Seventy-four years ago, the village of Thruxton first shook to the sound of powerful engines as fighter planes roared into the skies over Hampshire. Next weekend (22-24 July) huge horsepower once again returns to do battle over the two and a half mile perimeter road circuit, as the British Sidecar Championship comes to town.
All eyes will be on local Hampshire boys and defending champions Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood who hold a slender three point lead over their big rivals multiple world and British champions Tim Reeves and Gregory Cluze.
Brian Gray and Adam Christie
The latter pair has taken victory in all five races they have contested this season, whilst Stevens and Charlwood have experienced a bit of a wobble, first at Knockhill with an injury to the passenger, and then again at Snetterton with a spin, and resultant fight back for points. Reeves is without doubt the man to beat, and the Yamaha is now flying. Thruxton calls for high speed and strong pulling power up Woodham Hill. The Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki might just have an advantage in that direction, but all will be revealed once action gets under way.
Rod Robinson and Shelley Smithies
Other local hopefuls include Ben Holland and Lee Watson who, since joining Rupert Archer's Hannafin Racing squad, have shown more of the form we know they are capable of. They sit fourth in the chase twelve points behind the sensation of the series BSB star Chris Walker who, with passenger Ashley Hawes, is the only other driver to share Steven's record of scoring in every round. It could well be that this consistency pays huge dividends in his rookie season.
Phillipe Gallerne and Helen Deeley
There are several big names yet to show maximum potential. This surely includes Gary Horspole and James Connell. They have delivered a good turn of speed this year, only to be thwarted by mechanical gremlins and the odd "red mist moment". Gary Bryan and Jamie Wynn on another Santander Salt Kawasaki are enjoying their best season, currently fifth in the table ahead of the second Hannafin bike of Archer and Thomas. It is also expected that Andy Peach and Charlie Richardson will make a return with everything to prove, following Peach's enforced medical sabbatical.
Matt The Midget and Ade Hope
Three eight lap races lie ahead of the intrepid charioteers, with the Sunday race taking place late morning outside of the live Eurosport TV slot. Fear not however, because the Motors TV crew will be on hand to produce the usual half-hour highlights package for screening the following week.
Dean Nicholls and Samantha Tilley
Will Thruxton be the turning point in this year's title chase? All bets are off until close of play on Sunday.