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Bold new format for FIM Sidecar World Championship


By Ian Guy,
February 21 2005

Superside, the promotors of top level Sidecar racing, have unveiled a bold new format for the 2005 FIM Sidecar World Championship. The championship will consist of eight rounds, with sixteen races. But unlike many other formulae, this is not the normal two races per day format.

Four of the eight Superside events will see the teams in action over three separate races during the weekend, whilst the remaining four rounds take the traditional format of a single race of between 70-85km. Within the three race events, the longer race will be the final outing of the day. Competitors will also have a Sprint Race (35-45km), and most interestingly a series of short Match Races.

Match Races
Superside wanted to provide more of a show for the public and television during the Saturday afternoon of the events. A Superpole type shoot-out was considered, but Superside wanted something different, something exciting, something that could be thought of as ‘Superside’ not borrowed from F1 or SBK - and something that would challenge the teams.

photo by Mark Walters
photo by Mark Walters

At the multi-race weekends, the Superside teams will complete a normal qualifying session to decide the grid positions for all of the three races of the event. After qualifying, the teams are then split into four groups of six teams, depending on their qualifying positions, for the Match Races - a series of Heats, Semi-Finals, and a Final each consisting of six machines.

Each group will compete in a 3-5 lap Heat race (depending on the length of circuit). Heat 1 will contain Group 1, consisting of the qualifiers from 24th–19th position. Heat 2, Group 2 - qualifiers 18th–13th. Heat 3, Group 3 – qualifiers 12th–7th. And finally Group 4 with the top six qualifiers. This format of grouping ensures a similar level of speed amongst each group.

photo by Mark Walters
photo by Mark Walters

The winners of Heats 1 and 2 will automatically move forward to the first of the Semi-Finals. The winners of Heats 3 and 4 move into the second Semi-Final. Of the remaining teams, the next fastest eight riders based on their finishing times from the heats will join the Semi-Finals. The winners of each Semi-Final will automatically go through to the Final, and they will be joined by the next fastest four teams from both Semi-Final finishing times.

The results of the Final will determine the top six points scorers. 7th–12th will be calculated on finishing times from the Semi-Finals, and 13th–15th on times from the heats, to decide the first points scores of the weekend.

“The Match Races, with a quick-fire format, really have to opportunity to shake things up a bit. They should provide the spectators with an exciting start to the weekend’s events, and also provide some of the lesser financed teams the opportunity to spring some surprises - and that can only be a good thing for the sport,” commented Bernd Steinhausen, CEO of Superside.

photo by Mark Walters
photo by Mark Walters

After this explosive start to the event, all of the teams will line up again for the second race, the Sprint Race, then later in the day the Main race. With 75 points on offer for four of the championship weekends, and 25 available during the other four, the teams will have to really think about their strategy and approach to each of the events.

Success Ballast
In a further twist, Superside also announced the introduction of Success Ballast, whereby a race winner will be required to carry additional weight on their machine for the next race. For each race win a team will be given an extra 10kg of specially designed weight, to be placed securely inside the monocoque chassis, before the following race. If the team wins again, another 10kg is added to the machine – up to a maximum of 30kg. If a team carrying Success Ballast doesn’t win a race, then 10kg is removed from the chassis before the next race.

Ten times FIM Sidecar World title winner Steve Webster gave his view of the new format. “Speaking as Steve Webster, racing driver, I’m really not that keen on the extra weight idea!” Webster said with a smile. “But speaking as Steve Webster, motor racing fan, I think it’s a brilliant idea. That and the Match-Races could really begin to shake things up a bit, and some of the smaller less experienced teams could start to really feel like they’re in with a chance ... Although it will make things much tougher for Webbo the racer!” He concluded.

Reigning Champion Webster, who competed in his first World Championship race back in 1983, will be trying for an incredible 11th FIM Sidecar World Title this season. But with the new format and a host of teams eager to steal the Yorkshireman’s crown it will certainly be a tough year.

The new look Superside FIM Sidecar World Championship bursts into action at Brands Hatch in UK on 7th and 8th May, when the racing will be fast and furious on the short ‘Indy’ circuit.

2005 Calendar
The full calendar for 2005 is:
(three race format weekends shown in bold)

Rnd 1, 07-08 May, Brands Hatch, UK
Rnd 2, 28-29 May, Hungaroring, Hungary
Rnd 3, 18-19 June, Nürburgring, Germany
Rnd 4, 09-10 July, Schleiz, Germany
Rnd 5, 06-07 Aug, Salzburgring, Austria
Rnd 6, 20-21 Aug, Rijeka, Croatia
Rnd 7, 03-04 Sep, Assen, Holland
Rnd 8, 10-11 Sep, St. Petersburg, Russia

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