Stelpe in Latvia beckons the red plate and Bax/Stupelis 27/28 July
One year ago the entry list for the Piladzu Mototrase in Stelpe had a somewhat different look at the top. Three crews who featured strongly then will not be appearing this year. Riku Kunnas the Finn who competed with his brother Lari decided to sit out 2019, whilst his brother jumped in with Belgian Davy Sanders.
The Czech Cermak brothers Tomas and Ondrej were obliged to quit at the end of 2018 following injury, and the same wicked fate befell French superstar Valentin Giraud just two rounds ago in Holland.
The top three from last year will be out in force however, with last year's overall victors hoping for a reversal in fortunes, and a repeat of last year's result.
Koen Hermans and Nicolas Musset have been plagued with unreliability issues, which have seen their safe cushion in third place in the standings slashed to a mere five points ahead of Arne Dierckens and Robbie Bax. Hermans and Musset need to score big in Latvia to keep the top two crews in sight.
Forty-three points split those crews, the defending champions and the former champions Marvin Vanluchene/Ben Van Den Bogaart, and the red plated Etienne Bax and Kaspars Stupelis.
Whilst there are still five rounds to go and five sets of scores to come in, it is already looking like a two-horse race for the title. Bax and Stupelis have been formidable so far this year, and Vanluchene has been obliged to settle for second best.
Dierckens and Bax have not only been unbeatable out of the gate, they have learned to convert those good starts into sustained effort and good finishes. Hermans is looking over his shoulder for good reason. The Belgian/Dutch pair have really got their act together.
Thirty-one points behind them in fifth place is the fastest British crew of Stuart Brown and Josh Chamberlain. They are getting stronger as the season progresses, and have been regular podium attendees recently. Brown, the senior member of the WSC paddock, is both respected and feared by the competition for his dogged approach, his determination and race-craft, plus his ability to get excellent starts whatever the conditions. Now reunited with Josh Chamberlain, the two have shown they have lost nothing of their former success rate.
The standings table reflects what a close competition it is further down the order, so expect a riveting set of races in Stelpe.
Also on the programme is the next round of the EMX Quadcross Championship, and if the performance in Kivioli is anything to go by, Kevin Saar the number 311 series leader is going to be a hard man to beat.
So we have a full programme of three and four wheeled action, with the WSC GP races the highlight of the weekend.
The WSC team will be on the ground with LIVE coverage from Latvia courtesy of our ultra-modern outside broadcast facility, with full commentary on both Sidecar and Quad races, and all the LIVE action from Stelpe as it unfolds, with reports, newsfeeds, and the highlights show later in the week.
Stay with us here on fimsidecarcross.com for updates as they happen.
From Barry Nutley