden/Oscar Lawrence went fourth fastest, just as Ellis/Clement stormed ahead with am 1.33.684, only to eclipse that on lap nine with a 1.32.252.

Crawford/Hardie completed just two laps, obviously hitting problems, ending bottom of the pile with no more circuits completed.

Fastest Cup team were Paul and Tom Kirby, ending a very creditable fifth on their Adolf RS Yamaha ahead of fellow Cup runners Simon Robinson/Phil Hyde. Ellis/Clement and Williams/Pitt will line up on the front row for the two races, with Blackstock/Rosney and Holden/Lawrence sharing row two.

Race One

In contrast to yesterday morning, the morning was cold, crisp and clear. With the sidecar race late in the day, it would be hoped these conditions would hold. Mid-morning a heavy shower made things tricky for earlier sessions, so it was a case of crossed fingers and hope.

From the lights, the sprint to Paddock Hill Bend was won by Blackstock and Rosney, making their trademark start from row two, going straight through the middle. Luke Williams and Jason Pitt in plain black bodywork were immediately on their case and joined in the battle at the front. They matched the race leaders wheel for wheel, setting the fastest lap in the process.

Race action from Brands

Ellis claimed the lead on lap three, but Williams/Pitt went with them as they diced with Blackstock/Rosney. Up to fourth were George Holden and Oscar Lawrence on the Barnes Racing Kawasaki, who unbeknown to them were about to benefit,when at two thirds race distance, Blackstock had an electrical problem, dropping them back. He later recovered to stay in touch, but Williams wanted this one and almost passed Ellis for the lead with three laps remaining.

Cup leaders Phil Bell looked also to have a problem, as did Brian Gray and Clement Conil, spinning and jettisoning the passenger up the track.

Paul and Tom Kirby were then in the Cup hunt, but leaders of that class were Simon Robinson/Phil Hyde.

Race action from Brands

Final lap and Williams/Pitt were pushing hard, just as Ellis claimed the fastest lap of the race. Then disaster struck for Williams, and they pulled off with a blown engine. This elevated Holden/Lawrence to third behind Blackstock and Rosney, with Robinson/Hyde a fine fourth and Cup race winners, ahead of Kirk/Masters and the Kirbys. Incredibly, Williams/Pitt had just bettered Ellis with another fastest lap of 1.33.077 just before they broke down. This would earn them pole position for race two.

Result

1/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Brookland Yamaha)
2/Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha)
3/George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Holden Racing Kawasaki)
4/Simon Robinson/Phil Hyde (Alan Blaylock Haulage Yamaha)
5/Martin Kirk/Kyle Masters (MK Racing/5ive8ight Designs Yamaha)
6/Paul Kirby/Tom Kirby (KRT Racing Adolf RS Yamaha)
7/Kevin Cable/Chaz Richardson (L&W Yamaha)
8/Craig Clarke/Pete Ensor (Centurion Packaging/Fine Line Sealants Honda
9/Sam Laidlow/Jack Laidlow (Laidlow/Marin Yamaha
10/Phil Bell/Carl Bell (Marin Motorsport Yamaha).

Race Two

Blackstock and Rosney came to the line knowing that to take the title, they would need a top three place even if Ellis/Clement were not to finish.

This was a tall order, and with a 100% record, the reigning champions were sitting pretty. Nonetheless, Blackstock gave it his best shot, once again grabbing the hole shot from the second row and leading the charge round Paddock Hill Bend from Williams/Pitt and Ellis/Clement.

The chasing pack streamed round behind, as Paul Kirby and Martin Kirk came together and got it sideways. They both went hurtling into the gravel, one of them upside down. Thankfully, both drivers and passengers escaped serious injury but were out of the race.

Lambert / Haynes

Attrition was high, with five outfits out of the action on the first two laps, with three others to follow as the race infolded. Nonetheless, there were sixteen finishers including a brave fight by Nicholls/Janssens to take the final place.

Meanwhile, at the front, Ellis took just two laps to muscle ahead, and once there, did not put a foot wrong. He was chased all the way by Williams/Pitt who this weekend showed what they can really do. Their future in this sport is bright, and we all hope to see a full season from them in 2024.

Blackstock/Rosney, safe in third, were on their way to runner-up spot in the series, one place better than last season. Can they go one better in 2024? only time will tell. Further back, a terrific charge by the Laidlow brothers Sam and Jack saw them get the better of first Kevin Cable/Chaz Richardson and then Simon Robinson/Phil Hyde.

Robinson / Fairhurst

The latter two outfits collided at Surtees as Robinson turned in, unaware Cable was making a play up the inside. They somersaulted and skidded off the track with Simon pinned beneath the bike. “Super sub passenger” Phil Hyde took flight and landed feet-first before tumbling off the track. Again, no serious injury resulted, so this was good news.

Sadly, the Laidlow brothers’ efforts came to nothing as they retired from fifth place in the closing stages. They had made their mark and will be a welcome addition to the series going forward.

Meanwhile, Todd and Emmanuelle finished the job at the front, winning by eight seconds, taking the championship with an unbeaten win record.

Phil and Carl Bell had a strong sixth and were class winners, sealing their Cup class championship ahead of the unfortunate Kirby pairing, with Brian Gray/Clement Conil third, just four points adrift of Kirby.

Bell / Bell

A maximum for Rob Atkinson/Josh Smith saw the RAF F2 team take the title in that class from Greg Lambert/Andy Haynes.

Result

1/Ellis/Clement
2/Williams/Pitt
3/Blackstock/Rosney
4/Holden/Lawrence
5/Cable/Richardson
6/Bell/Bell
7/Gray/Conil
8/MacLaurin/Hope
9/Currie/Sharp
10/Peach/Edwards.

Final standings

GP Class

1/ Ellis/Clement (Champions)
2/Blackstock/Rosney
3/Holden/Lawrence
4/Kirk/Masters
5/Biggs/Segers
6/Currie/Sharp
7/Christie/Christie
8/Kershaw/Charlwood
9/Cable/Richardson
10/Archer/Christie

Cup Class

1/Bell/Bell (Champions)
2/Kirby/Kirby
3/Gray/Conil
4/Robinson/Fairhurst
5/Clarke/Ensor
6/Pottinger/Dodds
7/Bell/Colbrook,
8/Laidlow/Laidlow
9/Peach/Edwards
10/Williams/Pitt,

F2 Class

1/Atkinson/Middleton/Smith (Champions)
2/Lambert/Haynes
3/Founds/Walmsley
4/Crawford/Hardie
5/Gibson/Gibbons
6/Crowe/Crowe.

TV highlights will also be available shortly after on our Youtube Channel.

For all other news at it happens, stay in touch on www.britishsidecarchampionship.co.uk.

Photo credits: Snap-it Photography
Images available on request from Facebook/Instagram

Knockhill hands Ellis/Clement the double win as they home in

Knockhill hands Ellis/Clement the double win as they home in

Knockhill hands Ellis/Clement the double win as they home in

G-Holden and Lawrence
Rowe Motor Oil

The weekend began as early as Friday with an open test session giving interested teams the chance to re-acquaint themselves with the 1.2 mile circuit. Express Tyre Services sponsored the British Championship races, enabling this prestigious series to run within the Jock Taylor Memorial event.

Several teams took the practice day option up, including the defending champions.

The weather was kind and lap times did not disappoint. A sub-52 second lap would be needed to set a new lap record, and this was a real possibility with the quality entry.

Three races over the weekend with two of them scoring points gave the teams a golden opportunity to maximise this trip north of the border, so we were set for two days of competitive action.

Qualifying

From the off, Blackstock/Rosney (DHR/ExpressTyres Yamaha and Ellis/Clement (Brookland LCR Yamaha) were in the groove. Just four minutes in, a red flag stopped the session. Prior to the stoppage, Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood had put the Quattro Yamaha third fastest on local soil. The three classes were all well-supported, so it was a very busy session with Lewis Nicoll heading the Cup class in the early stages. Sadly, Nicoll and Pattie’s weekend was over almost before it began with that early crash in which Lewis broke a shoulder and collarbone.

Nicol / Pattie

Away again with a full ten minutes of the session remaining, and Ellis/Clement were on provisional pole two-tenths ahead of Blackstock.

George Holden and Oscar Lawrence were out on John Holden’s F2 bike, having experienced handling problems with their long Kawasaki.

Martin Kirk/Kyle Masters who were mistakenly registered as Cup contestants for Saturday, topped that class early on, with Lee Crawford/Scott Hardie ahead in the F2’s.

Kirk / Masters

Phil and Carl Bell secured Cup pole at the flag with a very quick final tour of 53.7 against Crawford’s 53.011 F2 time and Ellis’s GP class sub-lap record performance of 51.908. Blackstock was a few hundredths shy, second fastest in the GP class.

Race One

Eighteen laps lay ahead of the pack as the lights went out. A good start is imperative on this tight track. Several incidents in the earlier FSRA F2 race delayed proceedings somewhat, but conditions were good for the start and Blackstock/Rosney made the best of it. They continued their run of hole shots chased by Ellis/Clement, but the world champions were soon ahead with a new record time of 51.450. The Christie bothers sat third ahead of Kershaw/Charlwood. Two F2 bikes came next with Lee Crawford and Pete Founds doing a great job. Founds was to slip back, but it was an excellent performance by the two short bikes. In the Cup class, the honours were going Phil Bell’s way with a three tenths advantage over Martin Kirk. Kirk was still showing as a Cup entrant, but that anomaly was ironed out in the points before Sunday’s race. Then there was an amazing charge by the Laidlow brothers Sam and Jack to fight through to second place in class. Meanwhile, at the front, Sam and Tom Christie moved second behind Ellis/Clement, taking Steve Kershaw and Charlwood with them. Such was the race leaders’ speed, they pulled a ten second advantage over the race distance, with the battle for second place very much alive between Kershaw and the Christies. Blackstock was next, having settled in fourth.

Blackstock / Rosney

Martin Kirk had spun on the opening lap, colliding with Simon Robinson who later retired. Kirk got his head down and earned points for a finish.

This was Ellis’s race to lose, and there was no way he was going to. In metronomic fashion he reeled off lap after consistent lap. Closing stages, and Kershaw nailed Christie at the hairpin and held it to the line. Rob Biggs/Ferry Segers made it to sixth in the race on a track which Biggs clearly enjoys. Fifth position and class win by Crawford/Hardie was outstanding on their F2 machine. The GP Class points gap was narrowed to seven points with race two still to come.

Biggs / Segers / Laidlows

Result GP Class
1/Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Brookland LCR Yamaha), 2/Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Yamaha), 3/ Sam/Tom Christie (Hannafin Yamaha), 4/Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyres Yamaha), 5/Rob Biggs/Ferry Segers (Express Tyres Yamaha), 6/Rupert Archer/Adam Christie (Hannafin RSR Yamaha) 7/George Holden/Oscar Lawrence, 8/Martin Kirk/Kyle Masters (MK Racing Yamaha).

Cup Class
1/Phil Bell/Carl Bell (Marin Motorsport), 2/Sam/Jack Laidlow (Laidlow/Marin Yamaha), 3/ Paul/Tom Kirby (KRT Yamaha ARS), 4/Brian Gray/Clement Conil (Brian Gray Powerbiking Yamaha), 5/Mick Bell/Shane Colbrook (Marin Motorsport Yamaha), 6/Gordon Pottinger/David Dodd (GB Precison/Opal Lazer Yamaha).

F2 Class
1/Lee Crawford/Scott Hardie (Team ARC/Marin), 2/Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley (Team Founds Honda), 3/Greg Lambert/Andy Haynes (Greg Lambert Racing)

Race Two

A three-hour delay due to a red flag in an earlier race gave those with last-minute repairs and maintenance a massive breathing space. Great weather conditions and track temperature of twenty-five degrees prevailed for the second encounter which would run over a reduced distance. The Jock Taylor Memorial race scheduled for later in the day was incorporated with the grid due to the
organisers running out of time, so this one was the biggie and well worth waiting for!

Ellis lined up on pole as the grid was set on lap times, alongside the Christie brothers. Row two featured Kershaw and Blackstock. Row three saw the flying F2 of Crawford partnered with Biggs/Segers. Blackstock and Rosney’s slender seven- point lead in the title chase might not be enough, so this would be damage limitation. George Holden/Oscar Lawrence were out in warm-up on the long Kawasaki, but once again had fuel issues. They would be using John Holden’s F2 once again.

From the lights, the sprint to Duffus Dip saw Christies and Ellis fighting for the lead with Blackstock and Kershaw duelling it out behind.

Ellis / Clement

Ellis was charging hard and away at the front two seconds clear of Christie and Kershaw when on lap three Kershaw and Christie came together at the chicane, with Blackstock involved as well but continuing as Christie retired.

Lee Crawford was promoted to third because of the incident, but Blackstock was back in business and fighting through. Kershaw/Charlwood still sat second from Crawford with Blackstock absolutely flying, now past Rupert Archer into seventh place, but fourth in class. Then suddenly, Crawford was out with a problem, handing third place to Rob Biggs/Ferry Segers.

This fifteen-lapper flew by, action-packed all the way down the field, with Ellis/Clement supreme lifting maximum points, the Jock Taylor trophy and the Steve Webster fastest lap award.

It was indeed damage limitation for Blackstock/Rosney, giving away seven points to Ellis, now sharing the series lead.

N.B – Official standings will be available prior to the final round from the BSB official timekeepers TSL, but below are my calculations based on the Speedhive timekeeping data from the Knockhill organisers. Please accept apologies if there are errors.

Result GP Class
1/Ellis/Clement, 2/Kershaw/Charlwood, 3/Biggs/Segers, 4/Blackstock/Rosney, 5/Archer/Christie, 6/Kirk/Masters, 7/Holden/Lawrence

Cup Class
1/Bell/Bell, 2/Robinson/Van Middelgaal, 3/Gray/Conil, 4/Bell/Colbrook, 5/Pottinger/Dodd, 6/Kirby/Kirby.

F2 Class
Founds 97, Atkinson 50, Lambert 22, Crawford 25, Gibson 22, Crowe 20.

GP Podium celebrations

Standings GP Class
Ellis 237.5, Blackstock 237.5, Holden 189, Biggs 137, Kirk 134, Christie 132, Kershaw 99, Currie 80, Archer 79, Cable 27.

Cup Class
Bell 264.5, Kirby 222, Gray 216, Robinson 184, Clarke 129, M. Bell 109, Pottinger 107, Laidlow 92, Williams 87.5.

F2 Class
Founds 97, Atkinson 50, Lambert 22, Crawford 25, Gibson 22, Crowe 20.

Express Tyre Service logo

The final round comes from Brands Hatch over the weekend of 13-15 October, where double points are on offer. Eurosport TV will be covering both races either in the live TV slot or on the Eurosport App.

Meanwhile, keep up with news as it happens here on www.britishsidecarchampionship.co.uk

 

Photo credits: Snap-it Photography
Images available on request from Facebook/Instagram

Ellis/Clement back at Knockhill to challenge Blackstock and Rosney

Ellis/Clement back at Knockhill to challenge Blackstock and Rosney

Ellis/Clement back at Knockhill to challenge Blackstock and Rosney

Blackstock & Rosney, Express Tyre Services
Rowe Motor Oil

The Jock Taylor Memorial meeting over the weekend of 2/3 September is a well-supported stand-alone event which will see the “Best of British” go head-to-head for points in the penultimate round of the British Sidecar Championship. It is a true festival of sidecars spanning all classes and ages, including a guest appearance by Steve Webster MBE on his World Championship winning two-stroke outfit. This meeting is supported by the well-known and respected Express Tyre Services organisation, who have a long-standing sidecar racing tradition, and already actively support several of the teams competing at Knockhill.

Since double victory at Thruxton which took them to within fourteen points of series leaders Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney, the Ellis/Clement dynamic duo has been in action in Assen, scoring another double win to go top of the world table in defence of their title.

Blackstock and Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha) won both races at Knockhill last year in the BSB round, so clearly are at home on the tight track. Given they know Ellis is homing in on them, they will be pulling out all the stops to repeat that performance.

George Holden and Oscar Lawrence have hit a new level and now sit third in the title chase after two strong runner-up spots performances at Thruxton. This must go down as their best result yet on the BSB stage and they now trail Ellis by just twenty-six points.

By virtue of a non-attendance at the previous round, the Beverley based Christie brothers are now cast adrift in fourth with serious work to do if they are to make amends.

Local hero Steve Kershaw with Ryan Charlwood alongside will also be a thorn in the side of Ellis/Clement, having given them a run for their money at every clash home and abroad so far this season.

Phil Bell has a commanding lead in the Cup battle, twenty-seven points clear of Paul/Tom Kirby, and a further nine points advantage over third-placed Brian Gray/Clement Conil.

In the F2’s, Knockhill should attract a decent number of teams eager to challenge joint leaders Founds/Walmsley and Atkinson/Middleton. The showing of short outfits in this series has been disappointing, but with the added kudos of the Jock Taylor title, plus the nature of the Knockhill circuit, we  would hope to see more turn out for this round.

A full programme of over sixty sidecar outfits heralds the largest three-wheeled turnout in Scottish history, so it is a “must see event” for all sidecar fans.

Express Tyre Service logo

We will issue a full report from the event, so stay abreast of the action here on  www.britishsidecarchampionship.co.uk.

 

Photo credits: Snap-it Photography
Images available on request from Facebook/Instagram

Blackstock/Rosney hold lead as Ellis/Clement do Thruxton double

Blackstock/Rosney hold lead as Ellis/Clement do Thruxton double

Blackstock/Rosney hold lead as Ellis/Clement do Thruxton double

GP class podium race 2
Rowe Motor Oil

Fresh from a race victory in the World Championship round at the Red Bull Ring Austria, Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement had a rude awakening in Hampshire when their engine failed early in free practice. They spent the afternoon installing a replacement before the all-important single qualifying session. They clearly intended to support the championship and stake a claim to retain their title, unlike several other teams who gave Thruxton a miss for a variety of reasons best known to themselves. Injuries from the previous weekend were one factor, with the hard nature and fearsome record of the track on passengers certainly another cause.

Having said that, non-attendance does absolutely nothing for the profile and reputation of the championship, when all efforts are being made to preserve and maintain this unique branch of motorsport. The teams are allowed to drop their worst two race scores, so that might well have been a calculated gamble. By the same token, the Brands Finale will carry the customary double points, so literally, anything could happen.

Fifteen loyal teams were eager to compete at Thruxton however, so there was still plenty to fight for on track, with fine weather prevailing for the sole qualifying session.

Qualifying

Late in the day with track temperature good, we could expect good times. The lap record of 1.19.126 held by Ben and Tom Birchall would be a good indicator as to how far things had moved on, if at all. The best free practice time was two seconds shy of this figure, so they would need to find some more.

Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney were immediately looking fast with Rob Biggs/Ferry Segers making a good start too. Series leaders Ellis/Clement had a couple of steady laps, and then went top with a 1.21.377. George Holden and Oscar Lawrence improved after lanyard issues in free practice, to go third on lap seven. Then, with a very last throw of the dice, Blackstock/Rosney eclipsed Ellis/Clement by thirteen thousandths of one second to claim pole position, with a 1.21.364. Paul and Tom Kirby put their Adolf RS on row three as fastest Cup qualifiers.

Blackstock & Rosney

Blackstock & Rosney

Grid

Row 1/ Blackstock – Ellis, – Row 2/ Holden – Biggs, – Row 3/ Kirk – Kirby,
Row 4/ P. Bell – Currie, Row 5/ Robinson – Gray, – Row 6/ Atkinson – M. Bell,
Row 7/ Clarke – Pottinger, Row 8/ Moss.

Race One

Early rain and ongoing intermittent showers had made for an interesting track situation going into the race. The grippy tarmac was now dry, but more rain threatened as the lights went out.

Blackstock/Rosney made their trademark lightning start, heading Ellis and Clement into the complex with Holden/Lawrence close in tow. Rob Biggs and Ferry Segers also had a flyer, sitting in a strong fourth place which they were to maintain all race long.

Biggs and Segers

Biggs & Segers

Sadly, we were to lose two outfits from the fray when Craig Currie/Justin Sharp locked up and slid round going into the complex. They were then collected by Michael Bell and Shane Colbrook, extensively damaging both machines. The F2 RAF Honda of Atkinson/Middleton managed to dodge the debris but were thereafter playing catch-up. That was it for the two long bikes, with their weekend over and major repairs essential for Knockhill.

Atkinson and Middleton

Atkinson and Middleton

Meanwhile, at the front, a fantastic scrap was unfolding, with Ellis/Clement going ahead on lap three. Blackstock/Rosney were matching the lap-times and doing a great job, with the three leading outfits covered by a couple of seconds. Then it began to rain at the back of the circuit, spurring George Holden to find his fastest lap on the penultimate tour, carrying him past Blackstock at the Club Chicane into second place. This move unsettled the #95 outfit, and they dropped a few more seconds on the final lap.

G Holden and Lawrence

G Holden and Lawrence

Holden/Lawrence matched the race leaders, closing to within three-tenths of the Brookland LCR of Ellis/Clement at the flag.

Kirk and Masters were the final GP class bike in fifth, well clear of a great scrap for Cup honours, with class leaders Phil Bell/Mark Gash narrowly beating Paul/Tom Kirby in a thrilling five-way fight also involving Robinson/Fairhurst, Gray/Conil and Clarke/Ensor.

Cup Class Podium Race 1

Cup class podium race 1 – 1st P Bell & Gash, 2nd Kirby & Kirby, 3rd Robinson & Fairhurst

Result

1/Ellis/Clement
2/Holden/Lawrence
3/Blackstock/Rosney
4/Biggs/Segers
5/Kirk/Masters
6/Bell/Gash
7/Kirby/Kirby
8/Robinson/Fairhurst
9/Gray/Conil
10/Clarke/Ensor
11/Atkinson/Middleton
12/Pottinger/Dodds

Race Two

The track was in perfect shape for this one, with pole position sitters Ellis/Clement in place by virtue of their fastest race one lap.

From the lights, Ellis made no mistake, although challenged hard from the outset, he made the race lead their own, never looking back until the chequered flag. It was a world-class performance in which they came close to the lap record late in the race.

Blackstock/Rosney pulled off a cracking start from row two, shooting between the front row pair, to lead Holden/Lawrence into turn one and the complex. They set after Ellis, staying close for the first couple of laps, but then the elastic stretched, and Ellis was clear away.

George Holden and Oscar Lawrence had found their feet in race one, and fancied more of the same, growing in confidence lap after lap.

P Bell and Gash

Phil Bell and Mark Gash

Meanwhile, the Cup battle was the most entertaining action, as Phil Bell/Mark Gash swapped paintwork with Paul and Tom Kirby for top honours. Craig Clarke/Pete Ensor were also involved in the early stages but were dropped away as the two Cup rivals slugged it out. Kirby was sideways on more than one occasion but held his nerve to bring it home ahead of the Cup class leaders.

Pottinger/Dodds were forced to retire at half distance, and there were three non-starters due to the Saturday crashes. Sole F2 exponents Rob Atkinson and Mark Middleton drew level with Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley at the top of their respective table.

Cup class podium race 2

Cup class podium race 2, 1st Kirby & Kirby, 2nd P Bell & Gash, 3rd Clarke & Ensor

Cup battle apart, this race lacked the close action throughout witnessed in the opener, but a good Thruxton crowd stayed to watch and appreciate.

World action beckons the top teams next weekend in Assen, with the Jock Taylor at Knockhill next up for the British regulars in early September.

Result

1/ Ellis/Clement
2/ Holden/Lawrence
3/ Blackstock/Rosney
4/ Biggs/Segers
5/ Kirk/Masters
6/ Kirby/Kirby
7/ Bell/Gash
8/ Clarke/Ensor
9/ Gray/Conil
10/ Robinson/Fairhurst
11/ Atkinson/Middleton

Standings

GP Class
Blackstock 201.5
Ellis 187.5
Holden 161
Christie 112
Kirk 106,
Biggs 101
Currie 80
Kershaw 55
Archer 48
Cable 27

Cup Class
P. Bell 214.5
Kirby 187
Gray 178
Robinson 162
Clarke 129
Williams 87.5
Pottinger 76
M.Bell 75
Laidlow 70
Crawford 50
Hauxwell 50
Peach 43
Moss 30
Stevens 6

F2 Class
Founds 50
Atkinson 50
Gibson 22
Crowe 20

With two more rounds, five races and double points at Brands Hatch, this championship is very much alive with everything still to play for. We will bring you full preview and reports of those two events as they happen.

Stay across all the news as it unfolds on www.britishsidecarchampionship.co.uk.

 

Photo credits: Snap-it Photography
Images available on request from Facebook/Instagram

Blackstock and Rosney lead the charge to Thruxton 11-13 August

Blackstock and Rosney lead the charge to Thruxton 11-13 August

Blackstock and Rosney lead the charge to Thruxton 11-13 August

Blackstock & Rosney with Robinson behind
Rowe Motor Oil

The fifth round of the British Sidecar Championship heads to the rapid Thruxton circuit, off the back of three races last weekend at Cadwell Park.

Well known as a daunting prospect for many passengers, this airfield track combines high speed with enormous cornering forces threatening to throw the passenger off the outfit at any moment.

Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement (Brookland Yamaha LCR) took double victories here last year and on paper are very much the team to beat. They are combining their British Championship season with the FIM World Championship, being reigning champions in both. As a result, they missed out on three races last weekend at Cadwell Park, opting to defend their world title at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. In doing so, they sacrificed the lead in the British Championship. The DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha of Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney profited hugely as a result, and now come to Hampshire with a twenty-four-point lead in the Championship.

Last year at Thruxton also saw double podium spots for George Holden and Oscar Lawrence with their Kawasaki, and they too have jumped ahead of Christie brothers Sam and Tom, who also headed for Austria last weekend. Craig Currie/Justin Sharp now sit fifth with their Honda ahead of Martin Kirk/Kyle Masters.

The Cup class is much more finely balanced behind leaders Phil/Carl Bell. With Phil Hyde on board last weekend, the Marin Motorsport Yamaha of Bell eked out a twenty-six-point lead from Brian Gray/Clement Conil, who in turn are just two points clear of Paul and Tom Kirby. Cadwell hat trick exponents Luke Williams and Jason Pitt are hell-bent on further gains, so their progress from sixth place in the standings should be fun to watch.

All-dominant Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley have the F2 lead, with little or no opposition to date.

Three rounds and six races remain, with no further FIM world clashes and Ellis/Clement in determined mood. The permutations are endless, but Blackstock/Rosney know what they must do, and the season is now set up for a grandstand finish.

Eurosport TV are covering both races, with highlights to follow on our Youtube channel. Make sure you miss none of the action by staying across all the news as it unfolds on www.britishsidecarchampionship.co.uk.

 

Photo credits: Snap-it Photography
Images available on request from Facebook/Instagram

Blackstock and Rosney head the table with hat-trick at Cadwell

Blackstock and Rosney head the table with hat-trick at Cadwell

Blackstock and Rosney head the table with hat-trick at Cadwell

Black / Rosney

The weather turned nasty as we drove into the paddock on Friday for the fifth running of the Cadwell Park Sidecar Revival with more torrential rain forecast for Saturday. That did not detract from the strong entry, despite other events taking place the same weekend.

The good news for the GP class entrants was that series leaders Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement were in Austria fighting for World honours, as were second in the title chase Sam and Tom Christie. Hannafin teammates Rupert Archer/Adam Christie along with L&W Contractor’s Kevin Cable/Chaz Richardson were also chasing the same dream.

Former champions Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood were the final high-profile defectors, but they had not entirely committed to the British series anyway. That left the door wide open for Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha to gain big points, thus elevating them from third place in the standings. That they did with aplomb. Opportunity also beckoned for George Holden/Oscar Lawrence, and Craig Currie/Justin Sharp who arrived at Cadwell in fourth and fifth places.

Currie/Sharp

The F1 Cup class was going to be very tight, with the top three split but just four points, with leaders Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst looking over their shoulders. Sole F2 exponents Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley were bound to stamp their mark on that class.

Qualifying

With Blackstock, Williams, Holden and Crawford having put their marks on the early free practice session, it remained to be seen if they could replicate that feat in qualifying. Mercifully the rain had abated somewhat ahead of the twenty-minute session, but wet tyres were still the order of the day.

It was clear from the word go that Blackstock would have a fight on his hands, with the opening challenge coming from cup runners Luke Williams and Jason Pitt. The GP Yamaha of Blackstock/Rosney made amends one lap later, going provisional pole on a slightly drier track.

Half-way through, Pete Founds and Jevan Walmsley had the F2 bike fourth fastest behind Lee Crawford/Scott Hardie and ahead of Paul and Tom Kirby.

Kirby/Kirby

With five minutes left, Lee Crawford jumped to second, using his spare engine after blowing one earlier, forcing Blackstock to improve. He did not this time out, but still held pole, just as George Holden/Oscar Lawrence went third with one final lap left.

Row one would be Blackstock/Rosney and Crawford/Hardie, ahead of Holden/Lawrence and Williams/Pitt on row two, and Currie/Sharp sharing row three with Founds/Walmsley.

Race One

From pole position, Blackstock/Rosney shot away, opening an immediate lead into Coppice which they were to build upon as the race unfolded. Behind them a spirited charge by Crawford/Hardie got them firmly in second place, with Luke Williams/Jason Pitt fighting with F2 stars Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley.

The Honda of Founds was every bit as fast as the long bikes, but he lost ground as he made a mistake exiting Barn Corner, allowing Williams to edge by. Crawford went out on lap five with what looked like gearbox problems, so Williams then had a clear run.

Holden/Lawrence

In a good fourth place, George Holden/Oscar Lawrence were the best of the rest, opening a gap to ride a solitary race to the flag. Eighteen points were a good haul, but they need to find more to get with the top three in the standings. Further back, Phil Bell/Phil Hyde were having very strong ride in adverse conditions, eventually making fifth place their own, followed by Paul and Tom Kirby in an excellent sixth. Clarke and Ensor had their Honda on song, running well in the leading bunch, then lost around twenty seconds on lap six, to finish eighth ahead of the Laidlow brothers.

After a mid-pack battle around seventh or eighth place, Craig Currie jettisoned his passenger Justin Sharp on the exit from the chicane on lap eleven of twelve, this ending a good potential score. He admitted to having to fight the machine all race- long.

Eleventh in the race, but third best GP class team, got Martin Kirk and Kyle Masters onto the podium and further up the standings. This gave them a good basis for what was to be an even better result later in the day. It was a good weekend for them.

Kirk/Masters

Blackstock’s score moved him ahead of the absent Christie brothers in the standings, with two races more to come.

Result

1/ Blackstock/Rosney
2/ Williams/Pitt
3/ Founds/Walmsley,
4/ Holden/Lawrence
5/ Bell/Hyde
6/ Kirby/Kirby
7/ Robinson/Fairhurst
8/ Clark/Ensor
9/ Laidlow/Laidlow
10/ Gray/Conil
11/ Kirk/Masters

Race Two

The sun was out for this one, but as it turned out, not forever! Blackstock/Rosney once again hit the front, looking a class act throughout, to take lights to flag victory. That was an impressive feat, but lots of attention focussed on the scrap for third place as Holden/Lawrence closed on fast-starting Williams/Pitt, moving ahead on lap four into second place. Behind them, a strong battle was emerging with Bell/Hyde, Currie/Sharp, Kirby/Kirby as the GP class Honda of Currie fought its way into third place in the main class, behind Holden/Lawrence. The Kawasaki pair had their season-best result to date with runner-up spot.

Moss/Geddes

Just as the race was settling into an interesting stage, with Holden intent on catching Blackstock, down came the rain and a resulting red flag after six laps completed. Not, however, before Charlie Moss had lost Adam Geddes from the sidecar when he got it sideways.

A result was declared, and half points awarded, with Blackstock/Rosney coming tantalisingly close to the head of the standings, and Phil Bell extending his Cup lead.

Result

1/ Blackstock/Rosney
2/ Holden/Lawrence
3/ Williams/Pitt
4/ Bell/Hyde,
5/ Currie/Sharp
6/ Kirk/Masters
7/ Kirby/Kirby
8/ Biggs/Segers
9/ Clarke/Ensor,
10/ Laidlow/Laidlow

Race Three

Again, the weather was kind as Blackstock/Rosney shot from the line, opening a gap before Coppice. Such was their electrifying start, that officials deemed it a jump start, penalising the #95 bike ten seconds, dropping them to sixth place after lap one on the timing screens, whilst leading on the road.

This added huge drama as the race unfolded as George Holden/Oscar Lawrence bettered Luke Williams/Jason Pitt to lead the race mathematically.

Williams/Pitt

They were to maintain this great pace following Blackstock home and enhancing their title chase into third ahead of the absent Christie brothers.

Founds/Walmsley had joined the race from the back of the grid and were making great strides through the field until they expired on lap nine, keeping their score for the weekend to a minimum.

Mid-pack the scraps were going on, with Bell/Hyde again showing a strong performance behind the leading trio of Blackstock, Holden and Williams.

The triple Cup winners Williams/Pitt jumped to sixth in the standings with their great showing.

As Biggs/Segers retired, along with Currie/Sharp and Robinson Fairhurst, the tables took on a different complexion with the Kirby/Kirby pairing moving to within two points of Brian Gray/Clement Conil in the Cup, and Appleby brothers Sam/Jack Laidlow making third place in the same class. This took them to eighth in the standings, ahead of many more accomplished names.

Currie/Sharp

For newcomers cutting their teeth, this was a very encouraging and satisfying result. They were grinning from ear to ear on the podium.

Kirk/Masters completed a great day with a fine fifth place ahead of the Laidlow boys, and certainty of yet another podium. Sixth pace in the table heading into Thruxton was an excellent result.

Laidlow/Laidlow

Blackstock/Rosney protested the time penalty, and the podium was delayed until close of play, when a jury meeting and subsequent review decided there was no supporting evidence. Their win was re-instated, making it three out of three for the new championship leaders. But for half-points in race two, their margin would have been much greater.

Holden/Lawrence were therefore denied their first win, but more than justified their weekend making great inroads.

Result

1/ Blackstock/Rosney
2/ Holden/Lawrence
3/ Williams/Pitt
4/ Bell/Hyde
5/ Kirk/Masters
6/ Laidlow/Laidlow
7/ Kirby/Kirby
8/ Clarke/Ensor
9/ Gray/Conil
10/ Pottinger/Dodd.

Standings

GP Class – Blackstock 161.5, Ellis 137.5, Holden 117, Christie 112, Currie 80,
Kirk 74, Biggs 65, Kershaw 55, Archer 48, Cable 27.

Cup Class – P. Bell 167.5, Gray 142, Kirby 140, Robinson 126, Clarke 93,
Williams 87.5, M. Bell 75, Laidlow 70, Pottinger 62, Crawford 50, Hauxwell 50,
Peach 43, Moss 30, Stevens 6.

F2 Class – Founds 50, Gibson 22, Crowe 20

Stay across all the news as it unfolds on www.britishsidecarchampionship.co.uk

Photo credits: Snap-it Photography
Images available on request from Facebook/Instagram

BSB and Sidecars in 2024

BSB and Sidecars in 2024

BSB and Sidecars in 2024

BSB logo

After the recent announcement by the BSB confirming their support series for 2024, there has been much speculation as to whether the British Sidecar Championship will be amongst the schedules.

In light of this news, we would like to confirm the continued running at selected rounds across the 2024 season, as a support series for the BSB championship.

Further details and clarity of which event dates will be announced nearer the season commencement.

 

Cadwell Sidecar Revival 2023 is just around the corner

Cadwell Sidecar Revival 2023 is just around the corner

Cadwell Sidecar Revival 2023 is just around the corner

BSB logo

The fifth running of the popular Cadwell Sidecar Revival takes place next weekend 4-6 August against a backdrop of domination in the main British Championship class by Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement on their Brookland Yamaha LCR.

The championship races are just one part of what has become a “must see” weekend dedicated to all forms of sidecar circuit racing on one of the most historic and typically British tracks in the country. The new format sees both long and short outfits compete in the same races, with class awards for F1 Cup and F2 competitors.

RKB-F1 Motorsport is thrilled to welcome you back in numbers to witness once again a celebration of our sport across the decades, now in its fifth year. There is a real mix of machinery and personalities for you to connect with over the weekend. As well as British Championship races for the afore-mentioned long and short F2 outfits, the FSRA British F2 crews will be doing battle for championship points with an equal amount of determination.

Throw into the pot the bellowing Camathias Cup runners, a mixture of F1 and F2 Club teams, the BHR BEARS with their fascinating outfits and all manner of other classic kit, and your hunger for three wheels should be sated. A parade of GP Legend former sidecar machines adds to an incredible line-up.

There is a strong support entry of period solos too, from classic two-strokes from  a golden era to Lansdowne Cup traditional four-strokes, and a whole array of other fascinating machinery all guaranteed to delight.

The Sidecar Revival is round four of a seven-round British Championship series culminating at Brands Hatch in October, with several fast teams nipping at the heels of Ellis/Clement.

Most prominent of these, is the Hannafin Yamaha of Sam and Tom Christie who have really shown a new level of speed this season.

Next in line sit Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney on the DHR/Express Tyres Services Yamaha with every chance of reducing the twelve-point gap they trail the Christies by. It is good to see the Honda of Craig Currie and Justin Sharp in the mix, having joined the series at Donington Park. George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Kawasaki) are just a handful of points ahead of Rob Biggs/Ferry Segers in fifth and sixth respectively.

Cup leaders Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst had their lead slashed to just two points at Snetterton, with Phil/Carl Bell now very much in the ascendancy, but they in turn are only two points clear of the evergreen Brian Gray with Clement Conil alongside.

The F2’s will delight as always, so there should be plenty to excite the many spectators who always turn up at this annual festival.

Photo credits: Snap-it Photography
Images available on request from Facebook/Instagram

Ellis/Clement maintain maximum at red-flagged Snetterton

Ellis/Clement maintain maximum at red-flagged Snetterton

Ellis/Clement maintain maximum at red-flagged Snetterton

Ellis and Clement
Rowe Motor Oil

A clear blue sky and soaring temperatures greeted a strong entry for round three at the Snetterton 300 circuit over the weekend.

New names and new machines saw the return of former champion Ricky Stevens with brother Wayne alongside, out for the first time on a brand-new Ryde chassis powered by Yamaha. They freely admitted this was a test outing for them to see how the rest of the season unfolded.

Laidlow and Laidlow

Another new team featured the Laidlow brothers from Cumbria with seventeen-year old Sam on the handlebars and twenty-year-old Jack holding down the third wheel. This is their first season with a long chassis, and they handled free practice well.

Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement set the pace in practice, but qualifying would show who might challenge them.

Qualifying

Track conditions were very hot, as indeed was the ambient temperature. Whilst this  should suggest maximum grip, several teams had mentioned a slippery and unpredictable surface.

However the track might have felt, there was no mistaking the intentions of the series leaders. Of the six laps they completed, the final tour was the one which came to within a second of the lap record held by Ben and Tom Birchall. A time of 1.58.017 gave Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement (LCR Brookland Yamaha) a half-second edge over the Quattro Group Yamaha of Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood. These two teams would start first and second and were well clear of the rest of the grid, with third and fourth slots taken by Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha) and George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Holden Racing Kawasaki).

G Holden and Lawrence

Row three comprised Luke Williams/Jason Pitt and Rob Biggs/Ferry Segers with almost identical times. Craig Currie/Justin Sharp were strong in seventh alongside Rupert Archer/Adam Christie. Given good weather for the races, the lap record could well  change.

Race One

Cloud cover had formed during the afternoon, with showers possible. Just as the sidecars came to the line, the sun was out again, and the stage was set.

From the lights, a three-way charge at the front saw Kershaw/Charlwood almost pip Ellis/Clement to turn one, but Todd Ellis out braked the Quattro Yamaha round the outside to grab the lead. Slotting into third was the DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha of Blackstock/Rosney.

Blackstock and Rosney

What followed, was a race long scrap between those three crews with Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney falling back slightly into a safe podium place. Their lap times were consistent, and they looked good. Ellis/Clement were always threatened by the Quattro Yamaha but never succumbed.

In their efforts to gain control, Kershaw/Charlwood set the fastest lap on lap four to get within three tenths of Ben Birchall’s lap record.

Further back, the action was very busy with George Holden/Oscar Lawrence holding fourth, but Sam and Tom Christie were making a stunning charge through the field from last on the grid. They were passing two and three outfits each lap as they fought through.

Luke Williams and Jason Pitt were incredibly strong on their come-back ride after fifteen weeks hospital and reconstruction treatment on Jason’s legs, and Luke’s broken hand. They were running fifth all race until the Christie brothers made them their final victim on their way to fifth place.

Williams/Pitt were best Cup team ahead of Phil and Carl Bell, who are now real Cup title contenders.

Agostini’s bend caused two outfits to capsize, first to go were Rob Biggs and Ferry Segers on lap four, with Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor doing the same in dramatic fashion two laps later. They ran in too hot, made a late turn and were upside down as the rear end broke away.

Derek unfortunately broke an arm and foot as he was thrown high in the air before hitting the tarmac. This resulted in a red flag and a result declared with six laps completed.

There were many spirited battles through the field, and several impressive individual performances, one of which was the debut of the Laidlow brothers Sam and Jack in their first championship outing on the Marin Motorsports Yamaha to finish thirteenth overall and fourth in class ahead of several Cup regulars, with their fastest lap in the 1.24’s.

Result

1/Ellis/Clement (LCR Brookland Yamaha)
2/Kershaw/Charlwood (Quattro Group Yamaha)
3/Blackstock/Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha)
4/Holden/Lawrence (Holden Racing Kawasaki)
5/Christie/Christie (Hannafin Yamaha)
6/Williams/Pitt (WSRT Yamaha)
7/Bell/Bell (Marin Motorsport Yamaha)
8/Archer/Christie (Hannafin Yamaha)
9/Currie/Sharp (Robinsons of Bawtry Honda)
10/Cable/Richardson (L&W Contractors Yamaha)

Race Two

Following a light shower, the track was once again in perfect condition with Kershaw/Charlwood on pole this time by virtue of their race one fastest lap. They denied Ellis the hole shot and led for three laps despite Ellis’s best efforts to muscle by. This also gave Blackstock/Rosney the chance to hang close in third place, although they were to lose out to the determined Christie brothers on lap three. The Hannafin duo made third place theirs just as Ellis/Clement slid underneath Kershaw on a right-hander to claim the lead.

Once again, behind the leading quartet, Holden and Lawrence were holding fifth but this time Rob Biggs/Ferry Segers were climbing all over them. Craig Currie/Justin Sharp had Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson for company the entire race, unable to shake the L&W bike off.

Sadly, Cup class leaders Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst were to roll the outfit on the fifth lap resulting in Robinson getting his leg trapped and an ensuing red flag, the second of the weekend. A result was declared, and half-points awarded.

Once again, newcomers Sam/Jack Laidlow acquitted themselves with distinction, ending up on the third step on the Cup class podium. Seventeen crews finished with the returning Stevens brothers and Luke Williams/Jason Pitt among the retirees.

Result

1/Ellis/Clement
2/Kershaw/Charlwood
3/Christie/Christie
4/Blackstock/Rosney
5/Holden/Lawrence
6/Biggs/Segers
7/Currie/Sharp
8/Cable/Richardson
9/Archer/Christie
10/Bell/Bell.

Standings GP Class

1/Ellis/Clement 138
2/Christie/Christie 112
3/Blackstock/Rosney 99
4/Currie/Sharp 70
5/Holden/Lawrence 62
6/Biggs/Segers 57
7/Kershaw/Charlwood 55
8/Archer/Christie 48
9/Cable/Richardson 27
10/Kirk/Masters 25

Standings Cup Class

1/Bell/Bell 113
2/Gray/Conil 109
3/Robinson/Fairhurst 102
4/Kirby/Kirby 92
5/Bell/Colbrook 55
6/Clarke/Ensor 52
7/Crawford/Lowther 50
8/Hauxwell/Taylor 50
9/Peach/Edwards 35
10/Pottinger/Dodds 35
11/Moss/Geddes 30
12/Laidlow/Laidlow 28
13/Williams/Pitt 25
14/Stevens/Stevens 6

The highlights will be available on the Youtube Channel shortly and other information will be available on the website as it occurs. Make sure you stay across all the news and action on www.britishsidecarchampionship.co.uk.

Photo credits: Snap-it Photography
Images available on request from Facebook/Instagram

Ellis/Clement riding high ahead of Snetterton and round three

Ellis/Clement riding high ahead of Snetterton and round three

Ellis/Clement riding high ahead of Snetterton and round three

Round 1 - Oulton Park race action

Fresh from fighting in the second round of the FIM World Championship, Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement arrive at the Snetterton 300 Circuit over the weekend of 7-9 July with maximum points from the two opening British rounds. They are already emerging as the team to beat in the GP class, leading Sam and Tom Christie by fourteen points with Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney a further sixteen points back.

We saw a spirited ride at Donington Park by Craig Currie and Justin Sharp on their Honda powered LCR which propelled them to fourth in the standings. They are back for more in Snetterton and will be in the thick of the action.

Rob Biggs/Ferry Segers and Rupert Archer/Tom Christie are two more teams who always provide entertainment and both capable of solid results at Snetterton. All those teams mentioned above will face stiff opposition from multiple World and British Champion Tim Reeves with Mark Wilkes alongside, and former British Champions Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood. The latter crew have also been performing well in the FIM World series, and always go well at Snetterton. The F1 Cup class sees Simon Robinson and Mick Fairhurst lead the pack just twelve points in front of Brian Gray and Clement Conil, who will hopefully be making the much-awaited debut of their new Ryde F1 chassis.

In the F2 Class, leaders Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley are again absent, leaving the door open for Ryan and Callum Crowe to capitalise. The Manx brothers had a good IOM TT and should be in great form in Norfolk.

Sidecars are always a popular addition to the schedule and despite being last on the programme both days, will deliver great entertainment and bring the Snetterton weekend to a perfect close.

Eurosport will be covering both races live for the Eurosport App and highlights will appear shortly after the event on the British Sidecar Championship website. Make sure you stay across all the news and action as it happens on www.britishsidecarchampionship.co.uk.

Photo credits: Snap-it Photography
Images available on request from Facebook/Instagram

Ellis/Clement in sparkling form taking all three at Donington Park

Ellis/Clement in sparkling form taking all three at Donington Park

Ellis/Clement in sparkling form taking all three at Donington Park

Ellis/Clement
Rowe Motor Oil

With twenty-five points on the board and fresh from World Championship duties, early series leaders Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement were in determined mood on the newly re-surfaced Donington Park. Twenty-two teams were entered for round two with German lubricant giants Rowe Motor Oils as sidecar event sponsor, but Martin Kirk/Kyle Masters were excused at the last minute due to Kirk’s mother suddenly being taken ill. Greg Lambert was already Isle of Man bound, so was another absentee.

New names however, included Craig Currie/Justin Sharp and Gordon Pottinger/David Dobbs. It was good to see Currie back and riding the Robinsons of Bawtry Honda LCR. As it transpired, he had a good weekend.

Currie / Sharp

Thanks to the flexibility of the MSV organisational team, the cancelled race from Oulton Park was built into the programme late on Friday afternoon, so this was a very busy three-race weekend for the teams with seventy-five points up for grabs.

Free practice saw Ellis/Clement resume control as fastest on track with a good showing by the Christie brothers Sam and Tom. George Holden/Oscar Lawrence, and Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney also got quickly in the groove.

Qualifying

Track conditions were perfect with a slight breeze for the one session. With three races on the programme, this was a truly meaningful weekend, so qualifying needed to be right!

Ellis/Clement (LCR Brookland Yamaha) were right on lap record pace from lap two, setting a storming 1.36.455, chased by the Christie brothers. On lap four, the boys from Beverley had their Yamaha under the record and claim provisional pole. Both these top crews had clashed last weekend in Germany, so it was a case of “déjà vu” for them. Next lap and Ellis had once again broken new ground into the one-thirty-fives, underlining his determination. The Avon tyre rule for this season allows a maximum of four new tyres over the weekend, so care needed to be taken.

Blackstock/Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha) were getting to grips with the new bike, ahead of Holden/Lawrence (Holden Racing Kawasaki) trying desperately to close the gap. It was no real surprise that Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther (Team ARC/Marin Motorsport Yamaha) were fastest of the Cup runners, with no F2 outfits present.

Holden / Lawrence

Craig Currie/Justin Sharp followed Crawford home, so those were the top three rows taken care of ahead of race one.

Race One

The lights went out and the charge to Redgate was on. Initially Blackstock/Rosney and Sam/Tom Christie were vying for the lead having got the jump on the pole sitters, but that was short-lived as Ellis/Clement swept in front round Redgate. Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther were in this leading bunch too, and stayed with them all race long.

The Christie brothers showed the speed they enjoyed all last season and into this year, fighting with Ellis/Clement. Blackstock and Crawford made it a close affair up front, with George Holden/Oscar Lawrence holding fifth just a few seconds back. As the race unfolded, the two teams at the front both went under the Birchall brother’s lap record, with Ellis breaking new ground on lap seven with a 1.35.050. Andy Peach/Ken Edwards did not start due to a blown engine earlier in the day, and Rupert Archer/Adam Christie made only two laps before they too were side- lined with front end damage. The other non-finishers were Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor after a spirited nine laps.

Top Cup performance saw a great effort by Crawford/Lowther, making the podium in third place.

Crawford / Lowther

Result
1/ Ellis/Clement (LCR Brookland Yamaha)
2/ Christie/Christie (Hannafin Contractors Yamaha)
3/ Crawford/Lowther (Team ARC/Marin Motorsport Kawasaki)
4/ Blackstock/Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha)
5/ Holden/Lawrence (Holden Racing Kawasaki)
6/ Currie/Sharp (Robinsons of Bawtry Honda)
7/ Biggs/Segers (Express Tyres Services/Santander Salt Yamaha)
8/ Gray/Conil (Brian Gray Powerbiking Yamaha)
9/ Bell/Bell (Bell Racing Marin Motorsport Yamaha)
10/ Robinson/Fairhurst (Alan Blaylock Haulage Yamaha).

Race Two

Saturday dawned beautifully sunny with those conditions prevailing all day. There was a strong breeze, but the impact on sidecars is far less than their solo counterparts. Ten laps lay ahead of the twenty-strong grid as the lights went out.

Once again it looked as if Ellis/Clement would lose their pole position advantage, but just as before they swept round Redgate as if they were on rails into the lead. Corner speed is a huge strength and that is just one area where they are very strong.

The Christie brothers and Blackstock/Rosney gave chase. With Crawford/Lowther once again at the sharp end. Crawford was to set a personal best and the third fastest lap time on lap three as he mixed it at the front.

Christie/Christie

Biggs/Segers and Currie/Sharp were making good progress ahead of a fantastic five way battle involving Gray/Conil, Archer/Christie, Simon Robinson and Mick Fairhurst, Phil/Carl Bell and Clarke/Ensor. This raged for lap after lap and was thoroughly good entertainment, with Archer getting the verdict to go sixth in the closing stages.

Robinson/Fairhurst

Phil and Carl Bell had the grandstand seats behind this lot and were poised to take advantage of any slips. One more lap and they would have nailed a slowing Brian Gray.

Rob Biggs finally seems to have conquered the gremlins which plagued his start to the season. It was good to see the number five outfit lapping consistently at almost identical lap times to Currie/Sharp. The latter crew moved into a very good fourth place when Crawford, having fought at the front all race, went out on the final lap with a front wheel issue. This must have caused real heartache after such a strong performance.

Craig Currie and Justin Sharp are a valuable addition to the series and more that capable of getting the Honda on the podium. We look forward to continued improvement from this colourful pair.

Peach/Edwards

Andy Peach and Ken Edwards started at the back of the grid and fought through to a very creditable eleventh place ahead of Paul/Tom Kirby. Meanwhile, Ellis/Clement had opened a four second lead over the Christie boy, with an improving Blackstock/Rosney a further eight seconds back on a bike with which they are still finding their feet.

Race 2 Cup podium

Result
1/ Ellis/Clement
2/ Christie/Christie
3/ Blackstock/Rosney
4/ Currie/Sharp
5/ Biggs/Segers
6/ Archer/Christie
7/ Robinson/Fairhurst
8/ Clarke/Ensor
9/ Gray/Conil
10/ Bell/Bell.

Race Three

More glorious sunshine greeted the paddock for the final day of this BSB weekend. Ellis/Clement were poised to continue their unbroken run of success, and who would bet against them. Again, the Christie brothers made the best start, leading the entire first lap, with Ellis/Clement in keen pursuit.

Blackstock once again was hassled by Crawford, who was clearly enjoying things on track. Biggs and Segers were settling in as the passenger adjusted to the new track, and they dropped into fifth place. The bike was now running well, and they could concentrate on riding to what turned out to be a fine fourth place.

Holden/Lawrence made good progress from the back of the grid and were in tenth when on lap four. Then they were out once again with a problem. Another crew in trouble was Blackstock/Rosney, pulling into pit-lane and losing one lap. They were to glean a couple of points finishing in fourteenth.

Further down, Cup leaders Robinson/Fairhurst were involved in a battle with Currie/Sharp and Archer/Christie, narrowly missing out on fifth place to Currie when Blackstock pulled in. Currie rounded out a good weekend moving to fourth in the GP class standings after just three races.

As for Ellis/Clement, there was no mistaking the superb quality of the defending champions, with a flawless display and maximum points carrying forward to Snetterton.

Crawford/Lowther’s efforts finally paid off with a much-deserved podium.

Race 3 Cup Podium

Result
1/ Ellis/Clement
2/ Christie/Christie
3/ Crawford/Lowther
4/ Biggs/Segers
5/ Currie/Sharp
6/ Robinson/Fairhurst
7/ Archer/Christie
8/ Bell/Bell
9/ Gray/Conil
10/ Kirby/Kirby.

Standings

GP Class
Ellis/Clement 100
Christie/Christie 86
Blackstock/Rosney 70
Currie/Sharp 52
Biggs/Segers 50
Holden/Lawrence 36
Archer/Christie 30
Kershaw/Charlwood 22
Kirk/Masters 14
Cable/Richardson 12.

Cup Class
Robinson/Fairhurst 90
Gray/Conil 78
Bell/Bell 78
Kirby/Kirby 68
Crawford/Lowther 50
Hauxwell/Taylor 50
Bell/Colbrook 50
Clarke/Ensor 38
Moss/Geddes 24
Pottinger/Dodds 20
Peach/Edwards 16.

Highlights of the races will be on our Youtube Channel shortly.

The third round comes from the Snetterton Circuit 7-9th July.

Photo credits: Snap-it Photography
Images available on request from Facebook/Instagram

Ellis/Clement lead into round two at Donington Park 19-21 May

Ellis/Clement lead into round two at Donington Park 19-21 May

Ellis/Clement lead into round two at Donington Park 19-21 May

Rowe Motor Oil

Just three weeks after winning the single opening race at Oulton Park, Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement (LCR Brookland Yamaha) will arrive at the famous Donington Park circuit for what they hope will be more of the same in their defence of the title on 19-21 May. With just five points splitting the top three crews, there is every expectation this will be a cracking weekend.

Sponsor for the Donington Park round is Rowe Motor Oil, a German-based company with a strong tradition in Motorsport.

Donington is a favourite with the sidecars and has borne witness to many brilliant races over decades both at Grand Prix and British Championship level. Despite its flowing nature, the circuit also suits determined F2 drivers on their short chassis machines. “New for 2023 rules” allow three types of machines to compete in the same race with a separate points structure for their respective class. This also helps those teams campaigning the lower spec. long outfits as well as the FSRA spec. short bikes.

Due to the proximity of the up-coming Isle of Man TT, F2 entries are less than before, but there is still a strong support for the Donington round.

In the premier class, the battle is close with Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Group Yamaha) having given Ellis a run for his money in Cheshire, as indeed did the brothers Christie, Sam and Tom, now resplendent in Hannafin Contractors livery.

These three crews sit at the top the standings, with George Holden/Oscar Lawrence the best of the rest in fourth place. Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha) are bedding in a brand-new bike, but need to be on the pace at Donington if they are to stay in touch in the early stages.

Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes left Oulton empty-handed after an on-going oiling problem ruled them out of the race. They are entered for the Donington Park round, and it is to be hoped they can compete on level terms.

The season on the whole, will be a close-fought affair, as both Ellis and Kershaw have the odd world round clash, allowing Christie and Blackstock among others to gain points in their absence.

In the F2 class, Peter Founds and Jevan Walmsley were dominant at Oulton Park with Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst heading the F1 Cup class. Like Tim Reeves however, the TT looms and that is likely to affect the F2 teams’ decision to ride.

Having said that, another strong field has entered for round two, with the promise of a colourful and entertaining spectacle on a world-class circuit.

Photo credits: Snap-it Photography
Images available on request from Facebook/Instagram

Ellis/Clement take race two in style

Ellis/Clement take race two in style

Ellis/Clement take race two in style

Round 1 podium

The “new look British Sidecar Championship” arrived in Cheshire with a full grid and a galaxy of stars lining up to kick-start the new season.

Three classes within each race were always going to stir the pot and that proved to be a popular and interesting development. The weather was initially kind for both free practice and qualifying, but that was not to last.

The opening track action saw Sam and Tom Christie (Hannafin Yamaha) resume the strong form they enjoyed towards the end of last season, topping free practice by over half a second from Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood Quattro Group Yamaha), with reigning Champions Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (LCR Brookland Yamaha) a similar distance back in third.

Christie/Christie

This feat was repeated in actual qualifying with the Christie brothers leaving it until the final flying lap to once again head the pack and claim pole position. Ellis bettered  Kershaw this time, recording second fastest with George Holden and Oscar Lawrence grabbing fourth from Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes struggling with lubrication issues. They would be hoping to cure these gremlins before the race itself.

Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney completed a top six for a GP class qualifying rout with Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley seventh and quickest of the F2’s.

Cup honours for the long bikes went to Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther who complete row four alongside Founds/Walmsley.

Race One

Sunday turned out to be a fiasco for the entire sidecar paddock in addition to those who were already in trouble mechanically. It began damp, with rain having fallen overnight. The rain continued into the afternoon, with the track never really drying out.

Tim Reeves had been working tirelessly to overcome his oiling system problems, so he was hoping for a good race.

Reeves/Wilkes

Rob Biggs was another rider plagued with mechanical woes and he too was still busy fettling his Express Tyres Services Yamaha all day Sunday.

Then one hour before the off, the heavens opened again, delaying the start of the Supersport race ahead of the sidecars. A thirty-minute delay pushed the sidecar start into the church curfew time and out of business. There was no Sunday race, but one of extended length late on Monday afternoon.

Race Two

Morning warm-up was again damp, but Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes set a good fastest time, recording five laps with no apparent trouble. Sadly, for Rob Biggs, the Express Tyre Services Yamaha dropped a valve, so his weekend was done. A full grid took advantage of the session, keen to get on track having twiddled their thumbs for the entire day before.

By the time the race came to the line, the bad weather had all but blown through, with late afternoon sunshine evident. Track conditions were perfect, so a good race was finally guaranteed.

From the lights, pole sitters the Christie brothers (Hannafin Yamaha) grabbed the lead into turn one with Ellis/Clement (LCR Brookland Yamaha) hot on their heels and Kershaw/Charlwood (Quattro Yamaha) third. Sadly, for Tim Reeves, a potential four-way scrap was ruined when his hand went in the air on lap one. The oil problem was not fixed, and the Bonovo Action/Rich Energy Yamaha’s day was over.

Ryan Charlwood

Meanwhile, the three at the front were at it hammer and tongs, with Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement diving under the Christies at Hislops. Getting past, into the lead and away was a matter of urgency, but the Beverley brothers were not giving up without a fight. All three outfits were in the 1.43’s for much of the race, as Ellis moved to within a fraction of his own lap record.

Kershaw and Christie had a race-long fight resulting in Kershaw muscling past on the run down from Hill Top to grab second spot. It was too late to catch Ellis however, but runner-up spot was a satisfying result. Sam and Adam Christie, in their new Hannafin livery, proved yet again their worth and consistent race performance.

Behind them, a frantic scrap was headed by a flying F2 outfit in the hands of Peter Founds/Jevan Walmsley. This stellar performance by Founds was at the head of a four-way scrap involving George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Holden Racing Kawasaki), Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther (ARC Marin Motorsport Kawasaki) and Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha).

Founds/Walmsley

Crawford exited proceedings on lap five, with Holden/Lawrence nailing fourth after eventually passing a brilliant F2 class winner Pete Founds to register a lonely fourth place. Second in that class and twelfth overall were impressive youngsters Daryl Gibson/Rhys Gibbons shaking down their brand-new CES chassis ahead of the TT. They were chased home by Manxmen Ryan and Callum Crowe also refining their Haven Homes Honda LCR for the new season.

Ellis held his lead, albeit shortened to five seconds, but such was the dominance of the World Championship runners at the front, they finished twenty seconds clear of Holden/Lawrence, with Founds and Blackstock a further ten seconds back.

A returning Martin Kirk with Kyle Masters on board registered a good seventh ahead of the F1 Cup battle between Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst on the Alan Blaylock Haulage Yamaha and Paul/Tom Kirby with the first of the Adolf RS chassis’ home.

Kirby/Kirby

Seventeen outfits finished a good twelve-lap race, well and truly shaking out the cobwebs and giving many plenty of food for thought before Donington Park. Whilst not featuring in the result, Andy Peach can feel justly satisfied with his job at the helm of his first British Championship meeting.

Result

1/ Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (LCR Brookland Yamaha)
2/ Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Group Yamaha)
3/ Sam/Tom Christie (Hannafin Contractors Yamaha)
4/ George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Holden Racing Kawasaki)
5/ Peter Founds/Jevan Walmsley (Team Founds Racing 72 Honda)
6/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha)
7/ Martin Kirk/Kyle Masters (MK Racing Yamaha).

Class results

Cup
1/ Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst (Alan Blaylock Haulage Yamaha)
2/ Paul Kirby/Tom Kirby (KRT Racing Adolf RS Yamaha)
3/ Phil Bell/Carl Bell (Marin Motorsports Yamaha)

F2
1/ Peter Founds/Jevan Walmsley (Team Founds Racing LCF Honda)
2/ Daryl Gibson/Rhys Gibbons (CES Yamaha)
3/ Ryan/Callum Crowe (Haven Homes LCR Honda)

Round Two comes from Donington Park 9-21 May.

Photo credits: Charlotte Hewett

British Sidecars 2023 Season just four weeks away

British Sidecars 2023 Season just four weeks away

British Sidecars 2023 Season just four weeks away

Sidecar action from Brands Hatch

The winter rest period is over, and what a long, cold winter it has been.

The new-look British Sidecar Championship under the stewardship of former Grand Prix passenger Andy Peach, is shaping up to be a cracking series.

Kicking off at Oulton Park over the weekend of 29 April-1 May, the sidecars are a very popular class with the spectators, having grown massively in stature in recent years courtesy of Roger Body’s RKB-F1 organisational input.

Already guaranteed Eurosport TV coverage courtesy of the agreement to run five rounds with the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, and two more rounds outside of that framework, the championship has attracted a good number of entries, with a handful still to be confirmed.

Now open to F2 sidecars racing head-to-head, with a cup award for their efforts, the grid sizes promise to be back to full strength.

Early season entries are always a problem for F2 teams aiming for the Isle of Man TT in June, but you can certainly expect new names to appear as the season unfolds.

The current entry list includes champions past and present, in fact pretty much the cream of British sidecar racing with most of them committing to all rounds which they can attend.

Reigning World Champions Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement are back to defend their British title, former champions Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood are set to fight again for it, as indeed is Tim Reeves with Mark Wilkes alongside.

Now resident in The Netherlands, Tim has been plying his trade in Germany recently, but it will be good to see the eight times World Champion back on home soil in this seven-round series. You can be sure his competitive instinct burns as strongly as ever.

A full preview of the opener will be published in due course, but in the meantime, sit back and wait with anticipation as the three-wheeled brigade prepares to burst into action.

New season and a new look for the British Sidecar Championship

New season and a new look for the British Sidecar Championship

New season and a new look for the British Sidecar Championship

Sidecar action from Brands Hatch

This winter has seen frantic activity behind the scenes as the premier domestic sidecar race series grappled with the departure of its long-standing promoter RKB-F1 Motorsport.​ A small team of sponsors and ardent supporters with former Grand Prix competitor Andy Peach at the helm has rescued the series from an uncertain future. The title sponsor has yet to be confirmed, as budgets and funding are still being finalised, but everything else is in place in terms of infrastructure. Mike Dommett and his Bemsee organisation will handle the administration and entries.

A seven-round, fifteen-race championship calendar has been announced, with five rounds running alongside the Bennetts British Superbike Championship as before, with that relationship heading into its twelfth season. The BSB October finale at Brands Hatch will carry the now traditional double points structure. Eurosport TV have again pledged their support, with both races shown live, either on TV or the Eurosport App.

The two “stand alone” rounds are the ever-popular Cadwell Sidecar Revival in early August run and promoted by Roger Body. The Revival has grown year-on-year and is a firm favourite with the fans. Then comes a first for the series with a trip to Knockhill for the Jock Taylor Memorial early September. This annual event is run by Boris Stroud to commemorate the life and remarkable success of the Scottish World Champion. It will be a fitting tribute attracting the best sidecar racers in the country as the long F1 outfits do battle with their shorter cousins over the 1.3-mile lap.

The ravages of the pandemic are now behind us, although the impact of the disruption is still being felt in many areas of sport. Dwindling sidecar grids were an unwelcome feature during 2022, so that problem needed addressing.

A change of regulations will now see both short and long chassis outfits competing head-to-head, with three classes as follows.

1/ GP Class (long F1 chassis, Minimum weight 370 kilos),
2/ Cup Class (long F1 chassis, minimum 395 kilos),
3/ F2 Class (FSRA rules minimum 370 kilos).

The points system is revised in line with the changes announced for the BSB other classes. This will give added spice to the track action, whilst keeping grid sizes high.

We will continue to bring you all the news and stories as they unfold, with our website now dedicated solely to the British series.

The 2023 calendar is –

April 29-May 1 – Oulton Park BSB
May 19-21 – Donington Park BSB
July 7-9 – Snetterton BSB
August 5-6 – Cadwell Revival
August 11-13 – Thruxton BSB
September 2-3 – Knockhill Jock Taylor
October 13-15 – Brands Hatch BSB

Entries are now open, so those wishing to compete in 2023 must apply to mikedommett@hotmail.com at Bemsee for the entry form and series details.

Entries close on 31 March.

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.

Qualifying

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.

Result

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.

Podium

Result

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

Ellis/Clement

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

Birchalls

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.

Qualifying

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.

Result

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.

Result

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.

Standings

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.

The cat is away, so who will play, 1-2 October at Donington Park?

The cat is away, so who will play, 1-2 October at Donington Park?

The cat is away, so who will play, 1-2 October at Donington Park?

Christies at Snetterton

The British Sidecar Championship goes to Donington Park without the series leaders present to enhance their advantage. Santander Salt Racing’s Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement are away in Germany protecting their lead in the FIM Sidecar World series, which is also reaching its conclusion.

That leaves the door wide open for second in the title stakes Sam and Tom Christie (CES Yamaha) to dramatically close the gap. They cannot however, overhaul Ellis/Clement who enjoy a fifty-five-point cushion currently, with one more round to go after Donington. That round at Brands Hatch carries double points however, so the title is far from won, even at this late stage.

Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney sit third, a further forty-one points behind the Christies, so the Express Tyres Services Yamaha is still in with a shout, albeit a distant one. They appeared in the distinctive blue DAO1886 livery at Snetterton and that is expected to continue.

Ben and Tom Birchall made a debut 2022 appearance at Snetterton taking one race win and second place in the other, moving immediately into the lower order of the rankingsm with forty-five points. They are more than likely be at the sharp end again at Donington Park, so will steal big points from the title contenders. This will inadvertently assist Ellis’s cause.

George Holden and Oscar Lawrence crashed in a big way at Snetterton severely damaging their Holden Racing Kawasaki. It is therefore doubtful if they will re-appear at all this season due to the sheer amount of work and cost involved to repair it. Having said that, do not be surprised if they somehow scrape onto the grid, because an overall fourth place finish is at stake and determination can weave magic spells.

The top four are well clear of the chasing bunch, but Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst, and Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde have Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor and a rapidly improving Andy Peach/Anthony Hildige breathing down their collective necks. Just nineteen points split these four crews for the fifth-place spot, so expect a battle royal there.

Also heading for Germany are Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson (L&W Contractors Yamaha), so they will not improve their standing in the British table ahead of Brands. They have a respectable placing in the FIM rankings to defend.

Once again, Eurosport will cover both races live, although 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.

Photo credits: Barry Clay

One apiece for Birchalls and Ellis/Clement at sunny Snetterton

One apiece for Birchalls and Ellis/Clement at sunny Snetterton

One apiece for Birchalls and Ellis/Clement at sunny Snetterton

Birchalls at Snetterton

There was a sombre mood across the paddock early on Friday morning following the announcement of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the previous evening. The MSVR organisers moved back the start time for Friday practice and scheduled an hour of “quiet period” at lunch time during which no engines would be run or track activity take place. Given the series’ title is “The British Superbike Championship” these measures were entirely appropriate.

Happily, there were several more teams present than in previous rounds, so we were looking forward to a busy weekend and close racing. Free practice across most classes took place in mixed weather conditions, but it was dry with patchy sun for the one sidecar session late on Friday afternoon.

Ben and Tom Birchall (Birchall Racing Haith Honda), along with series leaders Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha) headed the field in the early stages of free practice, but well shy of lap record pace. Half-distance and Ellis took out another second, gathering pace and momentum all the time. The top four regulars ran fastest with the added interest of the Birchall Brothers high on the list as we might have expected, with newcomers Luke Williams/Jason Pitt the best of the rest. Already this was pointing towards a Birchall versus Ellis battle but qualifying would show the real picture. The Christie brothers (CES Yamaha), and Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (Express Tyre Services Yamaha) sporting Dao 1886 livery, were strong in contention ahead of George Holden/Oscar Lawrence. Luke Williams sneaked ahead of Holden with three minutes left on the clock.

Christies at Snetterton

Qualifying

The weather was dull and grey early morning but improved as the day unfolded. By the time the sidecars got out for qualifying, the sun had dried the track in parts, but there were still tricky areas to be mindful of.

Craig Currie was late to the start and was almost locked out of the session but scraped in through a side gate to make his mark.

Coram, the fast right-hander towards the end of the lap, was wet, and caught out several teams, with Todd Ellis spinning at high speed, and the Birchall brothers doing the same twice. Both teams avoided contact with anything, but the same is not true of George Holden/Oscar Lawrence who locked up under the bridge and totally wrecked the bike, hitting the barrier hard.

The expected clash between the Birchalls and Todd Ellis did eventually materialise, with the Honda of Birchall on top of the pile in the closing stages. As conditions improved, Ellis/Clement upped the pace, claiming pole position by over one tenth of a second on their final flying lap. The time of 2.00.974 was way off lap-record pace, but conditions were far from ideal for record speeds. Ben and Tom Birchall would join them on the front row. The Christie brothers were next up, with Blackstock/Rosney close behind. Then newcomers Luke Williams/Jason Pitt headed Craig Currie/Justin Sharp for fifth and sixth. Andy Peach and Anthony Hildige had a great ride to lead Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde home for seventh and eighth fastest.

Andy Peach at Snetterton

Race One

The sun was very low in the sky as the lights went out, so much so, that Ben Birchall didnot get a clear view and almost missed the boat. He was fourth away as the others moved and had to fight back as a result. Ellis/Clement got a flyer and took the lead into Riches.

Sam and Tom Christie went with them, with Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney holding the Birchalls at bay for the early part of the lap. They quickly moved third, but the Christie brothers were a harder nut to crack. Once past them, Ben and Tom set after the race leaders and the two crews had a good scrap, with the Haith Honda determined to find a way past. Todd Ellis kept his cool, even when Ben Birchall came alongside at Riches as a dress rehearsal. Next lap he tried the same move, got his nose in front, went a little bit sideways and Ellis clipped the rear of the Honda. Both outfits slewed, with Ellis/Clement taking to the grass on the exit. They spent the rest of the race recovering and closing on the new leaders. They were close at the end, but the chance had gone. On their way to victory the Birchall brothers claimed the fastest lap, albeit outside their own lap record. Behind, the Christies were never far off the back, staying within five seconds of the two leaders the entire race. Blackstock and Rosney took the Express Tyre Services Yamaha to another solid fourth.

Race action from Snetterton

Andy Peach with Anthony Hildige alongside, had arguably his best race this season, and enjoyed a good battle mid-pack finishing sixth, with Rupert Archer also part of that action until he retired. Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst, from the back row fought through well and were looking impressive. Sadly, they too, were to expire into pit lane once more. There were decent scraps all the way down, with Craig Currie/Justin Sharp ten seconds behind Peach, having overhauled Kevin Cable/Chaz Richardson.

Result

1/ Birchall/Birchall (Haith Honda)
2/ Ellis/Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
3/ Christie/Christie (CES Yamaha)
4/ Blackstock/Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha)
5/ Luke Williams/Jason Pitt (Williams Yamaha)
6/ Andy Peach/Anthony Hildige (Lifesafety Yamaha)
7/ Craig Currie/Justin Sharp (Birchall Racing Honda)
8/ Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson (L&W Contractors Yamaha)
9/ Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor (Centurion Packaging Honda)
10/ Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor (Vinyls 4U Adolf RS)

Race two

The sun was out again on Sunday, and there was a score to be settled. A reverse grid always throws up an interesting race and this one was another cracker.

Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson dived through from row two as the lights went out to lead off the line. It was short lived, as they were three abreast into Riches for the first time, with Andy Peach/Anthony Hildige also getting a flyer to nose alongside on the exit. Sam and Tom Christie were very quick to establish their place at the front, making a great start to lead at the end of lap one. The opening lap was crazily busy with outfits swarming right and left to make the most of the advantage. Half-way round the lap, Luke Williams and Jason Pitt lost the back end, spun, and capsized without injury. Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement meanwhile, had fought through from row five, weaving through the lead bunch, taking the Birchall brothers with them two outfits back.

Ben and Tom were third on lap two, moving past the Christies one lap later. Also riding well were Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney who made it through to fifth, and into fourth shortly after.

The pattern was then set for the race, with Ellis/Clement out in front from Birchall/Birchall, and the Christies chasing in a strong third, from Blackstock/Rosney.

Dean Nicholls had a problem at the back of the grid and slowed. They ran in eleventh for the entire race, eventually retiring on lap nine ahead of Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor. Craig Currie/Justin Sharp moved up one place from their start position, but whilst enjoying a good scrap with Andy Peach and Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst, were unable to improve beyond sixth, until the final lap when an intermittent problem slowed the Christies and dropped them down to seventh ahead of Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde. The Beverly based team suspected a quick-shifter issue, so will have that sorted for the next round. Sadly, they did not need to drop points at this stage, but at least they finished and maintained a full house of scores. Currie/Sharp, along with Simon Robinson and everyone else behind the CES Yamaha, profited from the Christies’ misfortune. Most delighted were Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney who took the Express Tyre Services Yamaha with its new Dao1886 livery to their first podium since early August at the Cadwell Revival.

Race action from Snetterton

Kevin Cable meanwhile had been very active in scrapping with the Honda of Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor to finish ninth and tenth respectively.

This was yet another best performance by Andy Peach (Lifesafety Yamaha) in many races, and he was to end up fourth within sight of sixth place in the standings. At the front, Ellis/Clement never looked back, opening a two second margin at one point, but that was shaved down to under one second on the final lap, with the Birchalls again setting the fastest lap of the race on their way to runner-up spot.

On a sad and sombre weekend, the sidecars gave a thoroughly entertaining and disciplined display, covered live on the Eurosport App/Player. Both races will be available shortly on the RKB-F1 YouTube channel.

Result

1/ Ellis/Clement
2/ Birchall/Birchall
3/ Blackstock/Rosney
4/ Peach/Hildige
5/ Currie/Sharp
6/ Robinson/Fairhurst
7/ Christie/Christie
8/ Archer/Hyde,
9/ Cable/Richardson
10/ Clarke/Ensor
11/ Hauxwell/Taylor

Standings

Ellis/Clement 320
Christie/Christie 265
Blackstock/Rosney 224
Holden/Lawrence 172
Robinson/Fairhurst 117
Archer/Hyde 103
Hauxwell/Taylor 99
Peach/Edwards/Hildige 98
Clarke/Ensor 66
Cable/Richardson 63
Birchall/Birchall 45

The next and penultimate round is at Donington Park – September 30/October 2.

Photo credits: Barry Clay

Bumper Bank Holiday bonus for Ellis/Clement in Cadwell spectacle

Bumper Bank Holiday bonus for Ellis/Clement in Cadwell spectacle

Bumper Bank Holiday bonus for Ellis/Clement in Cadwell spectacle

Ellis/Clement race action

Back at the Lincolnshire circuit where they dominated just four weeks ago, series leaders Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement were back for more over the August Bank Holiday weekend. A crunch meeting for the British Superbike Championship ensured a massive trackside crowd in party mood. The action was also scheduled to be screened live on Eurosport and Quest.

Qualifying

As with previous rounds, the grid size was smaller than normal, but the quality was high at the front. In free practice, Ellis/Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha) showed their class with a time just one second off lap record pace. Sam and Tom Christie were close behind, with Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney frustrated by a speed deficit. George Holden/Oscar Lawrence maintained the pace which had carried them to fourth in the title chase. With the clock now ticking for twenty minutes of the real session, the gloves were off.

A change of exhaust system was tried by Blackstock/Rosney to find the missing horses, hoping that would allow them closer to the front men. They had started this campaign in fine style but had slipped back in recent weeks and were now playing catch-up. There was added interest in the first showing this year of Lee Crawford on the long bike, partnered now by the experienced Jake Lowther.

Blackstock/Rosney

Rob Biggs/Jason Pitt had completed free practice with no sign of the gremlins which plagued them all season and ran strongly in the early stages moving second fastest to Ellis/Clement. Ten minutes in, and the Christie brothers were left in Ellis’s wake as he banged in a 1.31.924.

Speed trap times showed Blackstock still off the pace where it mattered, although they held fourth behind a delighted Biggs/Pitt. Their new-found speed was a revelation and something to celebrate. All the indicators pointed to a great battle for the podium places, with five crews all around the same pace behind Ellis/Clement. In the closing stages, the Christies moved to under one second behind Ellis, maintaining their challenging pace. Holden’s Kawasaki was very quick through the speed traps, and that is where he seemed to score as he and Oscar shot to third quickest.

Biggs kept Crawford at bay to stay fourth fastest, with Blackstock in sixth, still perplexed.

Race One

Another glorious day had turned into a cooler situation by the time the teams formed up late afternoon. Qualifying potentially, had thrown up a five-way scrap between the leading bunch. That proved to be the case as the lights went out, with Blackstock/Rosney, George Holden/Oscar Lawrence and the Christie brothers’ side by side, getting the better of the pole position Santander Salt bike of Ellis/Clement. The Christies came out better and led lap one, losing out to a determined Ellis at Park Corner on lap two. Rob Biggs/Jason Pitt were going strongly in the mix, slotting fourth and looking more like the Biggs we know. Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther were also very much in touch, as Blackstock and the Christies tangled at the foot of the mountain, dropping Blackstock into the clutches of Holden. This gave Sam Christie the chance he needed to break clear, which he eventually did.

Christie Racing

Crawford/Lowther moved into third, but George Holden had other ideas. This four-way scrap was very entertaining and raged for a few laps with Blackstock throwing everything he had at anyone in front. It was all in vain because he was simply outgunned. Holden just had to get by Crawford once Sam and Tom Christie had moved into a safe second place, and he tried the move down towards the chicane before the mountain. This resulted in a sideways slew and effectively handed the final podium spot to Lee Crawford. The newcomers were delighted with their first trip to the box and will be looking for more. Meanwhile, race leaders Ellis/Clement had calmly breezed to a new lap record of 1.31.264 on lap three and victory number ten in what is proving to be a stellar season.

Rob Biggs/Jason Pitt were unable to make the best of their early showing from the start when they ran wide out of Mansfield when in sixth, kissing the barrier on the right side of the track. It then transpired Rob had other issues which caused them to retire from the action. Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst had a solid sixth ahead of Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde.

Down the field was an equally exciting scrap involving Andy Peach/Ken Edwards and Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor. This whole race was an absolute testament to sidecar racing, and but for a long delay in the earlier Superbike race, would certainly have enthralled and delighted a live TV audience. Nonetheless, those fans watching on the live stream were treated to a magnificent show.

Andy Peach

It was action from lights to flag and once more demonstrated the incredible talents of the series leaders who are now possibly dreaming of double titles at World and National level.

Result

1/Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha)
2/Sam and Tom Christie (CES Yamaha)
3/Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther (ARC Kawasaki LCR)
4/George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Holden Racing Kawasaki)
5/Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR Express Tyre Services Yamaha)
6/Simon Robinson/Mick Fairhurst (24 Seven Couriers Yamaha)
7/Rupert Archer/Phil Hyde (Hannafin Adolf RS Yamaha)
8/Andy Peach/Ken Edwards (Lifesafety Yamaha)
9/Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor (Centurion Packaging/CYB Glass Fibre Yamaha, 10/Craig Hauxwell/Derek Taylor (Hazbeans Racing Yamaha).

Race Two

The weather had cooled considerably from previous days, but once again the skies brightened for the late afternoon race. As with Cadwell tradition, the reverse grid option was abandoned, and qualifying times dictated the formation.

Once again, a determined charge from the line saw the Christie boys neck and neck with Ellis into Coppice. Lewis Blackstock had his sidecar wheel on the grass as he fought to gain a couple of places but was thwarted in the attempt. If there were a reward for sheer effort in the face of adversity this weekend, Blackstock/Rosney get my vote. George Holden found himself behind Rob Biggs and Lee Crawford on lap one, with Biggs/Pitt absolutely flying this time out.

Race action from Cadwell Park

Sam Christie is growing in confidence daily, and he led the pack into lap two. The favoured passing place for Ellis was Park Corner, and again he used it to perfection. Once ahead, that is where he and Emmanuelle stayed, chased hard by the Christies for at least half the race. The battle for the lead was now firmly on, with Ellis/Clement yet again breaking their own lap record set earlier in the weekend. A new time of 1.31.100 was indeed fresh and uncharted territory. Even if the old guard of former World Champions were to return to the fray, this would be a hard nut to crack. With eleven wins from eleven starts, this has been an incredible season for the Anglo-French pairing. The new kids on the block are in town and you’d better believe it.

The leading two crews then cleared off, as Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther in third headed a freight-train of Biggs, Holden and Blackstock. These four outfits were welded together lap after lap, with ever desperate measures taken by all crews behind the very calm-headed Crawford. He’s a big presence on and off track and was proving impossible to pass. Once more, the spectacle of this dogfight was something to behold for the huge crowd all around the circuit who stayed to watch the final race. They were not disappointed and applauded universally when the chequered flag came out. Further down the field, Rupert Archer overshot Park Corner, and once on the grass was heading for the tyre wall. He avoided contact, but by that time passenger Phil Hyde had abandoned ship. Back at the front, it was lap six before Holden/Lawrence had dived through along the bottom stretch with Biggs/Pitt repeating the move two laps later. This was the Rob Biggs of old and was good to see.

Race action

Despite his best efforts, Blackstock’s Yamaha was no match for the Kawasaki of Crawford in terms of speed, the that is how they finished. Holden/Lawrence closed to within twenty- three points of third place in only their second full season.

Sam and Tom Christie, second in the standings, have never been off the podium including eight runner-up spots, and now trail Ellis by thirty-five points.

Result

1/Ellis/Clement
2/Christie/Christie
3/Holden/Lawrence
4/Biggs/Pitt
5/Crawford/Lowther
6/Blackstock/Rosney
7/Robinson/Fairhurst
8/Peach/Edwards
9/Clarke/Ensor
10/Hauxwell/Taylor

Standings

Ellis 275
Christie 240
Blackstock 195
Holden 172
Robinson 107
Archer 95
Hauxwell 87
Peach 74
Clarke 52
Cable 47
Biggs 38
Kirby 35
Crawford 27

The next round comes from the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk 9-11 September.

Photo credits: Barry Clay

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