Reeves takes win but no championship!
With dry conditions, but overcast, the lights went out for the last race of the season for the FIM Sidecar World Championship and the FIM Sidecar F2 World Trophy.
Tim Reeves and Gregory Cluze got the perfect start from pole position with their "Remse Racing/Team Eaide" LCR, Yamaha, they set off down "Craner Curves" letting the rest of the field know what their intensions were, a race win would only do for them.
Championship leaders Pekka Paivarinta and Kirsi Kainulainen with their "44-Racing" LCR, BMW slotted in behind Reeves and Cluze, they had to stay out of trouble throughout the race, and hope that their machine would last the race distance to take the championship title.
Third place in the championship, Sebastien Delannoy and Kevin Rousseau with their "Team Sand Seb 72" LCR, Suzuki tucked in behind Paivarinta and Kainulainen.
That is how things stayed throughout the race for the top three teams; however Delannoy and Rousseau did put some pressure on Paivarinta and Kainulenen in the early stages of the race. But once Paivarinta and Kainulainen broke free, Delannoy and Rousseau settled down for a safe race.
John Holden and Stuart Ramsay had a good start on their "Silicone/Barnes Racing" LCR, Suzuki; they set off in fourth place, and were to keep this place for the race distance.
Again, Brian Gray and Adam Christie on their "Brian Gray's Powerbiking" LCR, Yamaha, got a great start and slotted into fifth place with Bennie Streuer and Gerard Daalhuisen on their "Team Streuer" LCR, Suzuki, right on their tail.
Pekka and Kirsi - the first ever female World Sidecar Champion
The F2 Trophy class champions of Ben and Tom Birchall on their "Birchall Racing" LCR, Honda, got off the line well and right on the tail of Streuer and Daalhuisen. The two teams were to have a great battle throughout the race with plenty of passing and re passing, which kept the crowd on their toes.
By the end of the race the first four places were decided from the lights going out, and the final championship places were decided.
Reeves and Cluze took the race win, with Paivarinta and Kainulainen taking second, and Delannoy and Rousseau third.
Reeves and Cluze were the first to congratulate the new 2016 champions Pekka Paivarinta and Kirsi Kainulainen.
The "Flying Finns" were overjoyed with the title win. History had been made once again in the 2016 World Sidecar Championship. Kirsi Kainulainen was the first woman to stand on the top spot of a World Championship road race podium; she did this in Hungary earlier in the year. And now she is the first ever woman to win a World Championship title. After the race Kainulainen was understandably showing her emotions. She did manage to say though "This is unbelievable, I am a World Champion! I have to thank everybody who has made this possible, all our sponsors, and fans. And I have to thank Pekka too; he has helped me so much. This has not really sunk in right now, but I am so happy". Driver Pekka, now a five times world Champion, said, "Unbelievable! Big, big thanks to Kirsi, she is great, what a passenger, I am so pleased for her being champion now. I have to thank all the sponsors who have stuck with us over the years and a big thank you to all our fans who have travelled all over the world to support us, a massive thank you to all".
With Reeves and Cluze taking the race win, this secured second in the championship for them. Reeves said after the race "We did all we could, a great race win for us. I am so pleased for Pekka and Kirsi, they are a great team. And Kirsi being champion, I am so happy for her. I must say a big thank you to all our sponsors for all their help; we tried our best, but just could not get there this year. Cluze also said, "This was a great race win for the team, however I must congratulate Pekka and Kirsi on winning the championship. What an achievement for Kirsi being champion, this is great. A big thanks to all our sponsors for their help again, and thank you to our fans for sticking by us".
The French pairing of Delannoy and Rousseau took third place, and third in the championship. The team were so happy with the result, and overjoyed with the third place in the championship. Delannoy said "I think we will have a glass or two of wine tonight".
Holden and Ramsay took fourth place in the race. Holden said, "It has been a hard weekend for us, we had to change an engine, but in the end it has been really good for us"
The battle for fifth place between Streuer/Daalhuisen and the Birchall Brothers went to the Birchall Brothers. Once again the top F2 Trophy class team. And this win made it a full house of pole positions and race wins for the team throughout the season. And they take the FIM Sidecar F2 World Trophy title too.
Streuer and Daalhuisen lost their sixth place by the end of the race, and were to be content with seventh. They were overhauled by Mike Roscher and Anna Burkard with their "Roscher-Burkard-Penz 13 Racing" LCR, BMW, who took sixth.
There was to be a change in fortune for the FIM Sidecar F2 World Trophy placing. With the Birchall Brothers, title winners. It looked like Michael Grabmuller and Sophia Kirchhofer were in a safe second place with their "Polizieisportverein Wels Delta Racing" LCR, Yamaha. However they were to blow their engine on lap 6 of the race and this DNF was to drop them back down to third place in the championship title.
Second place in the race for the F2 Trophy class was to go to Remy Guignard and Federigue Poux on their SGR, Honda, and a great result for the team.
Tony Baker and Fiona Baker-Milligan on their "Cumbria Express" Baker, Suzuki looked like they were going to stand on the podium for the third place in the race. But they had an engine blow on them in lap 9, giving them a DNF.
This let Gunter Bachmaier and Manfred Weschselberger take the flag for third place in the race. This result gave them second place in the overall Championship title placing. The team were overjoyed with the result, and to get second in the championship was great for them.
This race was the last time that 1000cc engines would race for the World Title. Next year it will be all 600cc engines fitted to machines. Teams will be busy throughout the winter months preparing for this. And let's hope next year will be as good as this one has been.