Always with an eye to the future, Roger Body and his RKB-F1 organisational team are working hard to ensure that Hyundai Heavy Industries British Sidecar Championship continues to evolve and grow.
The thinking has always been to have the FIM World Championship, and the leading National Championships, of which the British is without doubt the strongest, to be aligned with similar, if not identical rules and operational format.
To that end, whilst the FIM chose to move exclusively to 600cc power plants for 2017 and ongoing, RKB-F1 implemented a compromise system which retained 1000cc engines as the main class, whilst introducing a 600cc Cup class option. This has been an outstanding success, and has given World series runners the chance to compete here in the UK when they do not have overseas races.
Additionally, it has allowed new talent to compete in Britain, which otherwise might have been absorbed into other domestic championships.
A 600 engine works very well in a long chassis, as Rookie Todd Ellis and Chaz Richardson showed by lifting the Cup class here in Britain.
The “solus 600” system introduced by the FIM, might possibly offer them a route back to WSBK or MotoGP events courtesy of Dorna, but thus far has not been the outstanding success they might have hoped for. In its inaugural year it was poorly supported in terms of grid numbers, and was run over a handful or rounds. Having said that, it produced another British World Championship success in terms of the FIM Gold Medal winners Ben and Tom Birchall.
Partly for that reason, the decision has been taken here in the UK, to continue through 2018 with the current format.
Grids in the RKB-F1 series have never been stronger, and with increased global TV exposure, as well as healthy live TV slots, the series is at an unprecedented level of awareness.
In principle, there will be no major changes to the rules and regulations, although the RKB-F1 team is constantly striving to fine-tune the series for maximum competitor and spectator benefit.
In essence, the key points are as follows -
A/ The premier British Championship class will remain as 1000cc for 2018.
B/ The 600cc Cup Class will continue as a class within the championship races.
C/ A view on the FIM World success/trend towards 600cc power will be taken for 2019
D/ Ten rounds with BSB are planned, with the possible inclusion of Mallory Park as an
E/ Weight limits on the 600cc class are being discussed/considered to maintain fairness
F/ Open ignition systems are to be permitted on the 600cc class with standard level
modifications to the top-end as permitted within the FIM rules for World Championship.
G/ Short chassis 600cc outfits will be permitted a level of tune as per FIM Supersport regulations.
H/ Wild Cards and foreign guest riders will need to register for the series, indicating which of a six round minimum they intend to contest. If this is done they will be eligible to score points. If fewer than six rounds are contested, this will preclude them from scoring points.
These are the key points applicable, whilst ongoing discussion and fine tuning will take place throughout the closed season to ensure that the championship is its best possible shape going forwards.