Croft To Host Annual “Battle Of Britain” Races

Words – Tim Langham (FSRA Press Officer)
Photographs – Dirk Wharton

North Yorkshire’s Croft Circuit once again plays host to the annual “Battle Of Britain” race meeting – a unique weekend catering for two, three and four wheeled racing machines. The sidecar events have attracted a grid of over twenty teams, ranging from classic to F600, promising some entertaining racing right through the field.

Jointly hosted by Darlington and District Motor Club, and the North East Motorcycle Racing Club, there will be two eight lap races for sidecars each day, while several solo classes, scooters and a variety of cars will also be competing over the weekend.

Croft was to host the penultimate round of the A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. British F2 Sidecar Championship, and the sixth meeting of the F.S.R.A. / Lane Building Services Pre-Injection Sidecar Championship at this event. As readers are aware, both of these series were cancelled at an earlier date with much of the racing season decimated by the global pandemic, however, the F.S.R.A. have been pro-actively encouraging their members to support the clubs who have endeavoured to run the events in the face of adversity and uncertainty, and a good number of regular competitors from both series will indeed be racing at Croft.

Lee Crawford, Scott Hardie

Lee Crawford & Scott Hardie (LCR Suzuki), representing Team A.R.C. head the F2 category, and have proven themselves to be exceptionally difficult to beat at Croft in recent years, winning no fewer than four British F2 races there in the last two seasons. They were in dominant form at Mallory Park last month, taking four wins on lap record pace. Other F.S.R.A. regulars, including Conrad Harrison & Andy Winkle (Bellas Honda), Steve & Matty Ramsden (LCR Honda), Michael Kirkup & Arlo Brown (LCR Suzuki), Richard Hackney & Dave Ryder (CES Suzuki) and Chris Schofield & Adam Nix (Ireson Honda), will all be looking for valuable set-up time in preparation for next weekend’s International Gold Cup Road Races at Oliver’s Mount.

Todd and Chas

Another notable entry in the F2 category is that of reigning RKB-F1 Sidecar Champion, Todd Ellis, who currently sits second in this year’s standings. He will be joining forces with Jevan Walmsley, who has won the last four consecutive A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. British F2 titles alongside his regular driver, Pete Founds. Ellis and Walmsley will be racing Gary Bryan’s Baker Honda outfit, while Bryan will be competing on the F600 machine with Charlie Richardson, who is normally seen in the platform with Ellis!

Lewis Blackstock & Patrick Rosney have been concentrating on racing their F600 machine on the short circuits in recent months, but are expected to be running their F2 LCR Honda this weekend. The F600 outfits of Michael Bell & Graham Banfield (LCR Yamaha) and Rupert Archer & Ben Chandler will also be joining the remaining F2 outfits of John & James Saunders (Shelbourne Suzuki); Michael Boak & Sam Laidlow (Baker Yamaha) and Dave Schofield & Guy Pawsey (Windle Suzuki). Further entries have yet to be confirmed by the organisers, but several more were promised at the time of publishing.

Representing the Post Classic and Pre-Injection classes are Dave Tibbles & Raitch Greenwood (FJ Yamaha); Tony & Neil Wheatley (Ireson Yamaha) and Steve Brooks & Sharon Reeves (TBA).

When the 2020 racing calendar was revealed at the start of the year, the weekend of the 5th and 6th September initally listed no fewer than three U.K. road race meetings offering a classic sidecar race – again, fate has played it’s part with the cancellation of two of these meetings, and the removal of the other event which was running elsewhere as a guest class. As a result, there are a number of classic crews joining the sidecar grid this weekend – the B.M.W. outfits of Dave Lissiman & Mark Leeton, Tony Thirkell & Trevor Johnson and father and son duo Adrian & Bob Dawson will be doing battle with the twin-engined Weslake of Andy Nourish & Rob Child.

Unfortunately, owing to the ongoing CV-19 pandemic, there is NO spectator access to this event – as at the current time the venue did not feel that this could be safely policed. A reminder that teams MUST have e-mailed the details of their personnel to by 19.00 this evening (Wednesday) – these details will be checked at the gate on arrival, and are necessary for admission to the circuit.

The F.S.R.A. wish all competitors a safe and enjoyable weekend’s racing, and will provide a brief report of the sidecar events early next week.