FIM Sidecar World Championship
What a day to win a World Championship, perfect weather conditions and an expectant crowd. Ten points separated the top three teams in the championship title race. Who would win?
The lights went out for the start of the 20 lap Gold race that would decide the 2015 “FIM Sidecar World Championship.” It was Andy Peach and Charlie Richardson who got the hole shot into the first corner with their “L&W” LCR, Kawasaki, right on their tail was Tim Reeves and Gregory Cluze on their “Team E-Aide Motorsport/Remse Racing” LCR, Kawasaki. Pekka Paivarinta and Kirsi Kainulainen slotted into third place on their “44-Racing” LCR, BMW.
This would be short lived though, exiting the long left hand corner at the bottom of the circuit, Paivarinta and Kainulainen would run off track and into the gravel trap, the pair managed to power through the gravel, then back onto the grass and rejoin the race in sixth place, just behind John Holden and Ashley Hawes on their “John Holden/Barnes Racing” LCR, Suzuki. The luck was not with Holden/Hawes once again. They were to spin off track for no apparent reason on lap one of the race; they did not rejoin the race.
With Paivarinta/Kainulainen back in sixth place this let Bennie Streuer and Geert Koerts on their “Streuer Racing” LCR, Suzuki slot into third behind Reeves and Cluze. Peach and Richardson were setting a fast pace out front with Reeves/Cluze tagging on in second place, Streuer/Koerts were in a good place for the title win if they kept the third place.
Paivarinta/Kainulainen were locked in a battle with Uwe Gurck and Manfred Wechselberger with their “Polizei Sport Verein Wels Gurck Racing” LCR, BMW, and Andre Kretzer/Jens Lehnertz on their “AKW-Kretzer-Racing” LCR, Suzuki. This battle was to go on for half the race distance. Paivarinta/Kainulainen just could not get by Gurck/Wechselberger for five laps after they passed Kretzer/Lehnertz. Gurck/Wechselberger were making life hard for Paivarinta/Kainulainen, with his big sideway drifts exiting the right hand corners. Eventualy Paivarinta/Kainulainen got passed, and gave chase to the leading trio.
Reeves and Cluze were starting to put pressure on Peach and Richardson for the lead. The Anglo French pairing upped their pace and it was visible to the eye. They passed Peach/Richardson for the lead in the race, and started to pull away. They were never threatened for the race win after this, and they were to set the fastest lap time in the race, a time of 1:31.882.
Streuer/Koerts were now starting to reel in Peach/Richardson as well, they managed to get by, and gave chase to Reeves/Cluze, but the lead they had, it was not possible to bridge the gap.
Streuer/Koerts played a safe race now, with the Championship in the bag they, just did enough to keep Peach/Richardson behind them, a good cushion for the hard charging Paivarinta/Kainulainen were making good progress with a clear track in front of them.
At the end of the race it was Reeves and Cluze who took the chequered flag for the race win. They are runners up in the Championship with 175 points. Both Reeves and Cluze said after the race “We are disappointed at not winning the championship, but so pleased for Bennie and Geert, they are our rivals on track, but we are all great friends on and off track too”.
Streuer and Koerts flew over the line in second place, and the championship was theirs with 180 points. Stopping at the end of the start finish straight for the national flag of the Netherlands, they were swamped by other sidecar teams offering their congratulations for winning the championship. The whole team were so emotional with joy, when Streuer and Koerts arrived back for the podium.
Crossing the line for third place was Peach and Richardson; they were to have some drama just after they crossed the line, when passenger Richardson fell from the machine. He barrel rolled down the track, and was taken to the medical centre for checks. A bit battered and bruised he said after “I was so disappointed, I could not get to the podium. But at least I am okay. Congratulations to Bennie and Geert on winning the championship.”
Paivarinta and Kainulainen were to cross the line for fourth place. They were disappointed with the mistake they made at the start of the race. If it had not been for this they could have been second in the championship. They are placed in third overall with 165 points. But both Paivarinta and Kainulainen were so pleased for Streuer and Koerts on winning the championship.
Gurck/Wechselberger managed to stay in front of Kretzer/Lehnerts for the rest of the race, but there was nothing in it as they took the chequered flag for fifth place, with Kretzer/Lehnerts in sixth place.
Gurck/Wechselberger, finish the championship in fourth place overall, with 92 points, only three ahead of Mike Roscher and Anna Burkard who have 89. Roscher and Burkard were to cross the line in seventh place with their “Roscher-Burkard-Penz13 Racing” LCR, BMW, for the race result.
Crossing the line in eighth place was Jakob Rutz and Thomas Hofer with their “Sidecar Racing Team Rutz” LCR, Yamaha. Again like the sprint race they had a lonely race, but both were happy with this.