The final round of the “FIM Sidecar World Championship” consisting of two races will take place at the 4.182km “Circuito do Estoril” on the “Portugese Riviera” only 35km from Lisbon. The circuit built in 1972 is a stone’s throw from the city of Estoril.
Another year is drawing to a close and again it has come down to the great rivalry between Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes on their “Adolf RS” Yamaha, and Ben and Tom Birchall on their “LCR” Yamaha. Only 12 points separate the two teams, and with a total of 50 points up for grabs over the weekend all is to fight for. However, the rivalry between both teams has at times boiled over. The last round in Croatia saw mixed fortunes for both teams, the high was a race win for both, and the low was a DNF for both. Both teams have been contesting some domestic championship races since the last world round, trying to iron out any problems with their machines before the final here in Estoril. Guaranteed though both teams will fight hard for the world title.
Some 23 points that is the difference between the “Flying Finns” Pekka Paivarinta and Jussi Veravainen with their “LCR” Yamaha and the leaders Reeves and Wilkes, and 11 points back from the Birchall Brothers. You can be sure though they will not give up the fight. There is a slim chance of the championship, in past years the top teams have had cruel luck resulting in DNF’s leaving the third place team or lower to jump up places in the final ranking. Paivarinta and Veravainen will fight till the end.
Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries sit with 121 points in fourth place of the championship with their “LCR” Yamaha. The team have contested the championship this year with good results, podium places, and never lower than fourth place throughout the season. Like the third place team of Paivarinta/Veravainen, and most of the sidecar teams,funding for the championship has been tough.
Again, what can we say about the fifth place team of Sam and Adam Christie, consistently pushing to improve their lap times in qualifying and races. They have worked hard all season on their “LCR” Yamaha. They have had some great battles during this season, and they have improved their lap times. At times it has looked like the team would get up on the podium, but unfortunately this has eluded them.
Sitting with 60 points and in sixth place in the championship is Lukas Wyssen and Thomas Hofer with their “LCR” Yamaha. Wyssen and Hofer missed out on two races half way through the season. Like the Christie Brothers, Wyssen and Hofer have had some great battles during the season. And at the last round in Croatia, they certainly surprised the rest of the field with their lightning start up into second place, albeit short lived; it showed what the team is capable of.
Seventh in the championship so far is the Dutch pairing of Kees Endeveld and Jeroen Remme with their “Adolf RS” Kawasaki. The goal for the team this year was to finish in the top ten of the championship, so far they have surpassed their expectations. The team had a trouble free season until the last race when unfortunately they DNF’d with a blown engine. However the whole team is so happy with how the season has turned out, and two good results here in “Estoril” will just be the icing on the cake for the team.
Eighth in the championship with 49 points is Rupert Archer and Stephen Thomas with their “Adolf RS” Yamaha. The team came to the championship this year for a change from racing in their domestic championship. With each track being a new challenge for the team they have improved their lap times with each visit to the circuits throughout the season.
A lowly ninth place in the championship so far for Bennie Streuer and Kevin Rousseau with their “LCR” Kawasaki. The team have had a nightmare of a season so far. They have had two non-starts, two DNF’s, leaving them scoring points in the other four races. I am sure the team will want to come here to Estoril and show the rest of the field what they can do, and mix it with the top teams like they usually do.
Tenth place coming to Estoril is Janez Remse and Manfred Wechselberger on their “Adolf RS” Yamaha, they too like Streuer/Rousseau have had a bad season, three non-starts and one DNF. They will hope they can finish the season on a high.
There will be two races in Estoril, on Saturday 19th there will be a 10 lap “Sprint race” then on Sunday the 20th there will be a 17 lap “Gold race” when after that we will know who will be the 2019 “FIM World Sidecar Champion”.
Mark Wally Walters