Author: Barry Nutley

RKB-FIM-Superside

Sidecar Festival to provide classic backdrop for round seven

The Motorsport Arena of Oschersleben, mid-way between Hanover and Berlin is the scene of the penultimate round in the FIM Championship 2022.

The popular and demanding 2.3-mile-long circuit will welcome Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha) as series leaders on September 30-October 2 after a six week break in World Championship activities.

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Molson British Sidecars

One apiece for Birchalls and Ellis/Clement at sunny 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.

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Molson British Sidecars

Ellis and Clement take unbeaten form to Snetterton 300  

Snetterton preview from Barry Nutley – 10/11 September

With a full house of eleven victories from as many starts, the Santander Salt pairing of Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement will arrive in Norfolk in record breaking form over the weekend of 10-11 September.

Two weeks ago, at Cadwell Park they demolished the lap record twice to confirm the fastest ever three wheeled lap time. It remains to be seen if they can manage the same at the very fast and technical Snetterton 300 track.

They now enjoy a commanding lead in the points table from Beverley based Sam and Tom Christie on the CES Yamaha. They in turn are well clear of a somewhat frustrated Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha) who have suffered one DNF and a mysterious loss of speed since double victory at Knockhill propelled them to the head of the standings. They vowed to be at Snetterton with a fresh attitude and a quicker engine, so let us watch with interest how and if that pledge is fulfilled.

Closing rapidly in fourth with a string of podium finishes are George Holden and Oscar Lawrence on their Holden Racing Kawasaki. Their speed has steadily increased over the season, but they still must find the top podium step.

One year ago, Ben and Tom Birchall were double winners on this track on their way to the title, but they have yet to register an attendance or any points in the series this season. That should change, as they have signalled their intention to compete, along with fellow Birchall Racing teamsters Craig Currie and Justin Sharpe. The grid is much stronger than in previous weeks anyway with some new names joining the fray. Dean Nicholls and Belgian passenger Ruben Janssens are back to see the year out, and former car racer Luke Williams is down to join in the action. World runners Kevin Cable and Charlie Richardson (L&W Contractors Yamaha) are also on the list of returning crews. The Snetterton circuit is a favourite with teams and spectators alike and at this crucial stage in the championship is bound to deliver great racing action. 

Every round so far has been very close at the front, with great battles between the top four teams. Eurosport once again will cover both races either live TV or the Eurosport App.

Media  Matters – Barry Nutley               barry.nutley@btinternet.com

Fearsome Thruxton marks half-way stage in 2022 title chase

The Molson Group sidecars head for Hampshire over the weekend of August 12-14 at the mid-point of a topsy-turvy season. With some top crews absent in the early season rounds, Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney (DHR/Express Tyre Services Yamaha) had built a decent advantage going on to round three at Brands Hatch. A retirement cost them dear, compounded by double victory for Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement on the Santander Salt Yamaha. Last weekend, three more races at Cadwell Park Revival put a different complexion on the standings, with Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement emerging series leaders after ruling the roost with a devastating performance. They took three wins in Lincolnshire, smashing all known sidecar records along the way.

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Molson British Sidecars

Ellis/Clement masterclass at fantastic Cadwell Park Sidecar Revival

The weather was very kind, and the entry was superb across all classes for the fourth Cadwell Park Sidecar Revival. This Bemsee organised meeting is the only one outside of the British Superbike calendar and caters for all classes of sidecars ancient and modern.

Three races for the Molson Group F1 Championship with seventy-five points up for grabs were a meaningful target for all concerned, with Ben and Tom Birchall making their first appearance in the series this year.  Both they and Craig Currie/Justin Sharpe were out on their short chassis TT Honda engine projectiles. They would not be eligible to take points however, due to their technical specification, and chose to compete in the FSRA F2 category. Todd Ellis had a degree of experimentation with the new Ryde F1 chassis, putting it through its paces extensively in Friday testing with great success. This was home ground for Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement, and they would be going for it as usual. Trying to stop them would be the top two crews in the series, Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney and Sam/Tom Christie.

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RKB-FIM-Superside

Ellis and Kershaw take one each in Donington showcase event

The huge crowd at the Donington Park World SBK round witnessed stunning action from the Superside teams on one of the hottest weekends of the year.

Twelve crews had firm entries for this crucial Donington event, but UK Border Control officials eliminated French father and son team Ted and Vincent Peugeot before they even left France. Young Ted was prohibited from travelling due to his passport not having enough “safety margin”, in that it expired a matter of weeks from his due travel date. Once again, post Brexit legislation dealt a blow to sport, and to a particularly talented but cash-strapped crew.

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Molson British Sidecars

Double top for Ellis/Clement but Christies extend lead as Blackstock and Rosney falter

Photos by Ian English

An eclectic mix of competitors made for a very interesting grid at Brands Hatch for the third round.

From World and British Championship regulars and series leaders for both series, to new names and wild cards testing the water for the first time, the weekend was always going to have an unknown flavour. Certain predictions were inevitable, but equally there were surprises along the way. For the first time ever, the Santander Salt team featured two lady passengers, as Sarah Stokoe joined Rob Biggs alongside Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement. Sarah is well known in the sidecar world, partly as George Holden’s partner, but also for her exploits alongside multiple TT winner Rob Fisher in classic racing.

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RKB-FIM-Superside

Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement bring reduced lead to Donington Park 15-17 July

The Donington Park Round of World SBK will once again host the Superside family in the fifth round of what has been an outstanding Championship year.

Whilst grid numbers have not been high, we have witnessed fierce four and five-way battles at the front, and equally strong scraps all the way down. The half-hour highlights TV Show filmed at each round has extended the audience and attracted new viewers to the sport.

Marcus Schlosser/Marcel Fries (Gustoil Yamaha) have closed to within sixteen points of series leaders Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement. At the previous round in Croatia, the Santander Salt Yamaha failed to finish the second race, giving added impetus and encouragement to the defending champions. Last year at Donington Park, Schlosser suffered the same fate, so he will be hoping history does not repeat.

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RKB-FIM-Superside

One each for Kershaw/Charlwood and Ellis/Clement in Croatia

(Sorry no photos on this one, my mistake, too slow downloading and the link expired)

This famous track in Rijeka Croatia was the perfect setting to begin the second half of what has been a stunning season of racing so far.

The twenty-three-point advantage held by Santander Salt’s Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement would need protecting, as main rivals Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries knew full well that everything was still to play for at this stage of the year.

In scorchingly hot conditions, the teams prepared for a replay of the amazing racing from Hungary just a few days before. Free practice on the 2.6 miles circuit with its long straights, got underway prompt at 1pm on Friday. All teams spent the session in familiarisation and set-up, with no dramas or problems to report.

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Molson British Sidecars

Knockhill thrills as the title lead changes hands

From Barry Nutley

As the southern half of the UK basked in Mediterranean temperatures, Fife was a total contrast, with a very wet opening day on Friday.

A relatively small entry was amplified by a clash with the FIM World Championship in Hungary which kept the series leaders Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement away.

Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau also signalled a late change of plan and were not present, along with double TT winners Ben and Tom Birchall. This left the door well and truly open for others to capitalise.

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Molson British Sidecars

Knockhill awaits as Blackstock/Rosney eye up series lead 17-19 June


The Isle of Man TT has come and gone, the FIM World Championship has seen three rounds of great action involving last year’s top four teams, and now it is time to resume the domestic series at the popular Fife circuit of Knockhill.

The aim of second-placed Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney must surely be to amass as many points as possible in the absence of series leaders Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement. The Santander Salt duo will be defending their fourteen-point lead in the FIM World Championship in Hungary, leaving the door open for others to capitalise.

The Birchall Brothers Ben and Tom were early entries in Scotland, with their focus being to retain their British title. For 2022 they also plan to contest selected World rounds, but having missed just the Oulton Park opener, the appeal to stay at home is obvious. That opinion is shared by Birchall Racing team-mates Craig Currie and Justin Sharpe, although a good appearance at the Estoril World finale last season whetted their appetites for more international action.

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RKB-FIM-Superside

Ellis and Clement do the double in the Ardennes

Photos from the great Mark Walters

No fewer than seventeen crews took to the grid for this, the third round of the 2022 FIM Sidecar World Championship.

Absent on Isle of Man TT duty were Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau and Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes. Ordinarily, it might easily have been a case of “when the cat’s away”, but the two crews at the top of the standings maintained the pace which got them there and starred once more in Belgium.

Free practice saw Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha) edge out Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries (Gustoil Yamaha) and Benny Streuer/Kevin Kolsch (Bonovo Action Yamaha) to the tune of half a second.

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RKB-FIM-Superside

Legendary Spa circuit hosts World Championship round three, June 2-5th

From Barry Nutley

The sight of grand prix sidecars streaming through Eau Rouge and away along the Keppel Straight is a sight to stir even the most passive of motorsport fans. That is what to expect the weekend of June 2-5th when the third round of the FIM Sidecar World Championship again joins the FIM Endurance World Championship, this time at the famous 4.352 miles Ardennes circuit of Spa Francorchamps in Belgium.

Four races are already done with fierce battles up front. Young British star Todd Ellis (Santander Salt Yamaha) and French lady passenger Emmanuelle Clement, hold a slender four-point lead over reigning champions Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries. The Swiss Gustoil Yamaha team have been as strong as last season, earning universal respect for their skill and determination.

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RKB-FIM-Superside

Ellis/Clement leave Le Mans as championship leaders

photos by Mark Walters

The long wait for race action did not disappoint in France. The weather was perfect for the two races, and all the top teams completed qualifying successfully with one exception. The first session times were very close, with just eight tenths of one second splitting the top five. Previous new lap record holders Ted and Vincent Peugeot had their eyes opened with the pace, as they ended up sixth fastest behind Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau. A brilliant effort by Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes found them top of the pile just over one tenth quicker than Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement. Reigning Champions Schlosser/Fries came next ahead of Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood.

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