British F1 Sidecar Championship News

Round 3 - Reeves works hard for double victory at Knockhill

The British F1 Sidecar Championship was back alongside the premier British Superbike Championship series at Knockhill over the weekend and they certainly proved to be two eventful races for the three-wheelers. However, it was reigning champions Tim Reeves and Gregory Cluze who overcame everything that was thrown at them and they took both of the race wins to extend their Championship lead.

With wet conditions throughout the first two days, it was Reeves and Cluze who dominated all of practice and it was they who took pole position by just over half a second from Barry James/Jamie Winn with the Irish pairing of John Clarke and Stuart Graham taking a season's best third a fraction ahead of local stars Scott Lawrie/James Neave. However, in Saturday's opening 18-lap race it was Reeves/Cluze and James/Winn who repeated their battle from Brands Hatch just over a month ago.

Reeves led at the end of the opening lap but James was right in his wheeltracks and the duo exchanged fastest laps as they pulled away from the rest of the field. After three laps there was less than half a second between them whilst an entertaining battle for third between Andy Peach/Charlie Richardson, Lawrie/Neave, Phil Bell/Ashley Hawes and Ben Holland/Lee Watson was taking place five seconds further back but Clarke and Graham were out of luck as they spun out at the hairpin. At the front Reeves and Cluze began to edge away and, as they tried to respond, James and Winn flipped the outfit and crashed out causing the race to be red flagged.

Re-started over 8 laps, Reeves and Cluze again grabbed the holeshot and this time it was Lawrie/Neave who took the challenge to them. At half race distance, the English driver still only led by just over half a second with Bell, Peach and Ben Bygrave/Calum Lawson occupying 3rd to 5th, only 0.1s separating the latter two. On lap 5 though, Reeves/Cluze added half a second to their lead something they did for the rest of the race and they eventually took the chequered flag 2.4s ahead of Lawrie/Neave. Bell and Hawes were comfortable in third as were Bygrave/Lawson in a season's best fourth but the race for fifth went all the way to the end, Peach/Richardson just edging out Holland/Watson by 0.3s.

The rain abated for Sunday's 18-lap race with the crews getting a dry race and it was Lawrie who this time shot into the lead on the opening lap and by lap 3 he'd built up a 1.4s cushion over Reeves with Bell in third followed by a group comprising Peach, Bygrave, Lovelock and Holland, James one further place back in 8th. As the race approached half race distance, Reeves began to lap quicker than Lawrie, reducing the lead down to just 0.016s and on lap 8 he was in the lead as the Scotsman ran into gearbox problems and dropped back to third.

Reeves now had a six-second lead but a slow ninth lap dropped him back into the clutches of Bell whilst Lawrie now had a battle on his hands for third with Peach right behind him. Indeed, by lap 12, Lawrie's troubles were worsening and he slipped all the way back to 8th, the top six now reading Reeves, Bell, Peach, James, Lovelock and Bygrave, just three tenths of a second between Peach and James. However, on lap 13 the red flag came out, James and Winn again crashing out and so the result stood with Reeves the winner from Bell, Peach, Lovelock, Bygrave and Holland and the unlucky Lawrie in seventh.

The results mean that Reeves/Cluze now have 165pts to lead second placed Lawrie/Neave by 65 points. They're followed by Bell/Hawes (83), Peach/Richardson (80, Lovelock/Lawrence (77) and the unlucky James/Winn (70).

Race 1 (8 laps): 1st Reeves/Cluze (LCR Honda), 2nd Lawrie/Neave (LCR Suzuki) +2.435s, 3rd Bell/Hawes (LCR Suzuki) +6.230s, 4th Bygrave/Lawson (LCR Suzuki) +10.626s, 5th Peach/Richardson (LCR Suzuki) +13.038s, 6th Holland/Watson (LCR Suzuki) +13.340s

Race 2 (13 laps): 1st Reeves/Cluze (LCR Honda), 2nd Bell/Hawes (LCR Suzuki) +3.158s, 3rd Peach/Richardson (LCR Suzuki) +13.139s, 4th Lovelock/Lawrence (LCR Suzuki) +17.019s, 5th Bygrave/Lawson (LCR Suzuki) +20.009s, 6th Holland/Watson (LCR Suzuki) +21.894s

Round 4 of the Championship takes place at the new Snetterton 300 circuit on July 9/10.

Phil Wain: Freelance PR

Photos from Round 3 - Knockhill

Copyright: Photos: Mark "Wally" Walters

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