After what has seemed an eternity, the FIM Sidecar World Championship explodes into life at Le Mans alongside the FIM EWC World Endurance Championship.
With Covid-19 protocols strictly in place at the circuit, the presence of spectators is not allowed at this the first round, but with the vaccine programmes being rolled out across Europe, hopes are high for a resumption of normal business at the earliest opportunity. Support has been strong for Le Mans, with twenty crews from six nations on the entry list.
No fewer than six teams are entered from the UK including the current British Champions Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood and 2019 Champions Todd Ellis and Chaz Richardson. The former Santander Salt team-mates will be locking horns with reigning and multiple World Champions Tim Reeves and Kevin Rousseau. Also lining up is the formidable Finn, Pekka Paivairinta with new passenger Kim Friman.
John Holden and Jason Pitt are another new pairing making the trip, with Rob Biggs and Kevin Cable completing the British attack.
This will be a big day for the series after a year out with COVID-19 problems. All the teams are itching to get to grips with the Bugatti circuit, which for some of them will be familiar. For others, the learning curve just got steeper.
Two races on the programme will give them ample chance for big points, so by close of play on Saturday, we will have a new set of standings to take forward to Hungary.
Provisional dates remain as follows –
June 11-12 Le Mans-Bugatti France 2 x races
June 26-27 Pannoniaring Hungary 2 x races
July 2-4 Donington Park World SBK 2 x races
July 23-25 Assen World SBK 2 x races
August 20-22 Grobnik-Rijeka Croatia 2 x races
October 1-3 Oschersleben Germany 2 x races
October 15-17 Brands Hatch UK 2 x races
October 29-31 Estoril Portugal 2 x races