FIM Sidecar: Le Mans poised for 2021 season opener

FIM Sidecar: Le Mans poised for 2021 season opener

FIM Sidecar: Le Mans poised for 2021 season opener

John Holden

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 are now 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, WSBK 2 x races
July 23-25 Assen, Holland WSBK 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
British F1: Two races at Oulton Park to get the season under-way

British F1: Two races at Oulton Park to get the season under-way

British F1: Two races at Oulton Park to get the season under-way

Sidecar racing at Cadwell Park

The weekend of June 25-27 sees Oulton Park host the opening round of 2021 as per the published schedule.

In previous years, the constraints placed on the circuit by reduced track time have meant that the sidecars have been allocated just the one race. This has been unpopular, but also recognised as unavoidable.

Roger Body has been lobbying hard over this particular sticking point and his efforts have finally paid off.

The Oulton Park opener will now feature two sidecar races, thereby getting the season away to a meaningful haul of points for the championship hopefuls. This is due solely to Roger’s efforts and a large degree of cooperation from Stuart Higgs and the MSVR organisation.

It is now over ten years since the premier sidecars became a regular support  class on the British Superbike calendar, and clearly the relationship forged between the two parties has reaped mutual rewards.

The acceptance level of sidecars in the BSB paddock is without question, and it is also recognised that they provide a colourful and entertaining addition to any BSB race weekend.

RKB-F1 paddock presence 2021 season

RKB-F1 paddock presence 2021 season

RKB-F1 paddock presence 2021 season

Santander Salt Molson Group liveried truck

The 2021 Sidecar World Championship season finally takes to the track in Le Mans over the weekend of 11-12 June.

Two weeks later, the Hungaroring hosts the second round, whilst simultaneously, the Molson Group British Championship roars into life at Oulton Park.

It has taken an enormous amount of work and planning by Roger Body and the team to bring these two series to fruition, and the front end of that effort is now clearly visible in the published championship schedules.

Behind the scenes, yet more work has been going on to provide a central paddock facility offering a profile worthy of the series organiser and promoter.

A brand new purpose-built forty-foot race truck and awning has been commissioned and will be not only the paddock base for the Santander Salt Race Team, but also the hub of the event organisation at all FIM World Championship events and those British races which do not clash.

Roger also runs and manages his race own team in Santander Salt colours. The line-up comprised two sidecars and one 600cc Superstock Yamaha.

Heading up the challenge for World honours are 2019 British Champions Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson, ably supported by Rob Biggs and Jeroen Schmitz who have their eyes firmly on British Championship glory.

In the same BSB paddock, yet with one wheel less, will be Jack Nixon fighting for a second season in search of the 600cc Superstock title.

The new truck is prioritised for FIM GP duty but will be a very impressive facility indeed when all riders are at home in the UK paddock. The unit boasts office and catering facilities, sleeping accommodation, a large hospitality area and garage space for the race teams.

Driver and hospitality administrator will be the familiar and amiable Glenn Walsh who has the huge responsibility of maintaining the exacting standards expected at this level.

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