School House MX - British Sidecarcross Championship

Thursday August 31, 2023 at 4:36pm
School House MX - British Sidecarcross Championship

The Falcon MXC hosted the final two rounds of the ACU British championships of 2023 at the School House MX track, near Consett in County Durham. It was run as two separate events across the weekend on two separate days. The event also incorporated the Falcon MX solo Championships.

The track was in great condition, and the drizzle didn’t impact it too much, but the heavier rainstorms made the track very slippery.  The weather switched between hot sun and rain of various types, there was even some thunder and lightning, very much a weekend of all seasons.

Early in the racing season eighteen times British Champion Stuart Brown broke his ankle, and his team missed the first round of the championship, they did race at the second round, but last week they announced they won’t be racing this weekend - “Sorry to announce that team brown and copper won’t be competing at the British championship this weekend and the future GPs.”

Leading the Championship at the start of the weekend were Brett Wilkinson and Joe Millard. They held the advantage and were able to secure the Championship title. Both Brett and Joe have been champions before, but not together. They are proving to be a formidable team and are also holding fourth in the world championships. This has been an exciting year for the pair.

The second place was well contested with a battle to the last. The other GP teams all had injuries this season which meant they had some work to do to catch up. There were passenger changes with George Kinge teaming up with Jack Wilkinson, and Mike Hodges with Zac Snell. Recovering well from their GP crash are Dan Foden and Ryan Humphrey, were determined to secure a place on the podium, with two race wins it was enough to secure second in the championship.

The teams that held second and third in the championship at the start of the weekend were not going to give up their places easily, battling to the last flag. Tony and Scott Grahame took a steady approach and consistency won through with points equal to second place, but they settled for third based on highest race positions. Lee Foyle and Dan Phelps were not so steady, they knew the only way to grab a podium place was to give it 110% and that’s what they did, but at one point they cartwheeled themselves and the bike up the track, they did restart, but that was enough to drop them to fourth in the championship, but still a great achievement.

Round 3 racing got underway on the Saturday with an early lead for Dan Foden / Ryan Humphrey, Brett Wilkinson / Joe Millard held second, but battled past going on to take their first win of the weekend. George Kinge / Jack Wilkinson held third with Liam Mudie / Jim Kinge behind until they were left track side with a broken gear box. Mike Hodges / Zac Snell fought through to take fourth with Lee Foyle / Dan Phelps close behind and Tony Grahame / Scott Grahame sixth.

In Race two it was Dan Foden / Ryan Humphrey who took the holeshot and held the lead throughout to take the win. They were chased by Brett Wilkinson / Joe Millard, but a kill switch problem meant the bike stopped several times, but they still held second. George Kinge / Jack Wilkinson held a safe third with Tony Grahame / Scott Grahame close behind. Lee Foyle / Dan Phelps kept their rival in sight and took fifth with Mike Hodges / Zac Snell sixth until they lost drive and had to push back to the pits. Liam Mudie / Jim Kinge took sixth.

In the last sidecar championship race of the first day Brett Wilkinson / Joe Millard flew down the long start straight in the rain and into the tight left hander to take their first hole-shot, and held on for another brilliant win, but not quite enough points to secure the championship title on day one. Behind Dan Foden / Ryan Humphrey held a safe second with Lee Foyle / Dan Phelps fighting through to take third. Mike Hodges / Zac Snell managed to stay ahead of George Kinge / Jack Wilkinson, with Tony Grahame / Scott Grahame dropping back to sixth in the slippery conditions, but still holding a podium position going into day two.

Round 4 racing was another full event on the Sunday, and there were many exhausted riders, but they fought hard to secure every point possible. Race one saw Dan Foden / Ryan Humphrey blast into the holeshot position, but Brett Wilkinson / Joe Millard worked hard to get past, knowing they were in touching distance of that title. They took the lead, won the race, and claimed the title of New Sidecar British Champions, much to the delight of the large crowd. Dan Foden / Ryan Humphrey held second with Lee Foyle / Dan Phelps taking advantage of a great start to take third. Mike Hodges / Zac Snell battled past George Kinge / Jack Wilkinson to take fourth, with Tony Grahame / Scott Grahame taking sixth and still holding the podium advantage over their rivals.

In Race two the rain progressed from a drizzle to a heavy shower, but racing continued with Dan Foden / Ryan Humphrey knowing they needed to work harder to get on the championship podium, they took the hole-shot and held on to take their second win of the weekend. Behind there was drama with a crash just after the first bend where George Kinge / Jack Wilkinson touched together with Lee Foyle / Dan Phelps. Passenger Jack Wilkinson was left in the track and Lee Foyle and Dan Phelps catapulted their bike and narrowly avoided getting run over by the bikes behind them. Both teams got back on the bikes and finished the race, but both dropped valuable points in the race to the championship podium. Brett Wilkinson / Joe Millard battled with Mike Hodges / Zac Snell, both teams also touched at one point, which caused them both to slow, but the new champions battled through to take second. Tony Grahame / Scott Grahame stayed out of trouble on the start but worked their way back to fourth. Sam Osbaldiston / Harley Lloyd had their best race of the day taking fifth just ahead of Jack Rogers / Ryan Beavis. Despite the crash, and missing almost a whole lap, Lee Foyle / Dan Phelps took seventh.

In the last sidecar championship race of the season the skies opened and a monsoon level of rain poured onto the track. There were still positions to secure and the race went ahead with everyone just trying to get to the finish line. Brett Wilkinson / Joe Millard lead from start to finish, ending the season in style. Liam Mudie / Jim Kinge took advantage of a great start to tuck into second, with Paul Pelling / Mike Curnow coming alive in the rain and blasting into third. Dan Foden / Ryan Humphrey fought from a crash on bend one up to fourth which was enough points to equal those of Tony and Scott Grahame. With more race wins the second championship position went to Dan Foden / Ryan Humphrey, but it couldn’t have been closer. Jack Rogers / Ryan Beavis had another great race to take their best race position ever with a brilliant fifth place.

Well done to everyone who made it through a wild weekend. Congratulations to the new British Champions, Brett Wilkinson and Joe Millard, and to all those who gave it everything in those six fantastic championship races.

The new venue for the Sidecar Championship event was a great success, with organiser Tony Tennant thanking the Sidecars teams, supporters and the ACU officials for their support. The great news it that he is already talking about more events in 2024. Despite the unpredictable weather it was a brilliant weekend with fantastic racing and a great end to the 2023 British Championship.

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