British F1 Sidecar Championship News

Round 2 - James and Winn star at Brands but Reeves continues to lead the way

The second round of the British F1 Sidecar Championship took place at Brands Hatch over the weekend and the full Grand Prix circuit played host to some terrific racing with Barry James taking his first ever race wins in the series. Partnered by Jamie Winn, James took two wins and a second in the three races but Championship leaders Tim Reeves/Gregory Cluze were close behind all the way and with one race win and a brace of seconds they were able to leave the Kent venue with an increased advantage of 44 points.

With dry, sunny conditions, Saturday’s opening race saw immediate drama when polesitters Reeves/Cluze suffered a broken chain as the lights turned green and behind them a three-outfit pile-up ensued as all the crews tried to avoid the stranded Reeves. Kevin Cable, Rod Robinson and Brian Gray were all involved and although all drivers and passengers were ok, subsequent machine damage kept them out of the rest of the meeting.

With time running out on Saturday, the race was carried over to Sunday and shortened to five laps but when it did get underway, it saw a titanic battle between Reeves/Cluze and James/Winn. It was the former that took control in the early stages ahead of Andy Peach/Charlie Richardson and James/Winn but the latter were steadily getting into their stride and they moved into 2nd on the second lap. A lap later they hit the front for the first time as the leading pair began to edge away from the rest of the field. There was nothing to choose between James and Reeves as they lapped the sweeping Grand Prix circuit and although Reeves tried everything he could to get the better of James, he was unable to make a pass stick and so James/Winn crossed the line at the end of the 5 laps to get the verdict by just 0.321s for their first ever British Championship win.

Further back, Peach/Richardson fell into the clutches of Scott Lawrie/James Neave and it was the Scottish driver who took over the final podium spot on lap 3, a position he was able to hold until the chequered flag. Peach had to settle for fourth a further 1.5s back with Roger Lovelock/Rick Lawrence coming through for fifth with Ben Holland/Lee Watson crossing the line in a somewhat lonely sixth.

The second race, held over the longer distance of 11 laps, saw a similar pattern unfold as Reeves and James again went head to head. The duo put on a superb show with positions changing hands with frequent regularity, the Championship leader holding onto the lead for the first 4 laps before James took over. He held on for two laps before Reeves reasserted himself at the front on lap 6 but the Santander Salt-sponsored driver was in determined mood and re-took the lead with just two laps remaining. Aided by the fastest lap of the race and, indeed, the weekend, James/Winn made it two wins from two starts with Reeves/Cluze again having to settle for second, this time 0.660s adrift.

The battle for third was equally fraught between Lovelock, Peach and Lawrie, the former holding onto the place until lap 7 when Peach seized control. All the time, Lawrie was keeping a watching brief and he moved into third on the tenth lap, holding on from Peach and Lovelock. Only 1.4s separated the trio at the chequered flag with Holland/Watson again crossing the line in sixth to maintain their consistent start to the season.

The third and final race saw Reeves/Cluze avenge their earlier defeats with a comfortable victory. There was plenty of drama further back though and although Holland crossed the line in 3rd place, he was missing his passenger Watson as he’d fallen out of the chair at Clearways and so he was removed from the results. The same fate had earlier befell Lovelock with Lawrence falling out on the run down to Graham Hill Bend on lap 4 but he was able to climb back in for an eventual 12th.

All of this meant that Peach/Richardson were finally able to claim their first podium of the season, just over half a second clear of Ben Bygrave/Callum Lawson who had their best result to date in fourth. John Clarke/Stuart Graham took fifth ahead of Lawrie/Neave, the pairing fighting their way back through the pack after slipping to ninth on lap 3.

Reeves/Cluze have extended their championship lead and now head the table on 115 points followed by Lawrie/Neave 71, James/Winn 70, Lovelock/Lawrence 55, Peach/Richardson 53 and Bell/Hawes 47.

The Championship moves North of the border now with round 3 taking place alongside the premier British Superbike series on June 17-19.

Phil Wain: Freelance PR

Photos from Round 2 - Brands Hatch GP

Copyright: Photos: Mark "Wally" Walters

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