FIM Sidecars: Assen World Superbike embraces round four 23-25th July
For the second time in a matter of weeks, The FIM Sidecar World Championship runs alongside the World SBK series. The venue this time being the famous “Cathedral of Speed” Assen circuit in Holland where there is an almost fanatical support for the “Zijspan” class. The tradition of sidecar racing in The Netherlands goes back a long way with Egbert Streuer and Bernard Schnieders winning three consecutive titles in the eighties.
Assen brings the 2021 championship chase to the half-way stage, with a young Briton and his French lady passenger perfectly poised to take the series lead.
Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha) took a debut win at the previous Donington Park round moving them to within two points of series leaders Markus Schlosser/Marcel Fries. The pair have combined well in this, Ellis’s first world championship season.
Schlosser had a mechanical failure on the warm-up lap for race two Donington, which sent him for an early bath and zero points. His speed, however, is undeniable and he will be a hard nut to crack at Assen. Veteran Finn and four-times champion Pekka Paivarinta/Ilse de Haas sit third ahead of Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau (Bonovo Action Yamaha).
The seven-times champion has not had the best start to his season with a couple of mechanical issues, but freely admits the new level of competition and close racing is exactly what the sport needs. We certainly had that at Donington Park when eventual race two winners Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood scrapped throughout with Ellis and Reeves, capitalising on their fight, to take victory and move fifth in the chase.
The Lauder based pair had not shown their true colours for mechanical reasons, but now they have well and truly arrived. Rob Biggs and Jeroen Schmitz make an opening appearance at this the home race for Biggs passenger. They are forsaking the chance to claim points in the Molson Group series, to complete the Santander Salt line-up in Holland with a real chance of good points.
From the Isle of Man come Harry Payne and Mark Wilkes. They showed a remarkable turn of speed last time out, and with the reigning world champion passenger alongside, Payne is inspired. The sixth British crew making the trip to Holland is Kevin Cable and Kyle Masters, who are thoroughly enjoying their foray onto the world stage. They have scored valuable points already, with high hopes of more to come.
The clash with Brands Hatch British Superbikes means that whilst these teams are fighting for world honours, the British Championship gathers momentum in Kent.