FIM Sidecar World Championship,
Sprint Race, Grobnik, Croatia.
The sun was out for the 10 lap Sprint Race in Croatia.
As the lights went out it was Pekka Paivarinta and Kirsi Kainulainen on their “44-Racing” LCR, Honda who led the field into the first series of corners from the Birchall Brothers Ben and Tom on their “Birchall Racing” LCR, Yamaha. Bennie Streuer and Kevin Rousseau got a good start with their “Team Streuer” LCR, Honda, they slotted into third place. Right on their tail though was John Holden and Mark Wilkes with their “Barnes/Silicone Racing” LCR, Kawasaki. A great start from the “Rookie” team of Lewis Blackstock and Patrick Rosney on their “Dave Holden Racing” LCR, Suzuki tagged on to the back of Holden and Wilkes.
Scott Lawrie and Calum Lawson were right with Blackstock and Rosney on their “Team SLR” LCR, Suzuki. There was a small gap till the next team of Michael Grabmuller and Sebastien Lavorel on their “Polizeisportverein Wels Delta Racing Team” LCR, Yamaha. By the end of lap one the Birchall Brothers had managed to pass Paivarinta and Kainulainen, and Holden and Wilkes had passed Streuer and Rousseau. Grabmuller and Lavorel were on the charge too, they got passed Lawrie and Lawson and were making good ground on Blackstock and Rosney.
As the race continued these top teams settled down and they all really had a race on their own.
Jacob Rutz and Marcel Fries on their “Sidecar-Racing-Team-Rutz” LCR, Yamaha were to have a great battle throughout the race with Janez Remse and Robbie Shorter on their “Remse Racing” ARS, Yamaha.
Also a good battle between Eckart Rosinger and Steffen Werner with their “Team Early Grey” Baker, Suzuki, and Tony Baker with Fiona Baker-Holden on their “Cumbria Express” Baker, Suzuki.
By the end of the ten lap race Rosinger and Werner were to succumb to the pressure from Baker and Baker-Holden and cross the line in twelfth place with Baker/Baker-Holden taking eleventh.
A lonely tenth place went to Gunther Bachmaier and Manfred Wechselberger on their “MSV-Schwanenstadt,PSV-Wels” LCR, Suzuki.
Remse and Shorter got the better of Rutz and Fries for eighth place, with Rutz/Fries ninth.
Lawrie and Lawson had a lonely race to the end but crossed the line for seventh place.
Blackstock and Rosney just like Lawrie/Lawson were to take a good sixth place but too, a lonely race towards the end.
Grabmuller and Lavorel were to take the flag for fifth; they just could not make any headway to catching the fourth place team of Streuer and Rousseau.
By the end of the race Streuer and Rousseau were catching the third place team of Paivarinta and Kainulainen, but there was just not enough laps for them to do this. The team were happy with the fourth place, Streuer said after “Yes we are happy with the result, obviously we would have liked to have been on the podium, but we just did not have the power that the top three had”
Paivarinta and Kainulainen took third. They were happy too, but were having some tyre problems towards the end of the race.
A very happy Holden and Wilkes were to take second place and possibly third in the championship depending on what happens in tomorrow’s eighteen lap race. Holden said “I am not going to count my “chickens” funny old game this racing lark, anything can happen, Bennie and Kevin are a fast team”
Ben and Tom Birchall took the flag for another decisive win, they got passed Paivarinta and Kainulainen at the end of lap one and just started to pull away from the rest of the field. They crossed the line over ten seconds ahead of Holden and Wilkes in second. The whole team were ecstatic with the win. This win secures their 2017 title. They will be going all out for another win tomorrow, but the title is in the bag. With no pressure they will enjoy racing tomorrow. The eighteen lap Gold Race will start at 13.25 local time