Moto Park Oschersleben opened in July 1997, and at the time it was Germany’s third permanent circuit with the Nurburgring and Hockenheimring. The 3.667km circuit is fairly flat, and is smooth and fast. The circuit runs in a clockwise direction and is now called “Motorsport Arena Oschersleben”
At the last round of the Championship in Assen, Holland, championship leaders Tim Reeves and Gregory Cluze had a great battle with arch-rivals Ben and Tom Birchall. From the moment the lights went out the two teams swapped places for the lead on numerous occasions. It was Reeves and Cluze who took the win, and they will be going into this round of the Championship with a 51 point lead over the Birchall Brothers. With two races at this round and a total of 50 points available for two wins, Reeves and Cluze will be hoping that they can continue their winning run. With only one round after this at Le Mans, they could come away from this weekend with the Championship title.
The one thing that can stop that is the Birchall Brothers Ben and Tom, who have been getting back on top form. Driver Ben is now looking fit again after a serious injury to his hand in an accident at the Isle of Man TT races back in June. If the two races this weekend in Oschersleben turn out like the last two in Sachsenring and Assen, Reeves and Cluze and the Birchall Brothers will certainly give the spectators something to shout about as they watch sidecar racing at its very best.
Sitting third in the Championship are Uwe Gurck and Manfred Wechselberger. They took a solid fifth place in Assen giving them a total of 75 points in the Championship. Both Gurck and Wechselberger had some problems in Assen; Gurck had a stomach upset which hindered his performance, whilst Wechselberger was very anxious going into the race. However, once the lights went out for the start of the race, he was fully focused on the job in hand. The team, who know the circuit well, will be hoping that they can get a good tally of points from this weekend to stay in third place in the Championship.
With only six points separating third and fourth place in the Championship, two teams tie for fourth place. Bennie Streuer and Geert Koerts jumped up into the fourth place on the leaderboard with a good fourth place result at the last round at their home track of Assen. Streuer and Koerts have been on the podium twice this year and will hope they can do the same here in Oschersleben. If so, it would give them a good shout for going third in the Championship title race if Gurck and Wechselberger have a disappointing race. Joint fourth with 69 points is the duo Mike Roscher and Anna Burkhard, who will be going all out. The team know the circuit well and a good result could possibly get them in a solid fourth place in the Championship, and maybe even up to third. Roscher and Burkhard have one of the fastest machines in the Championship and were the fastest team through the speed trap on more than one circuit this year.
Jacob Rutz and Thomas Hofer will be hoping to forget Assen this year. On their first time there, a puncture put paid to a good result, and last time out they did not get any points. They were to have problems with the gear change on their machine causing them to pull into pit lane on a couple of occasions, once on the warm-up lap, and once during the race. The team did finish the race but they were four laps down on the leaders. Rutz and Hofer need to have two good race results here to keep them in contention for the top five in the Championship.
Petri Makkula and Harri Asumaniemi will want to get their Championship back on track here in Oschersleben. The last round in Assen they had lots of problems with their machine. First they had electrical problems, which they sorted, only to get fuel problems. They did finish in eighth place, far short of their hopes. Like Streuer and Koerts, Makkula and Asumaniemi have stood on the podium twice this year, and the team would love to be up there again in Oschersleben.
Philippe Gallerne and Julien Chesnau did not have a good time in Assen. On the first lap, first corner they spun off track. The team managed to rejoin the race but on the next complex of corners they had to retire from the race with suspension problems. Gallerne and Chesnau sit eighth in the championship; two good results here would certainly do the team a power of good in the Championship.
There could be a sting in the tail for the top teams here in Oschersleben though. Pekka Paivarinta and Timo Karttiala have entered this event. Paivarinta was the 2013 FIM Sidecar World Champion with Adolf Hanni, his passenger, and the pair won a total of three World titles together. Also, Paivarinta won his first World title with Karttiala in 2008. Paivarinta and Karttiala have teamed up again and they have a new chassis with BMW engines. With a good result they could take top points away from the leading teams. Also entered for this event is Michael Grabmuller. He competed in the Championship last year with passenger Manfred Wechselberger who is passengering for Uwe Gurck this year. When racing last year, the team finished sixth in the Championship. For this race Grabmuller will have Dutch passenger Sander Faber in the chair.
There will be two races here in Oschersleben, Saturday will see a 12-lap sprint race and there will be a 21-lap Gold race on Sunday.