It has been 2 months since the FIM Sidecar World Championship teams took to the track in Le-Mans, France, and that was a cracker of a race.
Round two of the championship will take place this weekend at the 4.740km “Pannonia Ring” in Hungary, near to the town of “Sarvar” just over the border from Austria. There will be two races here, so a lot of championship points can be had. All the teams seem to like the fast flowing track here in Hungary, and there have been some great races in the past.
Round one in Le-Mans saw a great race all the way through the field. From the lights going out to the chequered flag, the top 6 teams battled hard for their places. The “Flying Finns” Pekka Paivarinta and Jussi Veravainen came away victorious from Le-Mans, but they did not have it all their own way. They battled throughout the race with Ben and Tom Birchall, the two teams certainly had the French crowd on their feet. The two teams were passing and re passing each and other for most of the race. It turned out good for Paivarinta and Veravainen though, the Birchall Brothers had a clutch problem in the final stages of the race, but they did however manage to nurse their machine to the finish line in fourth place. Paivarinta and Veravainen will be hoping they can win here at the “Pannonia Ring” just like last year in the “Gold Race”.
Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes will hope they can have a good weekend in Hungary. They fought hard in Le-Mans and it looked like they could have been on for a win. But they encountered a brake problem half way through the race. With the battle at the front between Paivarinta/Veravainen and the Birchall Brothers, Reeves and Wilkes were visibly slowing; this was giving Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries the boost they needed as they could see Reeves/Wilkes in front, and they were catching.
Schlosser with new passenger this year, Marcel Fries, only came back racing at Le-Mans after a few years away from the sport, so coming third in their first race was just the icing on the cake for the team. Schlosser likes the “Pannonia Ring” it suits his fast smooth driving style, good results here will certainly make the team happy.
With the Birchall Brothers encountering clutch problems, this left the door open for Reeves and Wilkes to take second place behind Paivarinta/Veravainen, and a great third for Schlosser and Fries, and the Birchall Brothers fourth. These four teams will be going all out in Hungary for top honors.
There will be another top team hoping to get their championship up and running after a disastrous first round in France. Bennie Streuer, who had Ilse De Haas for passenger in Le-Mans, because regular passenger Kevin Rousseau was not fit to race due to a shoulder injury sustained while he was training. Streuer and De Haas were battling for a podium place in the early stages of the race, when they were to DNF with mechanical problems. Streuer will have Rousseau back in the chair, so I think they will be pushing hard to try and get their championship back on track.
Fifth place in the championship after Le-Mans is Lukas Wyssen and Thomas Hofer. They had a great battle throughout the race in France with Sam and Adam Christie. The two teams were inseparable for the whole race but it was Wyssen and Hofer who were to come out on top. The Christie Brothers were not too down heartened with their sixth place as it had been a great race. They like the “Pannonia Ring” so they will be looking for good results here.
Janez Remse and Manfred Wechselberger had a trouble free first race in Le-Mans. The team will be coming to the “Pannonia Ring” knowing that their machine is good. Chassis is good, handling well, and their engine is all good too. Both Remse and Wechselberger know this track well so they will be hoping for good results.
Kees Endeveld and Jeroen Remme came into the championship with intensions to learn the World Championship tracks and do the best that they could. But they were so happy with a top ten finish, eighth place it was. The team did some pre-season testing here at the “Pannonia Ring” so both Endeveld and Remme will hope information from testing will prove invaluable for good results.
Rupert Archer and Steve Thomas will arrive here at the “Pannonia Ring” after a solid weekend at Le-Mans. A new track for Archer and Thomas, but I am sure they will get to grips with it pretty fast.
Jakob Rutz and Bjorn Bosch hope that the “Pannonia Ring” will be a better weekend than Le-Mans. They arrived into pit lane to the surprise of their team three quarters through the race to change a wheel. They did finish the race though, but were two laps down.
There will be a 9 lap “Sprint Race” on Saturday 29th at 18:15 local time. Sunday will be the 15 lap “Gold Race” starting at 12:50 local time.
Mark "Wally" Walters