FIM Sidecar World Championship
Gold Race, Grobnik, Croatia
There was drama before the 18 lap Gold Race in Croatia. There was spits of rain falling from the sky as the teams took to the track for their sighting lap. With most teams running with slick tyres this would not be a problem, as the track surface is very abrasive.
As the teams set off on their warm up lap, more drama. Yesterday’s sprint race winners and newly crowned FIM Sidecar World Champions Ben and Tom Birchall were to crash exiting the first corner. Their “Birchall Racing” LCR, Yamaha, was to slide out of control going up on its side, throwing passenger Tom from the machine. Their fairing on the machine was damaged. The cause of the crash was a rear tyre puncture. They were sidelined from the race denying them of a “Full House” of race wins in the 2017 championship. There was a race delay resulting in the race distance being reduced by one lap.
As the lights went out it was Pekka Paivarinta and Kirsi Kainulainen who got the whole shot with their “44-Racing” LCR, Honda, from John Holden and Mark Wilkes on their “Barnes/Silicone Racing. Bennie Streuer and Kevin Rousseau got a good start on their “Team Streuer” LCR, Honda, they slotted into third spot. Half way round lap one though a fast charging Eckart Rosinger and Steffen Werner on their “Team Early Gray” Baker, Suzuki who had charged up the field to fourth, wanted past Streuer and Rousseau for the third spot. There was contact between the two teams, however Streuer/Rousseau were to stay in front of Rosinger/Werner. The contact resulted in the gear change lever being bent slightly on Streuer and Rousseau’s machine. They were to continue albeit with some gear change difficulties.
Michael Grabmuller and Sebastien Lavorel on their “Polizeisportverein Wels Delta Racing Team” LCR, Yamaha had caught Rosinger and Werner and were desperate to get by and give chase to Streuer and Rousseau. They did this and it was not long before they were putting pressure on Streuer/Rousseau for the third place in the race.
Scott Lawrie and Calum Lawson had made a good start on their “Team SLR” LCR, Suzuki, they slotted into fifth place with Lewis Blackstock and Patrick Rosney on their “Dave Holden Racing” LCR, Suzuki in sixth.
As the race continued, the rain was getting heavier but this was not slow up the leading teams. Paivarinta and Kainulainen were in a class of their own in the wet conditions. They were pulling away from the second place team of Holden and Wilkes who were now way on their own too, from the now new third place team of Grabmuller and Lavorel who had passed Streuer and Rousseau.
Blackstock and Rosney had overhauled Rosinger and Werner, and Lawrie and Lawson for fifth place. Lawrie and Lawson were having problems with their rear tyre, just no grip; they were to also get passed by Janez Remse and Robbie Shorter on their “Remse Racing” LCR, Yamaha.
As the flag came out for the end of the race it was an ecstatic Paivarinta and Kainulainen who took the race win, just over twenty four second ahead of the second place team of Holden and Wilkes. Paivarinter and Kainulainen were so happy with the win, and there was very emotional scenes on the podium from the “Flying Finns” who had not only won the race but had finished second overall in the championship. Holden and Wilkes had secured third overall in the championship with their second place in the race.
Grabmuller and Lavorel were really pleased with their third place in the race. This would take them to fifth place in the championship.
Streuer and Rousseau took the flag for the fourth place, guaranteeing them fourth in the championship.
A great fifth place for Blackstock and Rosney, in their first year of this championship they would finish a great sixth overall.
Rosinger and Werner would take sixth place. The team were over the moon with this result.
Remse and Shorter took seventh. Remse was really happy with this result, and with it being a completely new bike for the team at the beginning of the year things turned out pretty well for them.
Lawrie and Lawson took eighth place. They were a bit disappointed with the result but they would finish seventh overall in the championship.
Tony Baker and Fiona Baker-Holden would take ninth place in the race. They were happy with this result on their “Cumbria Express” Baker, Suzuki.
Gunther Bachmaier and Manfred Wechselberger took tenth place on their MSV-Schwanenstadt, PSV-Wels” LCR, Suzuki.
Jokob Rutz and Marcel Fries took eleventh place on their “Sidecar-Racing-Team-Rutz” LCR,Yamaha.