FIM Sidecars: All eyes on sunny Croatia for round five 20-22nd August
As the 2021 season moves into its second half, the battle at the top of the standings reflects a dominant performance by the vastly experienced Swiss crew Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries (Gustoil Racing Yamaha).
They enjoy a thirty-two-point advantage over series newcomers Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement and their Santander Salt Yamaha LCR.
An incident last time out at Assen involving Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau left Ellis/Clement in the gravel in race one, empty-handed as far as points went, hence the wide deficit.
The Bonovo Action duo of Reeves/Rousseau salvaged third place in that race, but now sit in fifth place in the standings, eighty points behind Schlosser. The long journey to the Automotodrom Grobnik will give Ellis the opportunity to close the gap at the top, and he will certainly be aiming to make up the deficit.
A somewhat rejuvenated Pekka Paivarinta is third, twenty points behind Ellis, and he is more than capable of springing a surprise at this stage in the season. Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood have got their act together and play a smart game waiting and watching the others knock the ball out of the park. Twice already they have benefitted from incidents ahead of them, so who’s to say Croatia will be any different? They find themselves just seventeen points off third place and eleven ahead of Reeves/Rousseau.
Fourteen teams from eight nations have signed up for the long haul to Croatia with some of the lesser lights almost certain to gain respectable points for their efforts.
Schlosser is fast, very fast, and he is obviously the target for everyone to aim at. For Ellis to win the title in his debut year would be a dream come true, but he has the speed too, and already has shown a huge amount of maturity and patience. With four more rounds ahead of them, it is all very much still to play for.
Photo credits: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters