Round four of the 2019 “FIM World Sidecar Championship will take place at the world famous, fast flowing 4.542 km circuit of Assen, commonly known as the “Cathedral of Speed”. And once again the “Gamma Racing Weekend” will be the host on the 17th and 18th August. What can we say about this event? Nothing that has not been said before. Massive crowds, electric atmosphere, and a great circuit that all the teams like.
The last two rounds of the championship were two race events. Two teams ruled the roost at these events with a win each and a second each. Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes who currently lead the championship with their “Adolf RS” Yamaha on 110 points, came away very happy from Oschersleben, Driver Reeves, thinks Oschersleben would be one of the teams worst tracks to get good results, but a win in the “Sprint Race” and a second in the “Gold Race” can’t be bad. The team did have a problem in the “Gold Race” though, when their machine mysteriously kept cutting out, I am sure they will have solved this problem for Assen though. The team love Assen, so could we be looking at them increase their lead in the championship, we will see.
Only seven points adrift of Reeves and Wilkes are the Birchall Brothers, Ben and Tom on their “LCR” Yamaha. They too like Assen, but maybe not like Reeves and Wilkes. Like always the Birchall Brothers preparation is second to none, and this shows in practice and qualifying, and the race too, it is catch up for all the other teams. When the Brothers get going there is no stopping them. If it had not been for a clutch problem at the first round in Le-Mans the championship could be looking very different.
Next up is Pekka Paivarinta and Jussi Veravainen with their “LCR” Yamaha, with 89 points. Last time out in Germany Paivarinta and Veravainen were burning the midnight oil with minor chassis repairs on the Saturday night, Sunday morning. They had a solid weekend with two third places. However, the team is frustrated with how they are getting on this year. Practice and qualifying go well for the team, good lap times, and usually on the front row, or not far away. Come the race, they just don’t seem to stay with the two top teams. Paivarinta and Veravainen go well in Assen, who knows, a little dampness on the track we could see the team on the top spot of the podium.
Fourth so far in the championship is Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries, they have 68 points with their “LCR” Yamaha. Again another team frustrated with how things are going in the championship. They are happy with how they are performing themselves, but not so happy they can’t get up with the top teams and battle for the podium place. With the Assen track being fast and flowing maybe this will help the team and maybe get them on the podium.
Another great season so far for the fifth place team of Sam and Adam Christie with their “LCR” Yamaha. They are always working to improve their lap times. They always are in the mix with the top teams when they have new tyres fitted, however it is not always possible to have new tyres fitted. The team like Assen, and maybe with its fast flowing characteristics this will help the team get up with the top teams.
Lying sixth in the championship is Kees Endeveld and Jeroen Remme. Rookies this year in the championship, they hoped to get into the top ten of the championship, they are over the moon with their performance so far this year on their “Adolf RS” Kawasaki. Endeveld and Remme will be going all out for a good result here as this is their home GP, and they want to get the local fans behind them.
The team in seventh place of the championship and defiantly want to jump up the championship order with their “LCR” Kawasaki is Bennie Streuer and Kevin Rousseau. Local man Streuer has tasted the sweet success of the top spot of the podium here, and being a former world champion, he with his French passenger Rousseau will be for sure on tip top form. And they will be hoping that they have solved all the small problems that have plagued them so far in the championship and left them down in seventh spot.
There is an old saying, “keep going, finishes mean points”. Well you could say this about the eighth place team of Jakob Rutz and Bjorn Bosch. The team with their “LCR” Yamaha, have been finishing races. Even a lap down on the winners of races, they finish, and that means points. The team has reliability with their machine; a good result in Assen could see them jump well up the championship table.
Ninth in the championship table is Lukas Wyssen and Thomas Hofer with their “LCR” Yamaha. They missed out in Oschersleben, Germany. With two races there, a lot of points missed out on. But happy times too for Wyssen. He recently married Liz Romina Cáceres, many congratulations to them from all in the paddock.
Rupert Archer and Stephen Thomas with their “Adolf RS” Yamaha are tenth in the championship standings so far. All the tracks have been new for the team so far this year, but they know this great Assen circuit, this they hope will be a great help for them. A good weekend here could boost their championship points tally.
Assen is the start of back to back races; from here the FIM Sidecar World Championship teams will head to Croatia. But let’s see who will be on a high after winning the 17 lap race which will start at 16:30 local time.
Mark "Wally" Walters