British F1 Sidecar Championship News

Round 6 - Reeves and Birchall share the spoils at Donington

Tim Reeves and Ben Birchall took a win apiece at an action packed Donington Park at the weekend in the latest round of the British F1 Sidecar Championship. Both of the 10-lap races around the 2.5-mile GP circuit saw drama aplenty but it was Reeves and Birchall who got to stand on the top step of the podium, the former extending his championship lead further with just five races remaining.

It was the Birchall, with brother Tom in the chair, that claimed pole position, some 0.723s clear of Reeves, but when the lights turned green for Saturday's opening 10-lap race it was Reeves and passenger Gregory Cluze who grabbed the holeshot, eventually going on to record a start to finish victory, their tenth of the season. The Anglo-French pairing continually held a half second advantage over the Birchall's before the latter ran wide after an overtaking manoeuvre at Coppice on lap 7 went awry. That gave Reeves and Cluze a 1.5s advantage with three laps to go and they were able to cruise home for a comfortable win, eventually taking the chequered flag by 4.3s.

Birchall then ran into tyre problems and came under severe pressure from Roger Lovelock and Rick Lawrence and it was the latter who took second on the run in to the line, their advantage over the Birchall's just 0.008s! Further back Andy Peach/Charlie Richardson took fourth after Scott Lawrie/James Neave retired on lap 8 whilst Craig Chaplow/Patrick Farrance finished in fifth after edging out Ben Bygrave/Calum Lawson on the final lap. Meanwhile, Ben Holland and Lee Watson put in a superb drive after spinning at Coppice on the opening lap and they came through the pack from dead last to claim a well earned ninth place.

The second 10-lap affair on Sunday morning gave the Birchall's the chance for revenge and they didn't disappoint their legion of fans with a comfortable win of almost 4 seconds, the victory aided by a succession of record laps. However, they had to work hard and it was Reeves who again grabbed the holeshot but on lap 3 the Nottinghamshire brothers swept into the lead after a majestic move around the outside of his rival on the entrance to the Esses. Aided by an eventual new lap record of 1m35.229s, they pulled away for a 3.9s win, their third of the season. Reeves was secure in second and when Lovelock and Lawrence retired from a safe third on the sixth lap, Peach and Richardson were able to come through to claim the final podium spot.

The main action throughout the race came from the group behind, particularly in the final two laps when Bygrave and Lawson spun out of fourth at the Old Hairpin and Holland and Watson went into the gravel trap at McLeans. Bygrave was able to regroup to take fifth behind Lawrie and Neave but he only just managed it after becoming embroiled in a tough battle with John Clarke/Stuart Graham, Phil Bell/Ashley Hawes and Chaplow/Farrance. Clarke and Bell collided at Goddards on the final lap and in the ensuing melee, Chaplow snuck through for a strong sixth whilst Clarke quickly got going to take seventh. Bell eventually finished in tenth.

With a win and a second place, Reeves and Cluze also received the Steve Norbury Trophy whilst victory on Sunday saw the Birchall's win the Bill Boddice Trophy.

With two rounds of the series now remaining, Reeves and Cluze head the way with a whopping 350 points (out of a possible 375!) and they lead Lawrie by an equally impressive 152 points. The Birchall's are up to third with 191 and they're followed in quick succession by Lovelock (167), Peach (164) and Bell (148).

The next round sees the chairs again line up alongside the British Superbike Championship with the penultimate round taking place at Silverstone on September 23-25.

Phil Wain: Freelance PR

Photos from Round 6 - Donington

Copyright: Photos: Glynne Lewis

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