The “Black Hill” track in Talavera de la Reina, Spain, next up for the Sidecar Cross world circus
Barely have the wheels stopped turning in Southern France, before the whole paddock rolls across the Pyrenees into Spain for round three of the championship. The Cerro Negro circuit in the province of Toledo, Castilla La Mancha in Spain is well known for International motocross and will be hard and fast.
That will likely suit the series leaders Marvin Vanluchene and Ben Van Den Bogaart. The young Belgian and his Dutch sidekick emerged from France with a huge haul of points, from two fast and consistent runner-up spots, and now sit on eighty-four points as our standings table will show.
They were only beaten in France by a magnificent display from Valentin Giraud and Elvijs Mucenieks. The French/Latvian pairing proved to be utterly invincible on a track which clearly suited them both. With three victories from three finishes, Giraud/Mucenieks are now within nine points of the leaders.
Reigning champion Etienne Bax and his Latvian co-driver Kaspars Stupelis made the best of an injury handicap to deliver two brave rides, moving them ninth in the table. Bax knows he must play the long game, and so early in the season, patience will be a virtue.
Fellow Dutchman and multiple Champion Daniel Willemsen was not without his share of drama. Clashing with bureaucracy looks like becoming a regular thing with Willemsen. Last season it was illegal fuel, in round one this year he was penalised for ignoring a yellow flag, and in France his machine was deemed to be excessively noisy.
Certainly, he has been unlucky in that he has been pushed back in the standings by the stewards decisions. However, the top four, including Willemsen are all very close, so Spain could be pivotal.
Another big name suffering bad luck is the number four Briton Stuart Brown. He and Joe Millard were certainly on the pace in France, but a double mechanical retirement, to add to their solitary score from Oss, sees them well off the leader-board.
Like Bax, they have serious work to do coming here to Spain. By contrast, Brett Wilkinson and Dan Chamberlain had a great ride in France and have leapt up the table to sixth place.
It is early in the new season, and this is one of the most unpredictable motorsports on the planet. So with many miles of rough. tough racing ahead of them, and so many factors coming into play, this is shaping up to be an epic season of sidecar cross.
With qualifying throughout Saturday, and the two Grand Prix on Sunday, it's going to be another busy weekend for everyone involved. We will bring you the action as it unfolds here on www.fimsidecacross.com, and in our highlights show on Motorsport TV.
From Barry Nutley