All Action. IMBA European Sidecarcross Championships Finale – Race Report
The finale of the IMBA European Sidecarcross Championships took place at Kleinhau in Germany and the British
sidecar crews on duty ensured that they were right in the thick of what was to be some superb three-wheel action, the end result being a fantastic 2nd overall for Tony Grahame/ Harley Lloyd with Mike Hodges/Liam Hodges bagging a great 5th.
Words and Images by Mike Wood
Making a flying start in moto one, Jake Brown/ Matthew Conner found the grip and right lines to emerge as the early leaders. The British duo were really turning on the style and digging deep despite having Christian Corthouts/Henry van de Wiel, Thom van de Langemaat/Justin Keuben, Mike Keuben/Zac Snell and Tim Prummer/Tobias Lange all right on their tail and so close that they were breathing the exhaust fumes! Unfortunately
though all that hard work by Brown was to be undone when they stalled their outfit and dropped back to 13th place. Now taking up the British challenge was Grahame, eventually getting home in a super 5th with Brown fighting back for 10th, Mark Banks/Dug Woods 20th, Alan Peever/Tony Phillips 28th and Joe Gingell/Nick Hillier 29th. The ride of this moto though surely belonged to the Hodges duo who after gating right down in 30th somehow climbed all the way back to an amazing 9th!
Buoyed by that storming ride, Hodges then passed German crew Prummer/Lange to take control of moto two after just one lap. Making this a very solid showing by the Brits, in the early stages Brown held 3rd and Grahame 4th. Five laps in and it got better as Brown now moved up into 2nd behind Hodges only to drop back following another mistake, now finding himself right down in 24th. There was no such problems though for the flying Hodges who was really on the gas and looking very good at the front although he was now being forced to keep a very watchful eye on a hard-charging Keuben. Reeling the Brits in, the Dutchman then made his move just two laps from home and thus take the win. Hodges had to therefore settle for 2nd with Grahame battling hard to maintain 5th despite a damaged exhaust system. Also inside the top ten was Banks earning an impressive 9th.
Proving that they were well and truly dialled into the hard-pack German track, Grahame led the final IMBA sidecar clash of 2017 with Hodges in tow. Once again though the very fast Dutch lad Keuben with Brit Zac Snell in the chair was on a very serious charge. Gating in 10th, Keuben passed both Brits in the closing three circuits to take his third win of the day. Grahame and Hodges though were in determined mood and earned a richly deserved 2nd and 3rd place finish. Brown was also very impressive in Kleinhau, bagging 7th this time out with Banks 17th, Peever 26th and Gingell 27th. Taking the 2017 IMBA Sidecar title was Dutch crew Frank Mulders/Marc van Deutekom, 16 points clear of Keuben. Top British crew was to be Hodges in 16th despite missing three of the six rounds.