The sun was out and a good crowed had gathered for the 17 lap “Gold Race” at the “Circuito do Estoril”.
There was drama for the Christie Brothers even before the sighting lap. Their “LCR” Yamaha would not start. There was no electrical power at all. The team did manage to get their bike started, but they had to stay in pit lane until all the other teams had left on their warm up lap. Joseph Sattler and Uwe Neubert would not start the race as passenger Neubert was ill. Bennie Streuer and Kevin Rousseau were having their own dramas too; the team have had a terrible season with machine problems. About one hour before the race the team found a problem with the engine, it was decided that they could sort the problem, so the team got stuck in and got sorting the problem.
As the lights went out it was pole sitter Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes with their “Adolf RS” Yamaha who got the whole shot into the first corner, Bennie Streuer and Kevin Rousseau with their “LCR” Kawasaki were trying the inside line on Reeves and Wilkes, but not to be, Ben and Tom Birchall with their “LCR” Yamaha were right on the tail of Streuer and Rousseau. Lukas Wyssen and Thomas Hofer with their “LCR” Yamaha had a good start and were right with the Birchall Brothers.
Unfortunately the race was halted due to an accident involving Streuer and Rousseau at turn three. Their machine had flipped over in the gravel trap, with driver Streuer having to be taken to the medical center. Passenger Rousseau was okay and assisted in helping the marshals with the clear up of the machine and track tidy. Streuer was stretchered off to the medical center with concussion and suspected broken ribs.
As the restarted race got under way, again it was Reeves and Wilkes who had the perfect start with the Birchall Brothers right on their tail. Lukas Wyssen and Thomas Hofer again had a good start and were up with the Birchall Brothers again. The Christie Brothers, Sam and Adam had made amends to their first start by slotting in behind Wyssen and Hoffer. Pekka Paivarinta and Jussi Veravainen were going all out for a good start with their “LCR” Yamaha, they were right with the Christie Brothers. Paul Leglise and Emmanuelle Clement with their “LCR” Yamaha had a good start too and were up with Paivarinta/Veravainen.
The Birchall Brothers managed to get passed Reeves and Wilkes and started to make a small gap. With the two teams out in front there was a fair battle going on behind, but it was obvious that Paivarinta and Veravainen were wanting to get out from this battle and give chase to the two leaders, this did happen, and the head was down in hot pursuit.
Lap eight of the race saw Wyssen and Hofer DNF when their rear drive sprocket came off; it was a pity because they were in a great battle with Leglise and Clement. The Christie Brothers were on a charge too, they were making up good time on the teams in front.
Albeit a great race, it was to be a lonely race for some, Kees Endeveld and Jeroen Remme with their “Adolf RS” Kawasaki were out on their own but keeping a steady pace.
Janez Remse and Manfred Wechselberger were going well and were in a battle with Rupert Archer and Stephen Thomas with their “Adolf RS” Yamaha when they hit problems, the team were not sure whether it was a mechanical problem or electrical, but it was all to do with their gearbox. They managed to nurse the machine home though to ninth place albeit a lap down.
Lap twelve, with the Birchall Brothers having increased their lead over Reeves and Wilkes, were to retire from the race when a bolt on the engine had come slack and started to put oil out making it impossible for passenger Tom to do his job.
This left Reeves and Wilkes out in front once again, but Paivarinta and Veravainen were closing, and closing fast. As too were the Christie Brothers on Leglise and Clement.
By the end of the race, Paivarinta and Veravainen had passed Reeves and Wilkes for the lead and started to make a small gap. And the Christie Brothers had done the same and passed Leglise and Clement.
The chequred flag came out for Paivarinta and Veravainen who took the win, and with the demise of the Birchall Brothers, this put them in second place of the overall championship standings, and they were the only team to score points in each round. The Birchall Brothers were knocked back a place to third.
Reeves and Wilkes took second, but this was plenty for the pair to lift the 2019 championship title to the delight of the team and sponsors.
A great finish to the season for the Christie Brothers, they took the third place and were so happy to be standing on the podium.
Also a great end of season for Leglise and Clement, they took fourth place and were delighted with this.
Fifth place went to a delighted Endeveld and Remme, a podium place yesterday and now a fifth, this would surpass their expectations for their first year in the championship, finishing sixth overall.
Sixth went to Archer and Thomas. The team were happy with this result, and again their first season in the championship, they improved with every visit to each track.
Jakob Rutz and Bjorn Bosch finished their season with a seventh place with their “LCR” Yamaha. The team were happy with this, and another season done.
Eighth place went to Phillippe Le Bail and Serge Leveau with their “LCR” Yamaha, the team have had a hard season but happy with this result.
The 2019 “FIM Sidecar World Championship” has come to an end, it has been a great year with some great close racing and great battles. The teams will be looking forward to a well-earned rest, but they will be eager to see what 2020 will bring for them.