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Debut race win for Wilkinson & Millard as Lielbardis boys keep the red plate – FIM Sidecarcross World Championship Round 2 – Report & Results

Debut race win for Wilkinson & Millard as Lielbardis boys keep the red plate – FIM Sidecarcross World Championship Round 2 – Report & Results

Qualifying at Heerde for Round 2 of the FIM Sidecarcross World Championship opened some eyes yesterday to the fact there is a new guard waiting in the wings. One victory apiece for Tim and Sem Leferink and the German/French duo of Tim Prummer and Rodolphe Lebreton will have sent a strong message to the establishment.

Words by Barry Nutley – Images by WSC

Undisputed sand masters Koen Hermans and Ben van den Bogaart suffered a clutch problem which put them into Last Chance and onto row two of the GP races. Race day itself brought more bright sunshine and an optimistic atmosphere on a track where the organisation is superb and the spectators wildly enthusiastic.

The customary rider’s presentation got official proceedings underway as the FIM delegates, club officials and all the sidecar teams were introduced to the crowd.

Warm Up

The track had been perfectly prepared for the ten-minute session, and it was thrilling to see the bright new colours and hear the sharp crack of the engines as the teams warmed up. All top runners were present, along with those hopefuls further down the order who had scraped in through the Last Chance face-off. Now it was time to get to the real business in hand, as race one was called to the line.

Race One

In glorious sunshine, the gate dropped, and the charge was on. This was an important opener, and nerves were running high.

There is one man who never misses when the gate drops in sand, and it was Daniel Willemsen and Mikal Gabor who hit the front from Tim Prummer and Rodolphe Lebreton. Hot on their heels came Marvin Vanluchene and Glenn Janssens followed by a flying Jason van Daele/Loet ven der Putten. Van Daele was to maintain his race pace for the full distance and was one the teams to thwart Koen Hermans’ progress through the field as he battled from a second-row start.

It was not the best of starts either for the Lielbardis twins, but they were very soon battling with the Leferinks and Gert van Werven as they fought through.

Meanwhile, Prummer had passed Willemsen, taking Vanluchene with him as a huge almighty scrap unfolded behind between van Werven, Leferink, van Daele and a rapidly improving Hermans. Benny Weiss/Patrick Schneider were also in this battle and gave a very good account of themselves.

Then drama struck the race leaders, and Prummer dropped to eighth place, allowing Vanluchene to assume control. But the red plated Lielbardis boys were coming fast and with five laps remaining, passed the double champion to lead the race. Still Hermans fought vainly to claim another spot, but van Daele held firm, holding Hermans in fourth.

This was a class act by Prummer, only to have it snatched away by misfortune, but an even better performance by the red plate holders to extend their title lead.

There were several strong individual performances, underlining the strength in depth of this series.

Race One Result

Race Two 

Tim Prummer had work to do in this one to make amends. Koen Hermans had a point to prove. Marvin Vanluchene needed to retain his title, and the Lielbardis brothers had to prove the race one win was not a fluke.

All those ingredients, added to Brett Wilkinson’s need to catch up, made an interesting cocktail as the gate dropped.

What transpired could not have been scripted. A flying start saw Vanluchene and Janssens hit the front from Jason van Daele and Brett Wilkinson/Joe Millard. Koen Hermans had a much better start this time out and was very quickly in the mix. He battled past van Werven, who sadly went out with mechanical problems late in the race but had been running strongly in fifth up to that point. The Lielbardis twins were making ground all the time following Hermans through the pack, but they were unable to pass Vanluchene despite shadowing him for several laps. Meanwhile, van Daele had a rock in the eye from Lielbardis, but bravely battled on out of contention. Tim Prummer had a shocker, only completing five laps. He had shown so much promise but will be back to fight another day.

Race leaders Wilkinson and Millard were nothing short of sensational at the front, increasing the lead by one second each lap on target for their first ever race win. Victory was a sweet affair and kept them ahead of Hermans in the standings. Lielbardis keeps the red plate.

Race 2 Result 

Overall GP Result