FIM Sidecars – Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement bring reduced lead to Donington Park 15-17 July
The Donington Park Round of World SBK will once again host the Superside family in the fifth round of what has been an outstanding Championship year. Whilst grid numbers have not been high, we have witnessed fierce four and five-way battles at the front, and equally strong scraps all the way down. The half-hour highlights TV Show filmed at each round has extended the audience and attracted new viewers to the sport.
Marcus Schlosser/Marcel Fries (Gustoil Yamaha) have closed to within sixteen points of series leaders Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement. At the previous round in Croatia, the Santander Salt Yamaha failed to finish the second race, giving added impetus and encouragement to the defending champions. Last year at Donington Park, Schlosser suffered the same fate, so he will be hoping history does not repeat.
Victory in Croatia also gave a leg-up to third placed Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Yamaha). They are looking safe in third, but trail Schlosser by forty-four points whilst almost fifty ahead of Gustoil Yamaha’s fourth placed Lukas Wyssen/Thomas Hofer.
This year we have seen an injection of new talent in the form of Harry Payne/Mark Wilkes, who, but for taking a sabbatical for the Isle of Man TT, would surely have been even more in the running. They have more than shown what they are capable of, improving all the time.
Likewise, Benny Streuer/Kevin Kolsch, race winners in Hungary, have displayed the speed which took the Dutchman to a previous title. But for a couple of crashes, they would be among the leaders.
Given there have been no Tim Reeves/Kevin Rousseau to speak of, and an absent Pekka Pavairinta through remedial surgery, the show has been a good one. If or when either or both these crews return, then the spectacle will be truly amazing. The Finn is due to make an appearance before season end, and we hope it is sooner rather than later. As for the Bonovo Action sponsored Anglo/French crew, only they know the answer.
With the appearance of Sam and Tom Christie in Croatia, there is every possibility other leading British crews will enter the fray in Donington Park. Certainly, Rob Biggs will be out on the other Santander Salt bike, and his entry shows he has employed the services of experienced passenger Jake Lowther.
Rupert Archer/Steve Thomas are on the score board with their Hannafin Adolf RS chassis, and thoroughly enjoyed their Spa outing. I think we will see them back for more in Donington.
The dedicated RKB-F1 TV crew will be there to record interviews and features, with race footage provided by Dorna TV. The usual highlights show will follow in due course.
Photo credit: Mark ‘Wally’ Walters