Reeves Wins as Steinhausen Steams
Tim & Tristan Reeves extended their World Championship lead after another thrilling battle with their arch rivals Jörg Steinhausen & Trevor Hopkinson at Salzburgring.
Steinhausen had qualified on Pole position for the race ahead of Reeves, but as the sun came out for the sidecar race, the only break in the rain all day - both were beaten to the first corner by the other front row starter Billy Gällros from Sweden and his passenger Johnny Briggs on their Sourcecom BG Sweden LCR-Suzuki. Gällros won the 1979 Salzburg GP as passenger to Göte Brodin, but success was not about to repeat itself as the pair found their clutch to be slipping half way around the opening lap, and immediately began to slip down the race order.
But the Swede faired better than poor Steve Norbury & Mark Cox, who's race was over at the very first corner after being hit by another machine. Austrian Gerhard Hauzenburger was also an early casualty, retiring and the end of lap one, again after contact in the chicaine.
Reeves hit the front before the end of the first lap, and was quickly followed by Steinhausen & Hopkinson on the Steinhausen Racing Q8 machine. The two fastest drivers currently in the World Championship put on a superb display for the weather beaten crowd and swapped positions throughout. On lap 7 as Steinhausen exited the final corner their was a puff of smoke or vapour from the sidecar. It later transpired that a water hose had blow, and the temperature on the Suzuki GSXR 1000 motor soon rocketed to over 140 degrees.
Behind the interest at the front their was a fantastic race for 4th position involving Stuart Muldoon & Paul Knapton, Gary & Dan Knight, Mike Roscher & Adolf Hänni, Martien & Tonnie van Gils, Pekka Päivärinta & Peter Wall and Tero Manninen with a brave Pekka Kuismanen on the side. Kuismanen had fallen from the Finnish machine at over 250kph during final qualifying as a result of ill fitting leathers balooning up at 'dragging' him off of the bike. Despite an over night visit to the hospital, Pekka was passed fit to race, and got stuck in to the battle.
Once again in no mans land were Andy Laidlow & Patrick Farrance. The British pair had a nightmare in qualifying, missing the best track time and started from 10th position. But by the end of lap two they were up to 3rd, where they stayed until the end for another well deserved podium finish.
Roscher & Hänni's back luck continued, as they got it wrong at the first chicaine and ended their race upside-down in the kitty litter. That split the group up slightly, with Muldoon and Manninen breaking away.
As Steinhausen's engine began to boil, Reeves pulled a slight advantage. But backmarkers came into play, and on the final lap the pair were nose to tail still. Reeves held the advantage though and crossed the line just 7/10ths of a second ahead of Steinhausen.
Stuart Muldoon & Paul Knapton brought their LCR-Suzuki home in 4th position, with Manninen & Kuismanen close behind, just ahead of the Dutch van Gils pair. Pekka Päivärinta & Peter Wall got the better of Gary & Dan Knight on the last lap, whilst former 500cc GP rider Sepp Doppler and passenger Bernard Wagner held on for a superb 9th position after starting from the second row of the grid. Dan Morrissey & Rob Biggs on the Team Excalibur Advan machine rounded out the top 10 after a lonely ride due to oil coming from the engine breather and covering Biggs - making his job difficult. Gällros' slipping clutch survived to bring the outfit home in 11th position.
"After all of the problems we have had this weekend, it was great to end up on the rostrum" said Patrick Farrance.
"Unfortunately my engine tightened up going up the hill on the final and thought it was seizing" said Steinhausen afterwards. "But luckily it freed, and we managed to get to the finish line. 20 points is better than no points!"
"My engine defintely had the edge over Jörg's on the fast back section" explained Reeves "But it was a good clean race - a lot of fun. And of course I very happy to beat Jörg again and increase my championship lead".
The next round of the Superside FIM Sidecar World Championship takes place in Croatia in just two weeks time.
Despite this the battle raged, and going into the last lap the pair were still nose to tail.