Words – Tim Langham / Photographs – Dirk Wharton; Jenny Wells; Richard Hindmarch.
2021 saw a step towards a return to normality following a truncated 2020 season, which had been one of cancellations and restrictions in the world of motor racing. Lee Crawford and Scott Hardie had a dominant year campaigning their LCR Suzuki F2, which ran faultlessly throughout, and also made their F600 debut on a recently acquired LCR Kawasaki with hugely encouraging results.
It is with huge regret that RKB-F1 announces the cancellation of the planned round at Brands Hatch over the weekend of 15-17 October. Many of you will recall that last season we ran a Santander Salt/Bonovo two round series under the guise of the International Sidecar Superprix in which we had a mixed grid of World and National Championship teams. This was a one-off series which provided a pragmatic solution to a catastrophically disrupted season and delivered a spectacle of 26 teams to an International TV audience
A distinctly winter feel greeted the crews at Donington with heavy rain and wind on Friday. Saturday was another tricky day with the organisers moving the schedule to fit the weather which was predicted to deteriorate as the day unfolded. Free practice saw a good performance by John Holden, with the Birchall brothers distinctly faster in the dry. They expressed concern that Avon had not brought enough of the new wet radial rear tyre with them. So, they would be obliged to use the older cross-ply version which did not perform as well.
There was a great turnout for this German round including a strong British contingent. The Oschersleben Sidecar Festival featured a round of the German IDM Championship, ensuring Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau and Bennie Streuer/Jeroen Remme had a busy weekend.
Qualifying took place in bright sunshine with Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement setting second fastest time on the Santander Salt Yamaha behind series leaders Schlosser/Fries with a lap of 1.31.986. Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau (Bonovo Action Yamaha) were fourth behind Streuer/Remme. Q2 and it was more of the same in equally great weather conditions. This series is firmly a four-horse race with Reeves, Streuer, Ellis and Schlosser setting the pace at the front. These four crews filled the front rows, with Pekka Pavairinta/Ilse de Haas also very strong. There was also a good showing form Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood leading the rest of the pack.
With eleven victories from thirteen outings Ben and Tom Birchall (Haith Honda) head for Donington Park on target for the championship. But for the double points on offer in the Brands Hatch finale, they would be home and dry anyway, However, Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney still have a mathematical chance of stealing the title. Their record of podiums is equally impressive, having only missed out twice.
Maria Costello MBE will race on both two and four wheels when she competes in the prestigious Goodwood Revival at the weekend (September 17-19). The Northamptonshire racer was the first woman to be invited to race in the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy races in 2019 and has been racing classic motorcycles at the event ever since.
Maria with the MG YB she will race with owner Richard Colburn Image credit: Mark Saunders
The Revival provides the perfect backdrop and racing track for a historic themed meeting that recreates the glorious days of glamorous motor sport. Formula One legend Jenson Button and 23 times TT winner John McGuinness are among those taking part in a packed programme that will see Maria compete in both motorcycle races and the St Mary’s Trophy car race and become the first woman to race both classic two wheeled and four wheeled machinery.
Both races are a two-rider or driver affair. Maria will team up with Gordon Russell on a 1961 Norton Manx 30M owned by his wife Sally Russell (who is also the Deputy Clerk of the Course for the bike races). The race is run in two parts and starts on Saturday in Le Mans style with one rider running across the track to leap on the running bike held by their team-mate and concludes with the second half held on the Sunday.
Classic car racing is still something new for Maria who was given her first experiences on four wheels thanks to Julius Thurgood, who runs the HRDC. He introduced Maria to her Revival team mate Richard Colburn, who is running three cars alongside his two sons, James and Ben, and their team-mates. Maria and Richard will be sharing a 1953 MG YB in the St Mary’s Trophy two-part race that runs on Saturday and Sunday.
Maria said: “I always feel so privileged to be invited to compete at the Revival. It’s an absolute highlight of the motorsport calendar and I love every moment, from the dressing up in period costume to racing on this incredibly fast track onboard classic machinery. I adore the nostalgia and heritage that is brought to life. I didn’t think it could get any better but having the opportunity to race both two and four wheels has done that, I want to thank everyone who has made this possible and I can’t wait to savour the amazing experience and atmosphere!”
Maria gets to try out the Russell Manx Norton in a CRMC parade. By Neil Kirby
The circuit is just one part of the period backdrop. The glamorous costumes of the era are worn by all who attend, including spectators, and the sights and sounds of the racing along with all the additional entertainment take you back to the halcyon days of motorsport, to find out more & buy your event tickets/hospitality head to the Goodwood Revival website.
Words – Tim Langham (F.S.R.A. Press Officer / Photos – Bryan Gough)
There was a memorable return for the first British F2 Sidecar Championship races to be held in Scotland for almost two decades. Knockhill served up some first-class racing, with new lap records achieved in both the Super F2 and Cup classes as the final placings were decided at the end of a fascinating season – which whilst disrupted by the “Covid-19” pandemic – was a credible six round series, featuring thirteen points scoring races.
Maria Costello MBE continues to improve in sidecar racing despite a stand-in passenger at the BMCRC-MRO Championship at Donington Park last weekend. Looking to build on the previous meeting’s positive race results at Croft with the FSRA British Championship, the pairing of Maria and passenger Vicky were keen to return to Donington Park with increased confidence as they felt they had unfinished business there after a lacklustre event earlier in the year.
Fresh from double victory in the German national championship in which they defeated main rivals Tim Reeves and Markus Schlosser, Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement had every reason to feel buoyant ahead of this home series round. In free practice, it became clear this would be a renewal of the battle between the Santander Salt pairing, and the Haith Honda of Ben and Tom Birchall. They had edged free practice by seven one-hundredths of a second.
Well into the second half of the season, Ben and Tom Birchall have taken the lion’s share of victories, having been defeated just twice. The only crew running them close on a regular basis is the Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney duo on the DHR/Express Tyre Service Yamaha. Last time out at Cadwell Park, inclement weather conditions played a part, with Blackstock/Rosney just one second behind at the flag. They sit second in the table by a comfortable margin. It was in similar weather conditions one month ago, also at Cadwell, that World Championship runners Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement took the Santander Salt Yamaha to twin victories ahead of the Birchalls and will be looking to do the same at Snetterton.
The 2021 FIM World Championship is well and truly alive and kicking. Even with a grid depleted by COVID and travel restrictions, all the main players were on duty in Rijeka, welcomed with open arms by an enthusiastic crowd at the Automotodrom Grobnik. Eleven teams made the long journey, with three trekking from the UK. Former eight-times World Champion Tim Reeves with his French passenger Kevin Rousseau set the standard in free practice, from series leaders Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries (Gustoil Yamaha). Third and fourth came Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha) followed by reigning British Champions Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood.
Despite adverse weather, the second visit to Lincolnshire in two weeks delivered great racing in front of by far the biggest crown in almost two years. A clash with the FIM World Championship in Croatia kept numbers low, but every single team on the grid meant business in efforts to catch the unstoppable Ben and Tom Birchall. Scott Lawrie had completely rebuilt his outfit following his big crash two weeks ago.
Maria Costello MBE enjoyed a weekend of racing both her sidecar and the Mark Coverdale Paton at the North East Motorcycle Racing Club’s Battle of Britain meeting that featured a round of the FSRA F2 British Championship at Croft. Racing at the North Yorkshire track for the first time, Maria took the Mark Coverdale Paton as well as her sidecar to Dalton-on-Tees to help with learning the track she had never seen before.
Maria & Vicky qualifying for the FSRA race in the wet. Image Credit: Brian Blackett