All to play for as Sidecarcross Gladiators head for Kivioli
With almost three quarters of the 2017 season gone, and eight races remaining, the intensifying fight for Champion is headed for the industrial town of Kivioli in Estonia for Round Eleven this coming weekend 18/19 August.
This sparsely populated city was founded and evolved in the last hundred years, as a source of oil by shale mining, under the previous Russian regime. Still largely populated by native Russians, Kivioli is in the Northern half of a country sharing a border with its former big brother, and not too far from the Gulf of Finland.
But when the World Sidecarcross Championships come to town, its party-time, and both Estonians and Russians know how to party.
With the points at the top of the table so close, there will be no partying in the world championship paddock however. Just forty-six points divide the top three crews, with fifty at stake in each of the four remaining rounds, so the pressure is really on.
Typical of this region, the flat, sandy soil will suit the Dutch competitors. Series leaders Etienne Bax and Nicolas Musset, and the ever dangerous Daniel Willemsen/Robbie Bax have triumphed time and time again in this sort of terrain as the standings show.
However, 2017 has thrown up the real possibility of a French World Champion in the shape of Valentin Giraud who, with his Latvian passenger Elvijs Mucenieks, has shown phenomenal speed and aerial antics.
Starts have been his downfall, and getting the four-stroke AMS powered WHT off the line has not always been easy.
We have also seen the emergence of new young talent to threaten the old guard. Koen Hermans and Marvin Vanluchene from Holland and Belgium respectively, have really performed well this year, with Hermans fifth in the table behind comparative veteran Stuart Brown, and Vanluchene just five points behind in eight.
The combined ages of the two youngsters total less than half those of Willemsen or Brown, so is it just a matter of time?
We will be there in force to bring you blow-by- blow action from across the weekend, with qualifying on Saturday, and the two Grands Prix races on Sunday.
From Barry Nutley