Hailsham’s Charlie Richardson won the British 600 Cup Sidecar Championship in what was described as “The closest ever seen”, as they narrowly beat the past champions in a nerve jangling finale
Richardson, 29, who won the Championship with driver Todd Ellis, has been racing since the age of 16. The duo are just inches above the tarmac and reach speeds of more than 100mph. Racing requires the fearless passenger to stabilise the machine when it hurtles into the corners.
Richardson, who will be celebrating his 30th birthday on Monday, was introduced to sidecar racing at a young age by his father, Alan, who was also a racer.
Proud dad Alan, 65, said “I am proud of what he has done. Nothing fires him up more than racing.”
Alan, also believes his son could challenge for the World Championship in the upcoming years and praised his son’s modesty. “He does not show off and many people who know Charlie do not even know he races because he is so humble about his achievements.
“It takes a lot of nerves to do that. It is notoriously hard to find a good passenger in the sport, with many drivers becoming very protective over their right-hand man.”
This form of racing is particularly popular in the United Kingdom and it is said the British Championship is more competitive and more supported than the World Championship.
Charlie however, isn’t always flying around the tarmac at breakneck speeds. During the week he works in the slightly less risky business of IT.
He said, “It was nice to win the cup after a long and tough season. We are both very pleased, it was a great year for us. The world championships could be an option but for now we might just focus on the British.
“It’s nice to have success but it is a hobby for me. We don’t really train in the off season we just show up and compete after a couple of test runs.”
Racers either use a short bike which has the engine in front of the driver or the more popular long bike which has the engine behind the driver.
A second-hand sidecar can cost around £30,000. Rider Ellis made the jump from mechanic to driver just two years ago and he approached Richardson to be his passenger. Richardson agreed on one condition, that they bought the better performing and more popular long bike instead of a short bike.
As well as winning the British 600 Cup Sidecar Championship (600cc), Richardson and Ellis also finished second in the British Championship, which incorporated both engine sizes of 600cc and 1,000cc.
Next up for Todd and Charlie is a trip to Austria were they will be measured for a sidecar in preparation for the new season.
The 2019 series is set to start in May at Oulton Park and runs through until October.
Should anyone be daredevil enough to have a go, Alan, who last raced in 2010, insists it’s never too late. “Many people carry on doing sidecar racing into their 60s and even 70s,” he added.