WSC Strassbessenbach Race One
With only six points between themselves and the series leaders Bax/Musset, Valentin Giraud and Elvijs Mucenieks saw Germany as the ideal platform to reclaim the lead.
First though, they had to gate well. With thirty-two crews on two rows this was going to be a must. Bax got an absolute flyer with Giraud doing his usual and making life difficult for himself. However, with Bax stretching a lead, Giraud clawed his way into third behind Willemsen/Robbie Bax on lap three.
Behind this trio came Arne Dierkens and Luc Rostingt with the Belgian/Latvian pair of Vanluchene/Kurpnieks in tow. On lap five the Cermak brothers sat seventh ahead of Burgler and Brown. There was nothing between these three as the battle at the front grew fiercer. You just got the feeling that Willemsen was holding Giraud up, and once past, maybe he could then set about Bax. The lead after seven laps was now a mere eight seconds with the top three crews pulling away from the rest of the field. Bax was ahead, but one slip and they would be on him.
The Latvians Daiders and Stupelis were up to ninth behind the Brown/Cermak fight, with Hermans/Van Gaalen in a strong, safe fourth. By lap ten, Willemsen/Bax were showing their stamina, and consolidating second place over Giraud/Mucenieks. On lap eleven, Tomas and Ondre Cermak moved past Vanluchene taking Brown with them, as the gap at the front closed. Suddenly, Willemsen had found extra speed and was closing on Bax. The track was in good condition, with just a few ruts opening up on the bends. The jumps however, were stamina sapping and spectacular.
Then – drama! Willemsen made a crucial error, and Giraud was past, just six seconds behind Bax and smelling his aftershave!
Bax and his red plate were among the traffic as Giraud tried every trick in the book to wind him in. The gap was coming down, so it was “game on” into the closing stages.
With two laps to go, Bax/Musset looked to be in control, found some more speed, and stretched the gap again both in the race and at the top of the table, taking the chequered flag nine seconds clear.
Willemsen clearly had a problem and almost fell into the hands of Herman/Van Gaalen, with the Cermaks and Brown fifth and sixth.
This was sidecar motocross at its best, and the enthusiastic crowd loved every minute.
From Barry Nutley