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Winning warm-up for FIM Superside Sidecar stars

FIM Superside

By Ian Guy
March 21 2005

Superside FIM Sidecar World Championship contenders Team Roberts Racing provided a scintillating display during the National MRO Powerbike Championships, at Bands Hatch last weekend.

Using the event to début the new look team for their sponsors, and give their riders some extra testing around the venue of the first World Championship round on 7th-8th May, Team Roberts Racing’s new signings Tim and Tristan Reeves dominated the qualifying sessions at their home circuit. The brothers, from Biddenden in Kent, unofficially dipped under their own lap record set in 2003, by over half a second, planting their LCR-Suzuki GSX-R firmly on pole position for the two races, with a time of 48.5 seconds around the 1.2-mile Indy circuit. Teamsters Bryan Pedder and Rod Steadman made it a double delight by completing the outside of the front row in third position.

When the lights went out to start the first race of the new season, Reeves made no mistakes and forced their machine into the daunting Paddock Hill Bend at the front of the pack, ahead of Sean and Mark Hegarty, who started from the middle of the front row, with Pedder and Steadman slotting into third position.

Unfortunately, the race was stopped almost immediately after a second corner incident, when the machine of ex-Formula One racer Ian Ashley locked the front wheel, after leaving his braking too late, and hit the Windle-Suzuki of Ben and Tom Birchall - causing them to spin. With Ashley and Birchall sideways in the corner, the closely following machine of Team Readymix riders Andy Peach and Nick Webb had nowhere to go, and ended upside down bringing out the red flag.

At the re-start the number 77 machine of the Reeves boys once again powered straight into the lead, and quickly set about putting some distance between themselves and the pursuing competition. By half distance they had opened up an impressive five second advantage over the Hegartys, and set a new official lap record in the process.

Behind Hegarty, Bryan Pedder and Rod Steadman were having a good race long dice with Bill Philp and Rick Long on the 155 Media backed LCR-Yamaha R1. After 14 fast and furious laps, Reeves took the chequered flag, with Pedder and Steadman in third position. With both machines on the podium, it was a great start for the team’s 2005 ambitions.

Race two was a repeat performance from Reeves, with their LCR-Suzuki GSX-R sorted to perfection, and they once again took a clear victory - this time ahead of Bill Philp and Rick Long, who managed to get the better of Pedder to snatch second overall in the combined results.

MRO podium, Brands Hatch - yangimotorsport
MRO podium, Brands Hatch · picture by yangimotorsport

Owner of Team Roberts Racing, Dave Roberts - who came directly to Brands on Saturday after returning from a business trip in Las Vegas with team sponsors Gunn-JCB - was more than happy with the results.
“It was a fantastic start to the season. Both Tim and Tris; and Bryan and Rod rode superbly and kept out of trouble. Getting both bikes onto the podium was what we had hoped for and we achieved that. It was also a perfect warm-up for our next event - the first round of the World Championship back here in May. And Tim and Tristan have shown that the other World Championship teams will need to be seriously quick if they want a chancing of winning when they come here. I’m very pleased,” said a jet-lagged Roberts.

Other World Championship hopefuls also showed well in the races. The Canfield Odessa Team pairing of Ged Canfield and Darren Harper were débuting the new Honda CBRR FireBlade in Superside trim. “We’re really happy with the way the engine went, but we need to work more on the [fuel] injection and get some more power from it to match the Suzuki’s, and also iron out some niggling problems with the bodywork,” said Harper.

While High Wycombe Motorcycle Dealer, Brian Gray, was pleased with his performance. “I spent the past few years on Classic Sidecars, so it’s taking a while to get my brain back up to speed on the F1 machine. But the new Yamaha R1 is giving good power and every lap is faster. I think by May we should be back nearer the pace.”

Round one of the 2005 Superside FIM Sidecar World Championship takes place at Brands on 7th-8th of May.

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