The 3,500 spectators, who attended the European Sidecar Championship Final at Werlte in North Germany, were treated to an exciting evening of close racing, although the meeting did take a little longer than originally scheduled.
Despite extensive track watering during the preceding week, the very hot and humid conditions made it difficult for the organising club to maintain an ideal race surface as the meeting progressed. Following a discussion between the riders and the FIM Europe Jury members, additional track grading and watering sessions were added to the night’s schedule and this enabled the riders to race at speeds approx 120 km/h on the 540 metre oval.
With each of the 12 Sidecar teams competing in four qualifying heats – before earning their place in one of two Finals (B and A) – racing was always going to be hard and fast.
With the winner and second placed rider from the B Final being elevated into the main A Final, this race was always going to be one of the toughest of the evening. The German pairing of Manual Meier and passenger Melanie Schrempp leapt from the tapes, chased by the English team of Mitch Godden and Paul Smith. Although Godden chased hard for 4 laps he was unable to catch Meier, and the two dutifully took their place in the ‘winner takes all’ A Final.
Despite the long evening, hardly anyone left the stadium as they waited for what was going to be an epic Final with six riders representing three of the FIM Europe Federations (ACU DMSB and KNMV). Defending champion Dutchman William Matthijssen and passenger Sandra Mollema made a lighting star from the gate, closely followed by Godden and Smith with the German team of Markus Venus and Markus Heiss in hot pursuit. Despite the experience of Venus and the enthusiasm and speed of Godden, none of them was able to catch Matthijessen, who roared across the finishing line to the delight and applause of the crowd. The 2018 European championship is Matthijssen’s third ‘back to back’ win, and takes his total tally of European titles to six.
In the photos (©Jesper Veldhuizen):
2018 European Sidecar champions William Matthijssen and Sandra Moillema action at Werlte in North Germany
The rostrum: from left runner up Mitch Godden and Paul Smith (ACU), 2018 champion William Matthijssen and Sandra Moillema (KNMV) and 3rd placed Markus Venus and Markus Heiss.
Full results on FIM Europe website: http://www.fim-europe.eu/events/598