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Vanluchene kicks it up a gear at 2024 FIM World Sidecarcross Championship Round 4 in Kramolin – Report & Results

Vanluchene kicks it up a gear at 2024 FIM World Sidecarcross Championship Round 4 in Kramolin – Report & Results

A complete washout would render the Saturday of the fourth round of the FIM World Sidecarcross Championship a no-go at Kramolin in the Czech Republic, with the entirety of the Grand Prix being squeezed into the Sunday. This would not only test the riders, but also the teams with the quick turnaround between sessions and races only giving a little amount of time for set-up changes – this could certainly throw a spanner in the works for a number of teams.

Race Report by Bradley Hix – Images by WSC

Warm Up A Group –

For the first-time in his career, Koen Hermans comes into this weekend with the red-plate planted firmly on his WSP / AMS machine, and he, along with former world champion passenger Ben van den Bogaart, hit the ground running by topping the timesheets by half a second over regining champion Marvin Vanluchene / Glenn Janssens. Completing the top three was the Prunier brothers, fresh from their very first Grand Prix victory in Plomion last weekend. The laptimes would suggest that the racing this afternoon will be absolutely nose-to-tail, with less than 10 seconds covering the top fifteen positions, after the completion of the 25-minute session.

Warm Up B Group –

Track conditions certainly seemed to be improving as the day drew to the mid-morning, and it was the highly impressive Austrain crew of Benjamin Weiss / Patrick Schneider setting the pace ahead of the original championship leaders; the young Latvian pairing of twin brothers, Daniels and Bruno Lielbardis who, in turn, led the Dutch sibling pairing of Tim and Sem Leferink. Gert van Werven / Aivar van de Wiel completed the most laps in their efforts to obtain as much information from the circuit prior to the racing action later today, to put themselves in prime position. The #11 Dutch crew completing the top five, just behind the Estonian team of Gert Gordejev / Sten Niitsoo. Likewise, with the “A” group, the teams were relatively evenly matched throughout the duration of the session with, again, less than 10 seconds covering the top fifteen places.

Race One –

Rain continued to lash down as the competitors took to the gate to contest the first race of the day, with a couple of crews not making it off the gate, however, at the other end of the spectrum, Prummer / Lebreton took the holeshot ahead of Sanders / Steegmans and Vanluchene / Janssens. The Prunier brothers were in hot pursuit with British crew, Wilkinson / Millard hot on their heels.

Initial speculation would point towards Sanders / Steegmans perhaps falling by the wayside as Jarno continues to recover from his leg injury, however, this speculation would prove to be inaccurate as their speed in the deep ruts that had been dug out would see them remain in the major point scoring positions. Further down the order, the #91 Austrian pairing of Weiss / Schneider would be plagued by misfortune as they would be forced to retire from the race, likewise the red-plate holders of Hermans / van den Bogaart which would do them no favours in their hopes of retaining the championship lead.

Leferink / Lebreton led the way from the gate-drop to the chequered flag in a perfect display of race craft, particularly in difficult conditions, with the mightily impressive Sanders / Steegmans holding on to second position, ahead of the reigning world champion Vanluchene / Janssens. The battle of the siblings would go to the Prunier’s, ahead of early championship leaders Lielbardis’, and the Leferink’s coming home just behind.

Race 1 – Result

Race Two –

The rain had departed as the gate dropped once more for the second race of the day, however, the circuit was still sodden after the earlier downpour. Looking to make amends after their DNF in race one, Hermans / van den Bogaart swooped into an early race lead, claiming the holeshot ahead of the Lielbardis twins and Vanluchene / Janssens. The race leading duo looked to open their advantage at the head of the pack, which would very much be a case of damage limitation after the ealier disappointment.

In a cruel turn of fate, lady luck would once more turn a blind eye to the championship leaders as, approaching half race distance, a large stone would lodge itself into the front wheel of the WSP / AMS machine, and this would see them lose over 2 laps on the leaders – a highly disappointing scenario, especially after the speed that they had shown they had throughout the course of the weekend. This would promote the Lielbardis twins into the race lead, with Vanluchene / Janssens in very close attendance, in what became a 6-wheeled battle for the lead. A heart-in-mouth moment for Vanluchene saw him almost become stuck in the mud, however, momentum and a handful of gas saw them narrowly escape losing further time to the Lielbardis’.

Onto the final lap, and there was less than half a second gap between the #101 and the #1 crews, but one final twist in the story of this second race would see the Lielbardis brothers tangle with a tail-ender and, with that, Bruno was thrown from the bike and Vanluchene needed no second invitation to take the race lead in the dying stages of the final lap. Bruno was soon up on his feet and clambered back on to the bike to hold onto the second position.

Tim Prummer was delighted with his result as he, and Rodolphe Lebreton would lay claim to second position overall, with Tim saying this is his best result yet. Marvin Vanluchene and Glenn Janssens, for the first time as a pairing, would take the overall victory from this fourth round of the championship, as the teenaged Latvian pairing of Daniels and Bruno Lielbardis reclaim the red plate.

Race 2 – Result

Overall GP – Result