Willemsen won the Race One, Daiders first time in the top three.
Weather conditions were mixed on race day. Mild ambient temperature would not be too stifling for the teams, but showers were forecast on and off all day
One arrived in the hour leading up to race one, but had abated before the start. Latvian success in Sidecarcross has resulted in five world titles in recent years, with Kaspars Stupelis the most recent, as passenger to Etienne Bax in 2015.
This success is largely responsible for the popularity of the sport with the Latvian fans, who arrived here at the Zelta Zirgs circuit in and spread themselves round the track.
Race One – Daniel Willemsen/Robbie Bax made no mistake, grabbing the lead from the second corner. Chasing hard, the on-form Frenchman Valentin Giraud with his local Latvian passenger was right on them. Series leader Etienne Bax was down in fifth at the end of the opening lap. The first five crews were within five seconds of each other with six laps completed, with Etienne Bax off the leading bunch, as he slowed to sixth some twenty seconds adrift.
The track was in perfect condition, with some spectacular jumps to entertain the enthusiastic Latvian crowd. They had plenty to shout about. The Belgian/Latvian pairing of Vanluchene/Kurpineks wound up the locals, as they fought hard with fourth place Dutchmen Veldman/Van Den Bogaart. Then came more Latvians in the shape of Janis Daiders and former champ Kaspars Stupelis.
At two-thirds distance, Willemsen had opened a small breathing space from Giraud, whilst Bax appeared to be in trouble, not able to improve on his sixth place. Brown, after an off-track problem which dropped him back, was recovering, and was back up to tenth, with the Cermak boys also now firmly in the points.
With three laps remaining, the Latvian duo of Daiders/Stupelis went third, to rapturous applause from the partisan crowd. They were closing on Giraud/Mucenieks, who in turn were closing on the race leader.
With two laps remaining, Etienne Bax, concious of his slender world lead, was up to fourth behind the Latvians.
At the flag, the top four were as stated, with Stuart Brown/Joe Millard ninth two places ahead of the young Czech crew who rode brilliantly to eleventh from the back of the grid.
This result closed up the points at the top of the table, with more drama to come later in race two.
From Barry Nutley