Sidecars are ready to go
It has been a long winter for all sidecar teams, but the first round of the 2018 FIM Sidecar World Championship is here, and will take place at the world famous 4,185km “Bugatti Circuit” at Le-Mans, France on the 21st April. The World Sidecars will be supporting the famous “24 Houres Motos” for solo motorcycles.
Overall there will be 7 rounds with ten races, at some of the best circuits in the world.
Most teams have done, and had successful winter testing. Some have even been competing in national and domestic championships. These teams will be up and raring to get going in the new World Championship season. There will be a lot of new faces competing for the world crown this year, but they will have to try and take the title from the 2017 champions Ben and Tom Birchall.
Finnish driver Pekka Paivarinta is sticking with Honda power for this year in his LCR chassis. He will have a new passenger in the name of Jussi Veravainen, a fellow Finn. Kirsi Kainulainen who was passenger to Paivarinta and won the 2016 world title has moved on to fulfill a child hood dream, and signed a deal to race a solo motorcycle for a top Dutch race team. However I am sure she will be seen in the paddock sometime throughout the year.
Third in last year’s championship, John Holden has teamed up with Manx man Lee Cain. Holden and Cain had a very successful test in France with the team focusing on brake and suspension testing. Holden is sticking with Kawasaki power for the year, and hopes that the year will be better than last year, although last year was good for the team, they did have some braking issues leaving them with a no points score, or low points.
Dutch driver Bennie Streuer with French passenger Kevin Rousseau, have made the switch from Honda to Kawasaki power. The pair have had a successful preseason testing and have had success racing in the domestic French championship recently. A good result here in Le-Mans will be just the ticket for the team and will certainly be great for local man Rousseau.
Michael Grabmuller another driver with a French passenger, Sebastien Lavorel, stay with Yamaha power in their LCR chassis. They also will be looking for a good result.
Rookie team last year and sixth overall in the championship, Lewis Blackstock and Patrick Rosney will be rearing to get going this year. They changed chassis half way through the season last year, and now they have had a season getting to know the circuit’s I am sure they will be fighting for a podium place.
Scottish driver Scott Lawrie has paired up with Michael Fairhurst for the season. Lawrie has made the change to Yamaha power for this year. Testing went well for the team, but Lawrie wanted to make some major changes to the machine before arriving in Le-Mans. The team hopes the changes will be for the best.
New teams coming to the championship this year and are for the watching, they could upset the regular teams to the championship.
British team Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood, double British Champions, 2015/16. They have good backing and tech help. They will run Kawasaki engines in their LCR chassis.
The all Swiss team of Lukas Wyssen and Thomas Hofer with their LCR chassis and Yamaha engine will be looking for a good weekend here in Le-Mans. Wyssen contested the Domestic French championship in the past so he will know his way round Le-Mans.
Three more teams from Britain looking for World Championship Glory. Ben Holland and Lee Watson, they have made the big switch to 600cc and to the world championship. Alan Founds and Tom Christie, driver Founds has done some wild card entries in the past, but wants a proper bite at the apple. Another young team who have been testing and racing a lot this year so far is Sam Christie and Adam Christie, they are hungry for the battle and they will be hoping that their Yamaha powered LCR will be up for the job.
The championship is looking good this year, former world champions, new teams and young blood. Let battle commence.
There will be a 17 lap race, on the 21st, starting at midday local time.