Ten down and four to go. Let's remind ourselves.

13/08/2019

Where has the 2019 season gone already? It seems barely weeks ago the gate dropped in Belgium, and sixty hopeful souls rushed into turn one. With ten rounds and twenty races now behind us, the pattern which has emerged is one of an immensely strong performance by former champions Etienne Bax and Kaspars Stupelis.

They have combined their joint physical strength and experience, with a whole new level of determination. This formula has resulted in a formidable combination, which has seen them triumph in no fewer than eleven of the twenty races thus far. To say they have crushed the opposition is not an exaggeration.

Bax will freely admit he and Kaspars do not always get the best starts, but even when left mid-pack from the gate, they seem to be able to chip away and fight through to victory.

The chasing pack is headed by reigning champions Marvin Vanluchene and Ben Van Den Bogaart who trail the leaders by sixty-one points. Their consistency and unbroken record continues, although they stumbled in the heat of Stelpe, to drop more than a handful of points to Bax/Stupelis.

It has been a mixed season for some of the crews, with serious injury robbing the championship of one of its most charismatic riders, and France's best hope for Champion.

Valentin Giraud's long journey to recovery continues, and word from the paddock says he is determined to be at the wheel of a vehicle before the end of the year.

Given his level of commitment and dedication, I would certainly not bet against it. I know I speak for everyone who is remotely connected to this fantastic sport, in wishing him all success in this regard.

Davy Sanders and Lari Kunnas have both ended their season prematurely with injury, so that is another top team missing from the action. Gert Van Werven's year was also interrupted with a broken ankle, but we will see the big Dutchman returning soon.

After slow starts, Britons Stuart Brown and Josh Chamberlain have got their act together  climbing to fifth place ahead of Sanders and Kert Varik/Lauris Daiders.

Both these teams are more than capable of a top four finish, so expect them to raise their respective games even more as we head for the final four rounds and eight races.

I have said nothing yet of the teams holding third and fourth places, so now is that time.

Koen Hermans and Nicolas Musset have seen their safe third position evaporate under an onslaught of hole-shots and conversions to strong finishes, by Arne Dierckens and Robbie Bax.

Add to this, a succession of mechanical woes for last year's number two, and they are suddenly looking vulnerable, as the Dierckens/Bax machine charges on.

These crews have emerged dead level on points after twenty-races, and that is where the interest is in the battle for “the best of the rest”.

It certainly looks as if Hermans will be waving goodbye to his number two plate, but will it be three, four or dare I say five he wears next year?

Strong performances by Zeno Compalati and Bastien Chopin, along with Jake Brown and Joe Millard throughout the season, have seen them firmly established on the radar as much improved teams.

Strong finishes between now and  the end of the year could see yet further progress up the standings for both crews.

In this brief moment of respite before the season resumes in Roggenburg for round eleven, let's hope the teams return to battle with the same incredible degree of commitment and desire they have  all  displayed throughout the twenty races we have seen so far.

This sport is now getting global recognition on-line, the fan-base is  growing, we have the series being aired on a weekly basis courtesy of Freesports TV in the UK, and the World Sidecarcross Championship is now firmly on the map as a high-octane, high-adrenaline and spectacular sport.

Roll on the next four rounds and beyond.

 

 

From Barry Nutley

 

 www.fimsidecarcross.com