Hot hot heat. At 4pm, in 36 degree heat, pole position men Steve Webster and Paul Woodhead led the Superside Teams on their final warm-up lap of the impressive Hungaroring circuit. Less than three minutes later the Red light changed and the...
Hot hot heat.
At 4pm, in 36 degree heat, pole position men Steve Webster and Paul Woodhead led the Superside Teams on their final warm-up lap of the impressive Hungaroring circuit. Less than three minutes later the Red light changed and the first of 19 laps in what was to be a test of men and machines was underway.
From the middle of the front row it was Tim & Tristan Reeves who initially got away first, with Webster & Woodhead alongside as they hurtled towards Turn 1. Jörg Steinhuasen & Trevor Hopkinson had also made a good start, and attempted to get up the inside of Webster. But the door was firmly shut, and Steinhausen lost vital yards in the unsuccessful attempt.
Reeves and Webster immediately set about getting clear of the chasing pack, as Steinhausen came under pressure from Martien & Tonnie van Gils, and Mike Roscher & Adolf Hänni.
With the extreme temperature, many of the teams were cautious in the early laps, that expending their energy too early would be bad later in the race, and for the first half of the 82kms, the leading positions remained unchanged. Then on lap 9, both the van Gils' pair and Roscher & Hänni found a way past a slowing Steinhausen. Next time around, Webster & Woodhead finally got the Castrol Suzuki up the inside of Reeves' machine into the first corner and took the lead.
Behind Roscher, Reeves' team-mates Bryan Pedder & Rod Steadman tried to pass Steinhausen into the left hand hairpin of Turn 13, but got wide onto the dusty part of the track and spun the number 75 machine, dropping back to 11th position.
Meanwhile Roscher & Hänni were making the most of the unbearable conditions, and were putting a lot of pressure on van Gils, eventually getting past the Maton Racing Etec machine on lap 12. But there was more drama to come, as Webster & Woodhead slowed dramatically along the 900m main straight at the start of lap 14, and the Reeves brothers stormed back past and into the lead of the race. Webster pulled the machine to the side at Turn 2 and stopped. As Paul Woodhead climbed from the sidecar platform he immediately collapsed and was treated by the medical staff for severe dehydration. The excessive heat had taken its toll on the fittest passenger in sidecar racing. The problems for the passenger come as they are exposed to the heat coming from the radiator of the water-cooled engines, and also the effort needed in moving around the 190bhp machines.
As all eyes were on the dramatic scenes of Woodhead being loaded into the ambulance, Reeves was backing off the pace to ensure a comfortable run to the chequered flag and victory number 2 in the 2005 series. Mike Roscher & veteran competitor Adolf Hänni had work the conditions to their advantage and finished in a superb second position, with ex-motocrosser Martien, and son Tonnie van Gils a few seconds behind to take the final podium position.
A disappointed Jörg Steinhausen and Trevor Hopkinson took a distant 4th after suffering tyre problems at half distance, ahead of Billy Gällros & Johnny Briggs on the BG Sidecar Sweden Sourcecom machine. Finland's Pekka Päivarinta and his Swedish passenger Peter Wall made a late charge as others faltered to take 6th position inches ahead of Dan Morrissey & Rob Biggs on the Team Advan Excalibur machine and fellow Finns Tero Manninen & Pekka Kuismanen in 8th position in a dog-fight to the flag.
So, after one of the hardest races in the history of the Sidecar World Campionship, Reeves & Reeves now have commanding lead in the series by a commanding margin after 2 rounds and 4 races. The next round takes place at the Nurburgring in Germany on 19th June - in hopefully much cooler conditions.