FIM Sidecar World Championship heads to Grobnik, Croatia

The last round of the FIM Sidecar World Championship was way back in April, but most of the permanent teams have been competing in domestic Championships, and in some cases the Isle of Man TT races.

This weekend sees the Championship head to Grobnik in Croatia, just south of Rijeka, inland from the Adriatic coast and with stunning views of the mountains all round the circuit. The 4.168km, anti-clockwise “Automotodrom Grobnik” circuit opened in 1978 and until 1990 the Yugoslavian motorcycle GP was held here. In the past, the track has been known to be hard on man and machine, and the 15-turn abrasive surface very hard on tyres. Air temperatures get up into the high 30’s and track temperatures can soar into the 70’s.

The Finnish pairing of Pekka Paivarinta and Kirsi Kainulainen head into this two-race meeting leading the Championship with 40 points. They will be hoping to increase their lead over the rest of the field, and having done some testing here way back in February, they will be fighting hard for a good result.

Pekka Paivarinta and Kirsi Kainulainen
Pekka Paivarinta and Kirsi Kainulainen

Sitting second in the championship are the Dutch pairing of Bennie Streuer and Geert Koerts. Streuer and Koerts stood on the podium here last year. They have had good success in their domestic championship this year too. They will be race fit for this meeting and will hope to get a good points tally to add to the 29 points they have chalked up in the championship so far.

With 25 points, Tim Reeves and Gregory Cluze will be going all out for race wins here. Reeves, just back from the Isle of Man TT races, will be hungry to get on the podium after a lacklustre fortnight on the Island. Cluze did not compete at the TT races, spending time at home with family, so he will be hungry for a good result.

Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood sit with 25 points after their win at the first round at Donington. They will not compete at this round, so they will probably be overhauled by Mike Roscher and Anna Burkard, who sit in fourth place with 21 points.

Two teams from Slovenia, Janez Remse with English passenger Stuart Ramsey and Milan Spendal with Edis Suljanovic in the chair, will be hoping to go well here as they regard this circuit as their home track. Remse and Ramsey have had a disastrous start to the season with two DNF’s; they will be hoping that things will change for the good here. Spendal, back after two years away from the sport, will be looking to get a good result here too.

After losing his regular passenger Andy Winkle to injury at the first round at Donington, John Holden has managed to draft in 2012 world champion passenger Ashley Hawes for this round. Holden will be hoping for a good result this time as, like Remse, he has had two DNF’s in the championship so far.

There will be a team competing from New Zealand at this round too, and they might be able to contest the rest of the championship if things go well here. Colin Buckley and Robbie Shorter will be racing under the “Carl Cox Motorsport” banner.

There will be a 10 lap sprint race, full points awarded, on Saturday, and an 18 lap Gold race on Sunday.

FIM World Sidecar 2015
FIM World Sidecar 2015
FIM World Sidecar 2015 Le Mans Podium
FIM World Sidecar 2015 Le Mans Podium