“Sidecar teams love “The Cathedral of Speed” at Assen”
The fast flowing 4.542 km circuit at Assen, commonly known as the “Cathedral of Speed” will once again welcome the “FIM Sidecar World Championship” teams for round five of the 2018 championship, on the 18th and 19th August. And once again the “Gamma Racing Day” will be the host.
It has been just over one month since the last round at the “Pannonia Ring” Hungary. With 146 points, championship leaders Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes will want to increase their points tally here. Reeves and Wilkes came back to the championship this year after having a year away, and they certainly have stamped their authority in the championship, with four wins, two second places, however a very rare mistake by Reeves in the “Gold Race” in Hungary saw the pair take a lowly tenth place. But the six points for this place could make all the difference to their championship total at the end of the year. Reeves and Wilkes like this circuit at Assen and will want to get back on their winning ways and stand on the top spot of the podium.
Only eleven points adrift of Reeves and Wilkes are the “Flying Finns” Pekka Paivarinta and Jussi Veravainen. Passenger Veravainen, new to the championship this year has stood on the top spot of the podium twice this year. He and driver Paivarinta, have certainly taken the race to Reeves and Wilkes this year. The pair will be going all out in Assen to close the point’s gap between themselves and Reeves/Wilkes. Although a new track again for Veravainen, he is hungry for race wins. Paivarinta knows this track well, and he likes it a lot.
Third in the championship, with 100 points, are Ben and Tom Birchall. Ben and Tom have had some electrical problems throughout the season. The team has always been on the pace with the two top teams, and consistently setting fast lap times. And they have stood on the top spot of the podium too. However, this problem the team has encountered throughout the season is frustrating. So much so that Ben and Tom have been lucky to finish in the “Slovakia Ring” and they had a DNF in Hungary, last time out. But when things are going to plan they are fighting for the race win. The team have worked hard over the last month to rectify this problem, and they seem to have got on top of the problem, they have had great success competing in their domestic championship in the UK.
Sitting fourth in the championship with 74 points, coming to his home GP is Bennie Streuer with French passenger Kevin Rousseau. Streuer and Rousseau like the Birchall Brothers have had the pace to run at the front of the field. But they have had tyre problems this season, so much so that they crashed out in France when their rear tyre blew. Streuer who lives just down the road in “Grolloo” will want to put his local knowledge to good use and get on the podium, and with normally at this event a massive spectator attendance, I am sure this will spur him on.
What a season so far for the fifth place team of Sam and Adam Christie. The rookie team have 63 points. All though the season they have been setting fast qualifying times, and have been in some epic battles during the races. The brothers know Assen, having raced here in the past, so this will help their set up for the weekend. And like the Birchall Brothers they have been racing in their domestic British Championship, so they will have their race head on.
Only seven points separate the next three teams in the championship. Sixth place, Janez Remse and Eamon Mulholland have had a good season, the team have worked hard and have steadily got faster. Mulholland, again new to the championship, has reveled in the battles he and Remse have had throughout the season with the other teams.
Next up is Lukas Wyssen and Thomas Hofer. When things are going well for the team they can mix it with the best of them. But like other teams, they have had problems with their machine. They hope these problems have long gone now and will be hoping for a good result here in Assen.
Lewis Blackstock and Patrick Rosney are the next team in this trio of teams. Blackstock and Rosney missed out earlier in the season missing two GP’s due to other commitments. But they will be on a high coming here to Assen, they stood on the podium last time out in Hungary.
Again a trio of teams is next up, and only one point separates them.
Jakob Rutz and Marcel Fries sit with 42 points; they have been having great battles with other teams in the championship. Also the team has worked hard throughout the championship for this position.
We hope that the next team in the championship with 41 points will be present here in Assen. Alan Founds and Tom Christie took a third place in the “Slovakia Ring” and were working away steadily in the championship. Unfortunately during a practice session in Hungary their machine caught fire and was extensively damaged. The team hope that they will be ready for this round in Assen.
Peter Kimeswenger and Jens Lehnertz have 41 points for their championship campaign so far. The team has had some niggly problems with their machine during the season, but have managed to work round them during the races. They will hope that these problems have gone and will be hoping for a good result here in Assen.
John Holden and Lee Cain will be back here in Assen. They have missed two rounds due to unforeseen circumstances. Holden stood on the podium here last year, another podium here would really boost the teams moral.
Scott Lawrie will have a different passenger for this meeting in Assen. His regular passenger Michael Fairhurst cannot make this meeting. Replacing him will be French lady passenger Emmanuelle Clement, who is no stranger to the sidecar racing world. She stood in for her partner, Kevin Rousseau, last year at Oschersleben when he could not passenger due to injury for Bennie Streuer, she helped out in the free practice sessions.
A new team will be joining the championship here in Assen. Local lad, Kees Endeveld, like Streuer, from “Grolloo” with his passenger Jerome Remme from “Zwolle” have made the switch from the 1000cc powered machine to the 600cc machine. They will be hoping that their local knowledge will help them get a good result here in Assen.
Let’s hope that the weather is kind at Assen, if so we can be guaranteed a massive spectator attendance who will certainly cheer the sidecar teams on in their 17 lap race on the Sunday.