August 8/9th will go down in history as the weekend the long wait for British Championship sidecar racing action ended. This has truly been a season to remember for the wrong reasons. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted around the world and decimated sport in general. We are thrilled to be once again able to get outfits on track fighting for the championship albeit in a truncated season.
There have been many changes over the winter months in terms of team line-ups. At the time of going to press, no fewer than ten drivers have a change of passenger. This alone will add spice to what is bound to be an exciting season, and the most high-profile of those is former champion Steve Kershaw who takes on board former double championship winning passenger Ryan Charlwood.
This is a surprise move indeed and sees Charlwood’s previous driver Ricky Stevens avail himself of the services of the very experienced Jonny Allum who assisted Tommy Philp to the Bemsee sidecar title. Veteran TT ace John Holden is back for more this year teamed up with Jake Lowther, with series newcomer Tommy Philp lining up again with Tom Bryant to mount a full challenge for title honours.
Holden’s team-mates from last year, Lewis Blackstock and Paddy Rosney were third in the 2019 campaign, so they are another crew aiming to improve on what was a fantastic performance. Likewise, Rob Biggs and Jeroen Schmitz. The man from Chester and his Dutch passenger are silky smooth and reliable. Sixth last year, they are easily capable of a top five finish.
It’s exceptionally good news that former World Champions and multiple TT winners Ben and Tom Birchall are at Cadwell Park, with every intention of contesting every round. They must be real favourites for title honours in 2020. Hot opposition to any aspirations the Birchalls may have will surely come from reigning champions Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson. The Santander Salt Honda pairing will pick up where they left off, as will Kershaw.
TAG Racing continue to field former Superbike star Chris Walker with Ashley Hawes again holding down the third wheel. Walker gained speed and confidence towards the end of last season, and he too must be a serious title contender this time out.
The pack has strength in depth, and with upwards of twenty-five outfits entered for the opener, expect non-stop action throughout the weekend.
Negotiations with Eurosport are well underway to screen a thirty-minute highlights show, so the cameras will be rolling to record this the first round, with other rounds due to be included in the Eurosport live coverage.
Only two crews from last year’s top fifteen are absent from proceedings, with Gary Bryan and Gary Horspole stepping back for a breather. Colourful Scotsman Scott Lawrie is back however and will certainly add some flavour to the weekend.
Media Matters – Barry Nutley