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Assen next up as season draws to a close

 

Known as the “Cathedral of Speed”, the famous Assen circuit in Holland is the destination for round nine of The Hyundai Heavy Industries British Sidecar Championship over the weekend of 29th September - 1st October.

The event welcomes two pairs of newly crowned champion brothers, in Tim and Tristan Reeves (Carl Cox Motorsport Kawsaki), who clinched the British title at the previous round at Cadwell, and Ben and Tom Birchall, 2017 FIM World Champions, after dominating that series on their Mitchells of Manfield 600cc Yamaha.

There will no lifting of the pedal however, as both crews are still on a mission with unfinished business.

The Reeves brothers intend to go the entire season with an unblemished record of wins, whilst the Birchalls have their eyes on the 600cc British Cup title to add to their FIM Gold medal.

The task will be far from easy, with an array of talent lining up to stop them doing just that. In the premier class, outgoing champions Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood are capable of delivering a win on the JG Speedfit Cool Kawasaki, as are the rapidly improving Steven Kershaw and Stuart Clark.

At Cadwell, the Scots muscled the Express Tyres/Blinkbonny Kawasaki round with lap times rivalling the best Reeves could offer.

They have a great team ethic, and are certainly the men lost likely to stop Tim and Tristan's domination.

Third in the title chase, Ben Holland/Stuart Ramsay (now hopefully fully recovered from the frightening Thruxton crash) are having a good season on the Hannafin Kawasaki, and will definitely be in the mix.

Regrettably, Chris Walker and Ashley Hawes are obliged to withdraw, as Chris's back injury continues to heal. He is still in a brace, and clearly, an injury of that magnitude needs time to recover.

Another crew not making the grid are Rob Biggs and Ben Ransley. The latter has announced his retirement, certainly in the short term, whilst Biggs his driver, is faced with a colossal bill for the rebuild of the outfit from the Thruxton debacle. It is not known if he will re-appear again this season, but will certainly be missed in Assen. Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde sit in fifth place, and will be pushing the Santander Salt Kawasaki to new levels in search of points. Since pairing up with Hyde, Bryan seems to have found a new level of confidence and determination.

In the 600cc Cup class, Todd Ellis and Chaz Richardson are looking over their shoulders at the Birchall threat, because whilst they currently enjoy a thirty-two point cushion, there are sixty points still available, including the double points from the finale at Brands Hatch. Their role is crystal clear. Consistent podium finishes, regardless of what anyone else does, will secure them the title in their rookie year.

Still in the hunt in this class, are the Christie brothers Sam and Adam. They sit between Ellis and the advancing Birchalls, with third place a distinct possibility.

The wild card list is impressive too, with two former world champions lining up to spoil the party at The Cathedral. Pekka Paivairinta, currently entered with Gregory Cluze, brings his 600 expertise to the fray, as does local man Bennie Streuer.

With the world series now over, it is time to see how these FIM regulars fare against Britain's best.

A record grid will provide terrific action for the hoards of Dutch sidecar fans who pack the start-finish line grandstand.

There will be live Eurosport coverage, and a dedicated RKB-F1 TV crew will be present to produce the usual highlights show for Frontrunner TV and the new “Motortrend on Demand” on-line channel across Europe.

USA and Canadian viewers courtesy of MAV TV, along with a large Australian and NZ audience, will also enjoy the action when it is aired later in the season.

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

 

 

BSB / British Sidecar Championship Partners

Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood
Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood


Stephen Kershaw and Stuart Clark
Stephen Kershaw and Stuart Clark


Tim and Tris Reeves
Tim and Tris Reeves


Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson
Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson

Copyright: Photos: JCM Motorsport

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