The 2021 season bursts into life at Oulton Park over the weekend of June 25-27th with a bumper grid, some new names, but with some notable teams missing.
The FIM World Championship in Hungary claims the attention of Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau, reigning British Champion Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood, Kevin Cable and Kyle Masters, and 2019 Champions Todd Ellis/Charlie Richardson. This could well be a case of “when the cat’s away”, but that only makes the excitement and opportunity at Oulton more intense. With two races on the programme at the spectacular Cheshire circuit, there is much to play for.
Exactly a year had passed since the last “real road race” for sidecars in the U.K., and it was the Oliver’s Mount International Gold Cup meeting, hosted by 243 Racing which had the honour of being the only such meeting to run in 2020.
A full grid of sidecars had entered, and some excitement prior to the event had been generated with the news that multi world champions and TT winners Ben and Tom Birchall had entered, and were to make their racing debut around the 2.43 mile North Yorkshire parkland circuit aboard their LCR Honda. However, they were to face stiff competition from regulars Lee Crawford / Scott Hardie (LCR Suzuki); Conrad Harrison / Andy Winkle (Bellas Honda) and Steve and Matty Ramsden (LCR Honda).
The Cadwell Park circuit hosted a Bemsee Club meeting with the opening British F1 Sidecar round as a central feature. Friday was an open test day, and everyone took advantage of the opportunity to get back in the groove.
Birchall Racing look back at their hugely impressive 2019 racing season – claiming third overall in the FIM Sidecar World Championship, while successfully defending their Sidecar TT crown by doing the double once again on the iconic Isle of Man Mountain Course.
Multiple champions, Ben and Tom Birchall will be taking some time away from racing in the “FIM World Championship”. At the last round of 2019 in “Estoril” Portugal, “Birchall Racing” sold their former championship-winning “LCR” Yamaha to Dutch sidecar driver Kees Endeveld. This left some people wondering would the Birchall Brothers, Ben and Tom start the 2020 season with a new “LCR” chassis, powered with Yamaha engines.
Unfortunately, this is not to be. It was decided by the team that it was time to take a break from racing on the world scene to spend more time with their young families, continue to develop their LCR chassis and focus their racing efforts closer to home on the smaller F2 machine.
Driver Ben said, “It was a very hard decision to make, but if I was totally honest, I was not really enjoying my racing at the world level. A lot of things have happened over the last couple of years. By spending more time in the UK, we can focus on racing the F2 outfit as well as having longer to enjoy family life and develop the LCR bikes even more. There’s definitely more development that we can do to the F2 machine, but as for the F1 chassis, we would like to develop and try to improve that too, but it will be hard, as it’s nearly perfect as it is.”
Ben and Tom have been racing together every year since 2004.
But remember people, this is not retirement; this is taking some time out racing the F1 Chassis. Let’s hope the Birchall Brothers, Ben and Tom, will be back in the world championship paddock very soon.