The most popular sidecar test week in the calender is once again just round the corner ahead of a new season.


Always well supported by crews from across Europe, Carlo's Trainingslager is scheduled from 18-22 March at the Val de Vienne Circuit in Le Vigeant, France.
This is an important test for all members of the sidecar fraternity, whether they are World Championship competitors, or National runners.


Open to all chassis configurations, the Val de Vienne test week has become a “must do” for any team eyeing success in the coming season.
It is particularly crucial to those members of the British Championship paddock who are switching to 600cc power in line with the new regulations.


At the head of that elite queue are the reigning British Champions Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clarke, who lifted the last (for the foreseeable future) 1000cc title on their Santander Salt Kawasaki.
They will be breaking in a brand new Yamaha 600 in France, and getting to grips with less power, but high corner speed.
A former top-level F2 driver, Kershaw is no stranger to the smaller power unit, and will adapt quickly, as he must do, if they are to successfully defend their title.

Runners up in 2018 and 600 Cup Champions Todd Ellis/Charlie Richardson are chomping at the bit to get going in the new season, with high expectations for their Santander Salt 600. If their pace in the Brands finale is anything to go by, they will be right at the front.

Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde are another pairing who went from strength to strength last season, and with strong Isle of Man TT finished to their credit, are well versed with the smaller engine. They too will use Val de Vienne to familiarise themselves with the “long chassis/600 power” configuration.

Gary Horspole and James Connell who finished sixth, in their best season to date on the Sleaford Quality Foods/Baker Plant Hire long bike, will also be testing a new 600.
Horspole, a former F2 Champion, is relishing the chance to re-acquaint himself with the smaller power plant, and will also use the Val de Vienne test to its maximum.

Back after half a season out with injury and wrecked machinery, Rupert Archer returns for Hannafin Racing, and is another with high hopes for his 600cc debut.

Former Hannafin team-mate Ben Holland returns for a full season once again partnered by the experienced Lee Watson, and are eager to use France to sharpen their skills ahead of an exciting new season.

Add to this still-growing list of British Championship teams attending, a comprehensive line-up from the World Championship, with many teams from across mainland Europe, and the event looks like having a record attendance.

Multiple world Champions Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes head the International field, with eyes set firmly on reclaiming the World title. It is hoped they will see fit to return to the British series, but that will be revealed in due course.
Val de Vienne will be a vital test for them to ensure the gremlins which troubled them last year are gone for good.

So as the days tick by, the new season draws ever closer, with Val de Vienne the first real test ahead of what certainly seems to be a resurgent sidecar racing community.

 

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