Traditionally a favourite circuit with the sidecar brigade, the ultra-fast Cathedral of Speed will stage races seventeen and eighteen of the 2016 British Sidecar Championship this coming weekend 1/2nd October, with just two more races to go before the Champions are crowned for this season at Brands Hatch in a couple of weeks.
It seems only yesterday we were welcoming Chris Walker and Ashley Hawes to the family as "new kids on the block", with barely any notion as to how they would fare. They take their Santander Salt Kawasaki LCR to Assen fourth in the table, with the added distinction of being the only crew to have scored points in every single race contested. This becomes even more meaningful when you consider that for the final round, there will be the usual double points in each race on offer. So ahead of Assen, there are still one hundred and fifty priceless points there to be had.
Technically then, we have four crews in the hunt for honours with just seventy-nine points splitting them. Favourites, with a forty-nine point lead, are the reigning champions Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood aboard their Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki, who hold that advantage over Portsmouth neighbours Ben Holland and Lee Watson for Hannafin Kawasaki.
Just eight points further back is dark horse and five times world champion Tim Reeves, who with French passenger Greg Cluze, is in a very rich vein of form on the Team Eaide Motorsport Remse Racing Yamaha. They know that nothing less than victory at Assen will suffice if they are to give themselves a fighting chance in the finale. Then we have Walker "The Stalker" with a slim, but mathematically possible tilt at the championship in his rookie season.
All this suspense and drama will guarantee action and close racing in Holland, with something of a feud developing between Reeves and Stevens. The battle lines were drawn up at Thruxton, a compulsory truce was declared at Mallory with a "no show" by Reeves, and then all hell broke loose again at the Donington triple-header, with a resounding double from the Anglo-French pairing following disqualification from the opener.
Expect also to see a good selection of 600cc outfits joining at the Dutch circuit for the first time, although this class is already well and truly wrapped up by Ben and Tom Birchall on their astonishingly quick Mitchells of Mansfield Honda.
The Dutch adore the three-wheelers, and the sidecar paddock is always a fascination for them, especially as their own National ONK runners are on hand to swell the grid size to maximum and compete on level terms against the "Best of British". With thirteen victories between them, Reeves and Stevens are expected to head them all home – but as we all know, this is racing and anything, just about anything can, and probably will happen.