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With the sounds and sights of a thrilling 2018 season now behind us, eyes are firmly turned to the new year ahead.

Before that though, the FIM General Assembly and awards presentation takes place in Andorra la Vella over the weekend of December 1/2.

It is on that prestigious stage that Ben and Tom Birchall will stand to receive their outright World Championship Winner's Medals.

One month later, at the British Championship awards ceremony, the Santander Salt crews of Steve Kershaw/Stuart Clark and Todd Ellis/Charlie Richardson will be presented with their trophies for outright British and 600 Cup victories respectively.

Both these crews dominated their respective classes, with Ellis and Richardson distinguished as runners-up in the main title chase on a 600 Honda. 

It is highly likely that these championship winning crews will be locking horns on track in the season ahead.

With both the World Championship and the British series now fully 600cc powered, it is widely expected that more British crews will venture abroad in 2019 to seek points in the FIM campaign. By the same token, subject to dates being free, World Series regulars could certainly compete here in Britain, as the Birchall Brothers did in 2018.

MARIA COSTELLO MBE is to be unveiled as the first female president of the TT Riders Association in its 66-year history.

The Northamptonshire motorcycle racer will be handed the chain of office at the association’s annual luncheon at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham early next month.

Costello, who was made an MBE in 2009 in recognition of her career as one of Britain’s leading female racers, follows in the footsteps of a host of big name stars of the sport, including more than 40 world champions and racers with more than 145 TT wins between them.

Freddie Frith was the first president, while Charles Mortimer, John Surtees MBE, Joey Dunlop OBE and Nick Jefferies are among the previous holders of the prestigious role. Costello will assume the presidency from Richard ‘Milky’ Quayle who is one of only three Manxmen to have won a TT.

 

Apologies for the slight delay with this report - slowly drying out (not my drink problems on this occasion - but all the kit clothing and bike etc.)! Well done to the brave that experienced Cadwell’s micro-climate of: rain; snow; sleet; wind – and - more rain! With such adverse weather conditions affecting both days of racing only one race each day could be held. But the good old British spirit and lunacy kept us all going with high levels of morale. 

 

Daryl Gibson and Ashley Moore, representing "Gibson Racing" have had a remarkable year after joining forces in the spring of 2018. They dominated the A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. British F2 Cup series - taking eleven wins and a further podium place from fifteen starts - winning the championship by an impressive forty four points. They also placed an excellent sixth overall in the "Super F2" category against the more established teams.

2018 has seen six weekends of top quality action from the F.S.R.A. / Lane Building Services Pre-Injection Sidecar Championship, and hopefully that precedent will continue at this weekend's concluding round, held at the annual "Sidecar Bash". With the title still to be decided, and a potential 125 points to be scored, it is mathematically possible for any one of eight teams to land the championship - although it will take a monumental effort for anyone to displace leaders John Shipley / Milo Ward, who take a fifty one point advantage to Cadwell Park.

 

Gary Horspole and Jimmy Connell were at Brands Hatch over the weekend racing in the final two races of the 2018 British Sidecar Championship where they recorded a ninth and 18th place in an effort to retain their fifth place in the overall standings but they just missed out and had to settle for sixth at the end of an eventful series.

Horspole from Sleaford and Scottish passenger Connell completed their qualifying in 16th place and began the first race from an eighth row grid position on Saturday.

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Qualifying –  Strong winds, but dry grey conditions were almost perfect going for the twenty-minute session. With thirty outfits entered, a good time would be crucial for the opening race, with a reverse grid  applying for race two.

Double points were up for grabs in this finale, and a record entry ensured great racing.

Newly crowned Champions Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clarke were immediately on the pace and laid down a marker well inside the fastest free practice time.

Lap five and they were within one second of lap-record time on the 1000cc Santander Salt Kawasaki, almost two seconds faster than the quickest 600 of Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes, with the Birchall brothers holding third a fraction behind Reeves.

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Mitchells of Mansfield backed Birchall Racing have won the 2018 FIM Sidecar World Championship with victory at the final round of the season in Oschersleben, Germany.

With only one point separating the leading two teams coming into the seventh round, the championship fight ultimately came down to one race – a showdown between the Birchall brothers and their closest rivals Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes.

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The final round of the A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. British Formula 2 Sidecar Championship took place at Oulton Park, and owing to circuit restrictions this was a one day only meeting with North Gloucester Road Racing on Saturday 6th October. With the top two places in the Super F2 Championship already decided - Peter Founds / Jevan Walmsley and Lee Crawford / Scott Hardie respectively - congratulations to both teams - third place was still for the taking with two teams tied, namely John and Jake Lowther and Steve and Matty Ramsden. Also to be decided was the F2 Cup with Daryl Gibson / Ashley Moore leading Ralph Remnant / Sam Tilley by thirty eight points.

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Team A.R.C. enjoyed an immensely successful end to their 2018 campaign, with fruitful visits to Castle Combe, East Fortune and Oulton Park in a year which Lee Crawford and Scott Hardie have enjoyed their best performances to date in the A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. British F2 Sidecar Championship.

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FIM Sidecar World Championship.

Oschersleben, Gold Race Report.

It was a beautiful evening to go racing; the tension could be felt on the grid for the final race of the 2018 “FIM Sidecar World Championship”. It was a depleted field but that did not matter, the top teams were going to do battle for the “World Title”.

Just before the warm up lap all the riders on the front row shook hands, and let the best team win.

The lights went out for the 21 lap race, and it was Ben and Tom Birchall with their “LCR” Yamaha who led into the first complex of corners, Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes with their “Adolf RS” Yamaha were right on the tail of the Birchall Brothers, Bennie Streuer and Kevin Rousseau with their “LCR” Kawasaki were a bike length from the leading pair but they were having to defend hard because the “Flying Finns” Pekka Paivarinta and Jussi Veravainen with their “LCR” Honda were charging hard. There was a small gap then next up was Lukas Wyssen and Thomas Hofer on their “LCR” Yamaha, they had Michael Grabmuller and Sebastien Lavorel on their “LCR” Yamaha, pushing hard, trying to get passed Wyssen and Hofer. Janez Remse and Manfred Wechselberger with their “Adolf RS” Yamaha were next up, but it looked if Remse was having problems from the word go, his machine seemed to be lurching, however the team continued on, they were fending off the “Rookie team” of the year Sam and Adam Christie on their “LCR” Yamaha. Peter Kimeswenger with Jens Lehnertz on their “LCR” Kawasaki were next up with Eero Parm and Mairon Meius with their “LCR” Yamaha right on the tail of Kimeswenger and Lehnertz.

Congratulations Daryl and Ash, 2018 FSRA F2 cup Sidecar Champions! 

Excellent effort gentlemen! 

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The sun was up and the track was just starting to get a bit of heat in it for the second qualifying session in Oschersleben.

Although the heat was coming there was a slight dampness from the morning dew. This added to the tension throughout the paddock. You can tell that the top three teams are tense, even the mechanics, TV crews are tense.

Pekka Paivarinta and Jussi Veravainen went out on track with a hard tyre, two laps was all they managed, they were to slide off track, they returned to pit lane, and decided to sit the rest of the qualifying session out. So their time from Q1 will put them fourth on the grid for the 21 lap race.

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Welcome to the final preview for the 2018 A.C.U. / F.S.R.A. British Formula 2 Sidecar Championship. With seven meetings down, the final round is once again hosted by North Gloucester Road Racing Club, close to the idyllic village of Little Budworth in Cheshire, at Oulton Park.