Legendary Spa circuit hosts World Championship round three, June 2-5th

From Barry Nutley

The sight of grand prix sidecars streaming through Eau Rouge and away along the Keppel Straight is a sight to stir even the most passive of motorsport fans. That is what to expect the weekend of June 2-5th when the third round of the FIM Sidecar World Championship again joins the FIM Endurance World Championship, this time at the famous 4.352 miles Ardennes circuit of Spa Francorchamps in Belgium.

Four races are already done with fierce battles up front. Young British star Todd Ellis (Santander Salt Yamaha) and French lady passenger Emmanuelle Clement, hold a slender four-point lead over reigning champions Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries. The Swiss Gustoil Yamaha team have been as strong as last season, earning universal respect for their skill and determination.

In third place is many times champion Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau who will not improve on his current score. He, along with Ben and Tom Birchall, is competing in the Isle of Man TT, which unfortunately clashes with the Spa event. All efforts were made to slot the dates with other events, but the opportunity to compete alongside another FIM major series was a priority.

That will almost certainly leave the door open for fourth place Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood to move up the table on their Quattro Yamaha. The current British Champions have excelled on the world stage, registering strong finishes at every round so far. By far the strongest talent not in the top six is former champion Benny Streuer from the Netherlands. He and Kevin Kolsch are playing catch-up on the Bonovo Yamaha and will be strong contenders in Belgium. They are joined by compatriots Vermeule/Bouius.

Six nations in total feature on the grid with a large French contingent headed by Ted and Vincent Peugeot. The nineteen-year-old, with his father alongside has been a bright light of young talent, with more to come. They sit seventh, just four points off Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes (DAO1886 Yamaha). This latter pair are also entered for the TT and may have to make some hard decisions. We wish them luck.

Five French crews in total join the fray, along with five British and two Swiss teams in the shape of Schlosser and Lukas Wyssen. Rupert Archer/Steve Thomas also wave the flag for the UK and Hannafin, with Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson performing on their L&W Yamaha. Markus Schwegler/Ondrej Kopecky trek from Germany and Czech Republic respectively, with home honours defended by Belgians Cedric and Arnaud Pierard. A dedicated TV crew will once again record the action for later transmission, with broadcast schedules and destinations already decided in many countries.

Media Matters – Barry Nutley         barry.nutley@btinternet.com