Mansfield sidecar racing brothers Ben and Tom Birchall got their 2016 world championship season off to the best of starts by taking the decisive win at Le Mans in the opening round of the FIM F2 Sidecar World Trophy on Saturday.

The championship consists of nine races held at six of the fastest circuits in the world with the first round held at the Le Mans circuit in France prior to the 24 hour World Endurance race.

(update: Podium shot is by BigWally, I missed that bit) 

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"Reeves and Cluze Battle the Elements for Race Win"

One hour before the start of the 18 lap FIM Sidecar Championship and FIM Sidecar F2 World Trophy, all teams and pit crews were looking to the skies. Most machines had slick tyres fitted, but the rain was not far away. The heavens opened, and the rain fell. Four of the sidecar teams had arrived in the holding area before going out on track, with slicks on, they were franticly working to change tyres as other team's arrived in to the holding area. One of the machines had to be moved into pit lane to let the rest of the teams through.

Tim Reeves and Greg Cluze have won the first round of the World Championship at Le Mans in very wet conditions, well done boys! Great job! 

I'm sure a full report from BigWally will follow shortly but til then, the results sheet. Click read more. 

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"Delannoy and Rousseau Start From Pole Position.

Approximately two hours before the second qualifying session was to start the heavens opened, not only rain but hailstones too, it was to last a good half hour.
By the time the qualifying was to start the track had dried but with damp patches and not a lot of grip.

The time that Sebastien Delannoy and Kevin Rousseau set in Q1 on their "Team Sand Seb 72" LCR, Suzuki was to be good enough for pole position. Delannoy and Rousseau did not go out on track in Q2. Delannoy said later "I decided not to go out on track because it would be very slippy and I would not improve on the time I did in Q1, and I was pretty sure nobody would improve with their times. I am very happy with how the bike is going, we don't have any problems. We are looking forward to the race tomorrow, and a win here would just be the icing on the cake for us.

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Delannoy and Rousseau top the time sheet.

With the sun blazing down on the sidecar teams, it was Sebastien Delannoy and Kevin Rousseau on their "Team Sand Seb 72" LCR, Suzuki who were to post the fastest time of 1:43.238 in qualifying one. The team were really pleased with how things went, with Delannoy saying "Perfect, the bike is good, Kevin is doing a great job, and I think we can go faster if we need to, we will just keep an eye on the other teams in Q2, just to see what times they are doing".

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As the sidecars took to the 4.185 km Bugatti circuit the track was damp in places but a dry line was visible all round the circuit. There were however some scary moments for some teams as the passed under the "Dunlop" bridge, the track was very damp under the bridge causing the sidecars to get well out of shape as they were getting the power down, all teams went out on track with slick tyres.

All teams had no mechanical problems so it was really suspension set up and braking problems they were sorting out.

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The ever busy Mark Dennis has posted the free practice times from Superside Le Mans in the Timekeeper's Section here

Round One, Le-Mans, France. Preview.


The 2016 FIM World Sidecar Championship will consist of nine races held at six of the fastest race circuits in the world. Round one will be held at the famous 4.273 km "Bugatti Circuit" at Le-Mans, France. There will be an 18 lap race on Saturday 9th of April, starting at 11.30am local time.

A full grid of 27 sidecars has been entered for round one. This year there will be two classes of sidecar on the grid, but racing for two different championships. The "FIM Sidecar World Championship" for 1000cc powered machines which are fitted in a monocoque chassis. This will be the last year that 1000cc engines will be permitted to race in the championship, due to new rules implemented by the FIM for 2017.

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From the FIM we have a list of starters at the first round of Superside to take place at Le Mans from 7th to 9th April. 

Sprint and Gold race.

With two races looming, for the "FIM 600cc World Sidecar trophy". "Team Shand Racing" set to changing their Honda 600 engine in their "Shand Chassis". Mechanic Douglas got all the relevant parts dismantled, while driver Gordon prepped the spare engine. Gordon had also recruited old friend and passenger Peter Hill to accompany the team to Germany, to help with the driving of the team truck "The Big Yellow Banana" as it is known to some. He and passenger for the weekend, Belgian Frank, sorted and cleaned all the parts.