First sidecar GP goes to champ Marvin Vanluchene
and Ben van den Bogaart

Report and pictures by Tracy Thacker

Marvin Vanluchene / Ben van den Bogaart
           The first 2019 GP of the World Sidecarcross Championship was held this weekend at the Lommel track in Belgium. The conditions were hot with temperatures reaching 22 deg, very surprising for March. This week there were a fantastic eight British and Irish teams entered, but the competition was stiff with 45 teams entered and only 30 GP places available.
            In qualifying group A, Bax / Stupelis fought hard and took the lead from Vanluchene / Van Den Bogaart, Varik / Daiders where third. Veldman / Janssens fought past but stopped with mechanical problems. Sanders / Kunnas took fourth from Santermans / Beleckas.Top Brits were Brown / Chamberlain who held 6th with J Brown / Millard not far behind. Kinge / Gray took the final qualifying place. British team Foden / Bijenhof had a great start but crashed within the first few bends putting them at the back of the pack.

Team Hodges
          In qualifying group B, Willemsen / Rostingt took the holeshot with Hermans / Musset behind, but within a few laps Wilkinson / Humphrey cashed severely, and the race was red flagged. In the restart Moulds / Kirwin crashed on the start and they were also out of the race, this left Hodges / Grahame as the only British team in that group. Willemsen / Rostingt also took the holeshot in the restart with Mulders / Van De Wiel – behind. Hermans / Musset were on a charge and blasted into the lead, Willemsen / Rostingt held second with Van Wernen / Beunk tucking into third place. Giraud / Haller had a steady race and took fourth. Hodges / Grahame had a safe race and qualified in ninth. 
          So that was four British teams qualified, two injured and two in last chance. By the end of the day, the track was rough with deep ruts, but the teams fought hard for those final six qualification places. Veldman / Janssens easily won the session with Foden / Bijenhof taking sixth, so five British qualified, unfortunately, Campbell / Ide didn’t qualify this time. So there were five British teams qualified, with both of the Brown Teams on the front row. 

Davy Sanders / Lari Kunnas
          In GP race one many teams were caught in the first bend crash but Sanders / Kunnas holeshotted with Dierckens / Bax second, just ahead of Willemsen / Rostingt and Brits Brown / Chamberlain holding fourth. Sanders / Kunnas held a significant lead for the first half of the race but the pressure from behind was great, Willemsen / Rostingt were the first to get past, but Veldman / Janssens were heroes, fighting back from the bend one clash to challenge for the lead, getting ahead in the final laps. Willemsen / Rostingt held second from Vanluchene / Van Den Bogaart, and Sanders / Kunnas held a tremendous fourth, Bax / Stupelis fought back to fifth despite crashing out in the ruts. Brown / Chamberlain had a tumble and dropped back but kept fighting to take 12th. Kinge / Gray managed to avoid any serious problems and blasted through to an excellent 13th place.  Hodges / Grahame had a good race but finished just outside the points.

Stuart Brown / Josh Chamberlain
            In the final GP race of the day, Willemsen / Rostingt holeshotted with Dierckens / Bax close behind. Bax / Stupelis were determined and fought through to take the lead within the first few laps. Veldman / Janssens were looking for another win but hit a rut badly and were catapult through the air, they did get going but soon pulled in. Bax / Stupelis took the win with Vanluchene / Van Den Bogaart passing Willemsen / Rostingt in the final few laps to steal second. Brown / Chamberlain started fifth and had no significant problems, but track conditions were tough, and they dropped a few places to take eighth, Kinge / Gray had a brilliant race holding top ten throughout to take ninth. J Brown / Millard were just behind until they crashed putting them out of the race. Foden / Bijenhof had a great race but finished just outside the points. 
          So after a tough weekend, Vanluchene / Van Den Bogaart took the overall win and retained the red plate. Willemsen / Rostingt had their first GP podium together, with Bax / Stupelis third. Brown / Chamberlain now hold tenth in the world with Kinge / Gray currently eleventh. So next week the championship moves to Spain. Talavera is a brilliant natural track, and you can expect to see more fantastic racing.

Round one results and standing

01. 01. Marvin Vanluchene / Ben van den Bogaart (BE-NL VMC-Zabel) 42
02. 111. Daniel Willemsen / Luc Rostingt (NL-FR WSP-Zabel) 42
03. 82. Etienne Bax / Kaspars Stupelis (NL-LV WSP-Zabel) 40
04. 07. Kert Varik / Lauris Daiders (EE-LV WSP-Husqvarna) 30
05. 02. Koen Hermans / Nicolas Musset (NL-FR WSP-Zabel) 29
06. 10. Arne Dierckens / Robbie Bax (BE-NL WSP-Zabel) 27
07. 04. Valentin Giraud / Andres Haller (FR-DE WHT-MEGA) 26
08. 05. Julian Veldman / Glenn Janssens (NL-BE WHT-MEGA) 25
09. 09. Davy Sanders / Lari Kunnas (BE-FI WSP-Zabel) 23
10. 888. Stuart Brown / Josh Chamberlain (GB-GB WHT-Husqvarna) 22
11. 23. George Kinge / Lewis Gray (GB-GB VMC-Zabel) 20

12. 98. Ijen Kops / Pim Lambrechts (NL-NL WSP-Husqvarna) 16
13. 17. Justin Keuben / Dion Rietman (NL-NL VMC-Zabel) 16
14. 19. Marco Heinzer / Ruedi Betschart (CH-CH VMC-KTM) 11
16. 176. Eddie Janecke / Gordon Bothur (DE-DE WSP-MEGA) 11
15. 16. Kristof Santermans / Konstantinas Beleckas (BE-LT WSP-Zabel) 11
17. 14. Gert van Werven / Peter Beunk (NL-NL WSP-TM) 10
18. 24. Joachim Reimann / Philipp Reimann (DE-DE VMC-Zabel) 9
19. 18. Zeno Compalati / Bastien Chopin (IT-FR VMC-Zabel) 7
20. 72. Frank Mulders / Aivar van de Wiel (NL-NL WSP-Zabel) 6
21. 99. Thom van de Lagemaat / Han van Hal (NL-NL VMC-MEGA) 4
22. 49. Tanel Reesna / Alexandre Tourbier (EE-FR VMC-Zabel) 4
23. 22. Christophe Cuche / Maxime Cuche (CH-CH VMC-KTM) 3
24. 419. Junior Verhelst / Nicky Debruyne (BE-BE WSP-Zabel) 3
25. 21. Pavel Hroch / Martin Hroch (CZ-CZ WSP-Zabel) 3
26. 46. Tobias Blank / Lemuel Ravera (DE-IT VMC-Zabel) 2