With many thanks to Mark Walters, and also the Isle of Man weather giving us a bit of a break in proceedings to catch up, we bring you Mark's full report of qualifying and both races at the second round of the FIM Superside World Championship at Oschersleben a short while back.
“No Stopping The Birchall Brothers”
With the temperatures way up in the high twenties for both of the qualifying sessions it was hard work for the sidecar teams.
Ben and Tom Birchall went out on track with their “Birchall Racing” LCR, Yamaha and stamped their authority on the rest of the field. They had a trouble free qualifying. The Brothers did however make some changes to their machine; they changed the gearing which was better for them. Ben said after, “We changed the gearing, it may sound like we are running out of revs at the end of the straight, but if we made a higher gear we would lose all the drive out of the tighter sections of the track. We are happy with how the bike is and we are looking forward to the races” Ben and Tom will start from pole position with a time of 1:32.935
Sitting next to the Birchal Brothers in second spot will be Pekka Paivarinta and Kirsi Kainulainen on their “44-Racing” LCR, Honda. They too had no machine problems but the team are still making adjustments to their machine after each visit to the track. They set a time of 1:34.300. Pekka explained, “We are happy with the bike, but we still make small changes, just to get it perfect. It takes some time to get a new bike just right, we are getting there though, we hope the races will be good for us”.
The last place on the front row will go to John Holden and Mark Wilkes on their “Barnes/Sillicon Racing” LCR, Kawasaki. Qualifying did not go to plan for the team though. In the first qualifying session the team did an out lap and just started their first fast lap when they had to pull into pit lane and on to the paddock. They were losing engine oil from somewhere on their machine but could not find where. So the best option was back to the paddock to find the problem. With the problem sorted for the second qualifier, it was all go! They set a time of 1:35.244, with only four laps done. They did however make the best of the track time, with only short stops back in pit lane; they were back out on track.
Heading the second row with a time of 1:36.360 will be Bennie Streuer and Ilse De Haas on their “Team Streuer” LCR, Honda. Another passenger for Streuer! Ilse is Bennie’s partner and she has raced world sidecar races before. Emmanuelle Clement was only helping out for free practice, and now Ilse did qualifying and will do the two races. Bennie said “It has been a crazy weekend so far, Kevin not able to race, but Emmanuelle able to help out, and what a great job she did, an excellent passenger for all the experience she has. And now I will race with my partner Ilse, she has raced with me before, and again, a great passenger. (With a grin on his face he also said) We have the best looking team in the paddock”
Sitting next to “Team Streuer” in fifth spot on the grid will be Michael Grabmuller and Sophia Kirchhofer on their “Polizisportverein Wels Delta Racing” LCR, Yamaha. They set a time of 1:37.143. The team did not have any problems with their machine. The team really did not do many qualifying laps, enough for their time, and to make sure their machine was all good. They were always back in the paddock before all the other teams. They are both looking forward to the races.
Heading row three is Scott Lawrie and Ben Hughes on their “Team SLR” LCR, Suzuki. The team have had a trying weekend so far. Missing all of free practice, due to an electrical problem. So it was catch up all the time for qualifying. The team also came back to the paddock early in qualifying one. Driver Scott thought he herd some strange noises coming from the engine, but when back in the paddock nothing could really be found. The second qualifier went well for the team, even with a small off track excursion; they set a time of 1:37.747. Both Scott and ben are looking forward to the two races and hope they can get good points for their championship challenge.
A great qualifying for Peter Kimeswenger and Jens Lehnertz on their “Austria Sidecar Racing-MRSC-Gunskirchen” LCR, Kawasaki. Seventh spot on the grid, with a time of 1:38.870. They did not have any machine problems. There lap times have been faster with every visit to the track, but all the other teams have improved their lap times, but they are happy with their position on the grid.
The final spot on row three goes to Lewis Blackstock and Patrick Rosney on their “Dave Holden Racing” LCR, Suzuki. Once again the “rookie team” are the fastest of the short chassis bikes. They set a time of 1:39.611. They had a trouble free qualifying improving their times with every visit to the track until maybe five minutes remaining in qualifying two when their machine came to a halt with total electrical failure. Lewis and Patrick are quite confident they know what the problem is and hope a quick fix will be all they need to rectify their problem.
Heading row four with a time of 1:40.295 is Gunther Bachmaier and Helen Deeley on their “MSV-Schwanenstadt, PSV-Wels” LCR, Suzuki. The team are happy with how things have gone over the weekend so far, and hope that they can have a good race and get some good points.
Sitting next to Bachmaier and Deeley in tenth spot, is Estelle Leblond and Melanie Farnier on their “Racing Side 11” SGR, Suzuki. They set a time of 1:40.886. All has gone well for the team over the weekend. And with no problems with their machine, they hope the race will be the same for them and more world championship points.
The 12 lap sprint race will start at 11:30 local time, tomorrow, (Saturday)
Sprint Race Report
“Birchall Brothers Storm to Victory”
With the sun shining down on the “FIM World Sidecar Championship” teams heading out on track for their sighting lap there was drama. “Team Early Grey” Eckart Rosinger and Steffen Werner had mechanical problems. Their machine had put oil onto the track; this resulted in a forty minute delay to the start of the race, while track marshals cleaned up.
Eventually when the race started, it was the Birchall Brother Ben and Tom who got the perfect start into the first series of bends on their “Birchall Racing” LCR, Yamaha. Pekka Paivarinta and Kirsi Kainulainen on their “44-Racing” LCR, Honda slotted into second place and gave chase to the Birchall Brothers. Bennie Streuer and Ilse De-Haas tagged onto the back of Paivarinta and Kainulainen, on their “Team Streuer” LCR, Honda. Lewis Blackstock and Patrick Rosney on their “Dave Holden Racing” LCR, Suzuki got a cracking start from eighth spot on the grid and leap frogged up to fourth spot, just in front of John Holden and Mark Wikes on their “Barnes/Sillicon Racing” LCR, Kawasaki.
Michael Grabmuller and Sophia Kirchhofer on their “Polizeisportverein Wels Delta Racing Team” LCR, Yamaha were right on the tail of Holden and Wilkes. Scott Lawrie and Ben Hughes on their “Team SLR” LCR, Suzuki were trying their hardest to get round the outside of Grabmuller and Kirchhofer into the first corner, but had to back off and let Grabmuller/Kirchhofer take the place.
Gunther Bachmaier and Helen Deeley had some contact with their “MSV-Schwanenstadt, PSV-Wels” LCR, Suzuki. Their sidecar wheel arch was pushed into the tyre resulting in smoke coming from their machine. They had to leave the track immediately, when they came to a halt the wheel arch was pushed back into place and the continued in the race, they were to finish in 12th place.
With Blackstock and Rosney getting a great start, Holden and Wilkes were keen to get by and give chase to Streuer and De-Haas. This did happen, and Grabmuller/Kirchhofer had the same idea as Holden/Wilkes. With these two teams passed and starting to pull away from the “Rookie Team”, Blackstock/ Rosney were increasingly under pressure from Lawrie/Hughes, who had Peter Kimeswenger and Jens Lehnertz on their “Austria Sidecar Racing-MRSC-Gunskirchen” LCR, Kawasaki, closing fast on their tail.
In the closing stages of the race there was more drama. Teams were gesturing to track officials, could there be some fluid or oil on track again?
When the flag came out again it was the Birchall Brothers Ben and Tom who had taken a decisive win. They had the fastest lap of the race too, a time of 1:33.175. They led from start to finish and had no problems with their machine. After the race passenger Tom said “In the final laps I could see there was something on track but not sure what it was, thankfully the flag came out and all was good for us, we hope tomorrow will be a good race for us too”.
Second place went to Paivarinta and Kainulainen, they had a lonely race, and with no chance in catching the Birchall Brothers, second was good for them. Their machine had no problems, and they hope they can maybe go one place better in tomorrow’s race.
Holden and Wilkes had passed Streuer/De-Haas for third place in the race. But when Streuer came to technical inspection after the race in fourth place, he said, “There was oil coming from Holden/Wilkes machine. I nearly went off track when the front of the machine slid under braking”.
Scott Lawrie and Ben Hughes took fifth place, with Scott saying, “That was good, I really enjoyed that, we had a good battle to get here and we managed to catch and pass Michael and Sophia for the fifth place.
Grabmuller and Kirchhofer took sixth place. After the race Michael said, “With four laps to go I was sure there was oil on track, I found the track slippy. But sixth is ok, our bike had no problems, I hope we can go well tomorrow”.
Kimeswenger and Lehnertz managed to overhaul Blackstock and Rosney for seventh place. The team were happy with this position and hope tomorrow will be the same if not better for them.
Eighth place went to Blackstock and Rosney, the team were reasonably happy with this, but driver Blackstock said “We had no front end grip, this slowed us up, we could not get a new tyre for the front. I think if we had that, we could have been better placed. But it is good for us another finish, and good points for us”.
Ninth place went to Janez Remse and Robbie Shorter on their “Remse Racing” ARS, Yamaha. They were happy with this as it was their first race on the new machine. Passenger Shorter said “We are going steadily ahead, we are still getting to grips with the new bike, we are happy with the result and we go again tomorrow, let’s hope we can do the same or better”.
Tenth place went to Estelle Leblond and Melanie Farnier on their “Racing Side” SGR, Suzuki. The team were happy with this result, with Estelle saying, “ I enjoyed the race, the bike was good, we had no problems with it, I hope we can have a good race tomorrow too”.
Eleventh place went to Jakob Rutz and Manuel Hirschi on their “Sidecar-Racing-Team-Rutz” LCR Yamaha. Driver Jakob said “It is a finish, okay I suppose, we would have liked a better result, but the machine was okay”.
After the race all teams were at technical inspection. John Holden and Mark Wilkes had a big inspection to their machine. Oil had come from their machine in the closing stages of the race.
Driver, John, came out from the inspection and publicly apologized to all the other teams and team members for what had happened. The team did not know about the oil leak till the end of the race. The other teams after John’s statement applauded his honesty.
Tomorrow there will be a 20 lap Gold Race, starting at 12:30 local time.
Gold Race Report.
“Two in a row for Birchall Brothers”
With the sun shining, the lights went out for the twenty lap Gold race.
It was Pekka Paivarinta and Kirsi Kainulainen on their “44-Racing” LCR, Honda who got the jump on the rest of the field into the first corner. Bennie Streuer and Ilse De-Haas on their “Team Streuer” LCR, Honda, were right on the tail of Paivarinta and Kainulainen. Ben and Tom Birchall slotted into third with their “Birchall Racing” LCR, Yamaha. John Holden and Mark Wilkes with their “Barnes/Sillicon Racing” LCR, Kawasaki were right alongside the Birchall Brothers. Scott Lawrie and Ben Hughes with their “Team SLR” LCR, Suzuki slotted into fifth edging out Michael Grabmuller and Sophia Kirchhofer on their “Polizeisportverein Wels Delta Racing Team” LCR, Yamaha in sixth.
Lewis Blackstock and Patrick Rosney on their “Dave Holden Racing” LCR, Suzuki, did not get as good a start as they did yesterday, but they slotted into seventh, just in front of Gunther Bachmaier and Helen Deeley on their “MSV-Schwanenstadt PSV-Wels” LCR, Suzuki.
By the end of the lap one Holden and Wilkes had passed Streuer and De-Haas for third place. The top three teams were to keep their position for the rest of the race, and it was really a lonely race for them. They were going for best lap times, being out on their own.
Streuer and De-Haas were slowing a little and starting to come under the scrutiny of Lawrie and Hughes who had made a small gap on Grabmuller and Kirchhofer, who were keeping a steady distance in front of and Blackstock and Rosney.
Further down the field a good battle was developing between Janez Remse and Robbie Shorter on their “Remse Racing” ARS, Yamaha who had caught and passed Bachmaier and Deeley, they were just in front of Jakob Rutz and Manuel Hirschi on their “Sidecar-Racing-Team-Rutz” LCR, Yamaha.
By half distance, the top three teams were out on their own. Streuer and De-Haas had managed to make a good gap on Lawrie and Hughes who were now locked in a great battle with Grabmuller and Kirchhofer. These two teams were to have a battle royal up until the final few laps of the race. They also had made a good gap between themselves and Blackstock and Rosney, who were now like the top four teams, out on their own.
The other battle between Remse/Shorter, Bachmaier/Deeley, and Rutz/Hirschi was hotting up with Bachmaier/Deeley getting past Remse/Shorter who were now under threat of getting passed by Rutz/Hirschi. Also catching these three teams was Estelle Leblond and Melanie Farnier on their “Racing Side ll” SGR, Suzuki.
By the end of the race, Ben and Tom Birchall took a decisive win over Paivarinta and Kainulainen. They crossed the line over 27 seconds ahead. And their fastest lap of the race was a time of 1:32.168. Holden and Wilkes took the flag for third, 22 seconds down on Paivarinta and Kainulainen. The top three teams were really happy with how the race had gone, albeit a lonely race for them all. All teams reported no problems with their machines.
Streuer and De-Haas took fourth place. Both were really happy with the result especially De-Haas, who said, “This is great, two fourth places in the world championship, I am a bit weary, but I have never raced so many laps in races before. I really enjoyed the weekend”. Streuer also said, “We had a small problem with the bike, I am not sure, but I think it may be a small electrical problem. But I am happy how the weekend has gone. I would like to thank all the people who have helped out this weekend, especially Emmanuelle who did a great job in free practice, and to Ilse who helped us get the two great fourth places”.
The Grabmuller/Kirchhofer, Lawrie/Hughes battle had settled down a little by the end of the race, but both teams had to keep pushing as a little mistake by any one of them would mean a lost position. Lawrie/Hughes also had to protect his sixth place from Blackstock/Rosney. But in the end all stayed the same.
Grabmuller/Kirchhofer took fifth place, Lawrie/Hughes, sixth and Blackstock/Rosney seventh. Again these three teams had no problems with their machines, and all said the enjoyed the race.
Eighth place went to Bachmaier and Deeley who were really happy with the result, and with no problems with their machine, a good result for them.
A delighted Leblond and Farnier took ninth place; they pushed hard towards the end of the race and managed to overhaul Remse/Shorter and Rutz/Hirschi for this position. Leblond said after “I was not sure if we could do it, my fore arms are so tiered. I enjoyed the race but I was happy to see the chequered flag”
Rutz/Hirschi took tenth place, with Rutz saying “It was okay, my bike was good, but a different passenger this weekend, but hey, I must thank Manuel for helping us out”
Remse/Shorter took eleventh place, maybe not what the team wanted, but two race finishes was good, and all in all, it was learning weekend for them both, setting the new bike up and the first time they had both raced together.
Twelfth place went to Peter Kimeswenger and Jens Lehnertz on their “Austria Sidecar Racing-MRSC-Gunskirchen” LCR, Kawasaki. The team were a little disappointed with this but another finish for the team.
There is a break of four weeks (less now as this report took ages for me to get on here - SE) until the next round in Hungary. And that will be a two race format weekend too.