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Will Knockhill be pivotal in Championship chase?

Will Knockhill be pivotal in Championship chase?

Round three of the British Sidecar Championship goes north of the border over the weekend of 24/25th June at a crucial time for the front runners. Leaders Tim Reeves and Gregory Cluze have a dilemma in that there is a date clash with the Hungarian round of the World Championship which they also lead. Their problem is exacerbated by the fact there are three races in Scotland, so potentially seventy-five points are there to be won or lost. Reigning Champions Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood are in no doubt as to where their priorities lie, and that is to maximise the trip north and claim the title lead. The Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki duo chased Reeves to within a fraction of a second at Brands, so it is fair to say they are on his case. Other chasers looking impressive include third in the points and fresh from the Isle of Man John Holden who, with passenger Andy Winkle won his second TT just two weeks ago and finished runner-up in race two collecting the 2016 TT Championship on the way. Reunited with his short circuit passenger Stuart Ramsey, Holden is looking a real threat this year on the Silicone Engineering/Barnes Racing Suzuki.

Hoping to overcome early season brushes with officialdom is the Hannafin Kawasaki pairing of Ben Holland and Lee Watson. Their closed season partnership arrangement with Rupert Archer and Steve Thomas has resulted in both crews showing a new turn of speed and commitment. Archer too has had his share of excitement in the early encounters, as clashes with BSB star and Santander Salt Kawasaki’s Chris Walker and Ashley Hawes have provided huge entertainment and brilliant racing between the two crews. Walker has quickly come to terms with three wheels and is more than holding his own when it comes to claiming tarmac. Gary Horspole and Scottish passenger James Connell who, for the first and only time this year has the least distance to travel, hold a strong fifth place behind Andy Peach and Charlie Richardson. The L&W Contractors/Santander Salt crew have a hold on fourth place but needs to earn good scores to consolidate it or threaten Holden.  Birchall Brothers Ben and Tom, winners of the second Isle of Man TT race are well in control of the 600cc Cup class, so a trip to Hungary is far less of an issue for them. They are unlikely to appear in Scotland.  

Astonishingly, after just two races at Brands, Ben Bygrave and Justin Sharpe find themselves in sixth just two places ahead of new boy Walker who is delighted to be in the top ten so early in the season. Bygrave is making plans to relocate to New Zealand, so whether or not he makes the trip to Scotland might well depend on his travel arrangements.

2016 is throwing up all sorts of permutations, with the added attraction of several  600cc crews competing for the Cup prize. There is also no doubt that the inclusion of Chris Walker and Ashley Hawes in the series has added spice and intrigue, as well as galvanising legions of BSB fans into enjoying the brilliant three-wheeled action.
As mentioned, three races are on the Knockhill card with two on Saturday and the third at mid-day on Sunday. Eurosport will cover the Sunday race as normal with the Motors TV highlights show going to air ten days later.