Sidecarcross World Championship
|Drivers' champion|| Ben Adriaenssen
Ben van den Bogaart
The Sidecar Motocross World Championship is an annual event, first held in 1980. It is organised by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM). Before 1980, a European competition was held from 1971 onwards.
The Sidecarcross World Championship, first held in 1980 and organised by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, is an annual competition. All races, manufacturers and the vast majority of riders in the competition being in and from Europe. Sidecarcross is similar to motocross except that the teams consist of two riders, a driver and a passenger. Races are held on the same tracks as solo motocross but the handling of the machines differs as sidecars don't lean. The majority of physical work in the sport is carried out by the passenger, who speeds up the sidecarcross in corners by leaning out. The coordination between the driver and the passenger are therefore of highest importance. Record world champion Daniël Willemsen estimated that the passengers contribution to the success of a team is at least 50%, and that not enough credit is given to the passenger. The balance of a sidecar is reliant on the work of the passenger and passenger-driver coordination is vitale for success.
While usually a male-dominated sport the 2014 season saw the participation of a women driver in the competition. Belgian Sabrina van Calster was able to score two points in the first race of the Swiss Grand Prix.
The World Championship in sidecar motocross is held annually form the European spring to autumn. The eleven Grand Prix of the 2014 season will be held in nine countries, Switzerland, Germany (two GP's), Czech Republic, Netherlands, Belgium, France (three GP's), Estonia and Latvia. The competition started on 13 April and will finish on 21 September 2014. In comparison to the 2013 edition, no Grands Prix were dropped off the calendar while the Italian GP made a return. Germany, which held three events in 2013 had this number reduced to two. A twelfth Grand Prix, scheduled to be held in the Ukraine on 18 May, was cancelled because of the ongoing political unrest in the country.
Participants by country
In the 2014 season, 56 teams finished in the points in the competition, with the drivers hailing from thirteen Europen nations. Of these, the drivers for the Netherlands were the most popolus, having thirteen drivers in the competition, followed by Belgium with nine and Germany with six. In the last four seasons, drivers from the following countries took part in the competition and earned points:
- Drivers who took part in the competition but did not win points not captured here as the FIM does not list them in the end-of-season pilots ranking.
The calendar for the 2015 season:
|Date||Place||Race winners||GP winner||Source|
|6 April||Frauenfeld||Ben Adriaenssen / Ben van den Bogaart||Ben Adriaenssen / Ben van den Bogaart||Result|
|Valentin Giraud / Nicholas Musset|
|12 April||Castelnau-de-Lévis||Valentin Giraud / Nicholas Musset||Valentin Giraud / Nicholas Musset||Result|
|Ben Adriaenssen / Ben van den Bogaart|
|19 April||Malpartida de Cáceres||Etienne Bax / Kaspars Stupelis||Valentin Giraud / Nicholas Musset|
|Valentin Giraud / Nicholas Musset|
The history of international competition started with the FIM Cup in 1971, a form of an unofficial European championship, organised by the FIM. The first ever race was held on 25 April 1971 at Pernes-les-Fontaines, France.
From 1975, the competition was officially called European championship. From the 1980 season onwards, it carried the title World championship, even though, in practice, virtually all drivers and passengers are European, except for a small number of riders from the US and Australia, and all races are held in Europe. In its history, there has never been a race outside Europe and majority of the races are in central Europe. The appearance of strong Latvian drivers however has taken races to the Baltic region in the last few years. As of 2007, 24 European countries have hosted GPs, Germany holding number one spot there. Races have however also been staged at countries with no strong sidecarcross connections, like Greece, Norway and Northern Ireland.
The competitors in the world championship are mostly amateurs. Apart from racing in the world championship they also compete in their countries' domestic championships. The current world champion Willemsen also won the Dutch national championship this year. Most national championships are actually "open" events; non-nationals are permitted to compete, too. Sergis / Rasmanis for example also won the German championship in 1998.
The highest number of championships has been won by Daniël Willemsen with ten, with the last of those coming in 2012. The most successful team however is Kristers Sergis / Artis Rasmanis with five titles together. The two missed out on a sixth title, when in 1999, they lost by only one point to Daniël Willemsen.
History of the world championship
The first edition of the world championship in 1980 saw the only German victory to date with the combination Reinhard Böhler / Siegfried Müller taking out the title. The year after, the championship went to the Netherlands with Ton van Heugten / Frits Kiggen. The next eight seasons, the Swiss riders triumphed. Emil Bollhalder / Karl Büsser won the championship in 1982 and 1983, both times with a narrow margin, 11 points in the first year and 28 in the second. Unlucky runner-up in the three seasons from 1981 to 1983 were the Germans Josef Brockhausen / Hubert Rebele, missing out quite narrowly and retiring in 1983 after the third attempt, as did Bollhalder, but as the world champion.
From 1984 to 1987, four titles went to Hansi Bächtold / Fritz Fuß. Again, there was no luck for the runner-up with the Dutch combination August Muller / Henk van Heek coming second in 1985, 1986 and 1987. In 1986, only 7 points separated winner from second place. Bächtold retired as the new record world champion in 1987.
Christoph Hüsser / Andreas Hüsser won the titles in 1988 and 1989 and continued to race after that until 1996, never coming close to another world championship again. Benny Janssen / Tiny Janssen became the last to win one championship only when the finished on top in 1990, beating the German team Michael Garhammer / Ralf Haas by only 13 points and ending eight years of Swiss domination.
Eimbert Timmermans / Eric Verhagen from the Netherlands beat the Belgian duo Eddy Ramon / Gino Strubbe for the next two titles in 1991 and 92. After this, the world championship returned to Switzerland with Andreas Fuhrer / Adrian Käser equaling the record of four titles in a row from 1993 to 1996 and then retiring from the competition.
The 1997 season marked the beginning of a new era with all previous World Champions having either retired before, or at the end of, the 1996 season. With Kristers Sergis / Artis Rasmanis the 1997 championship went to Latvia for the first time. The tightest race for the championship so far saw them beat the German/Dutch team of Alois Wenninger / Henry van de Wiel by four points. The year after, they won again, this time with a twenty point gap to Daniël Willemsen / Marcel Willemsen.
1999, saw the tightest race ever when only one point at the end of the season separated the Willemsen brothers from the Latvian title holders. The final outcome of the season was not clear until the Willemsen brothers were cleared of having received outside assistance in the second-last race which clinched them the world title, since Artis Rasmanis had lodged a formal complaint. In 2000, Kristers Sergis / Artis Rasmanis came back, beating Daniël Willemsen / Sven Verbrugge by 20 points, the last tight race to date. The Latvians became the new record holder after title number four and five in 2001 and 2002, Willemsen coming second all three seasons.
From 2003 to 2008, Daniël Willemsen to made up for his lost titles and won six in a row, becoming the most successful driver so far. He won two each with passengers Kaspars Stupelis, Sven Verbrugge and Reto Grütter.
In 2009, the title went to a Belgian driver for the first time, Joris Hendrickx winning the championship, with his Latvian passenger Kaspars Liepins. In 2010, the title returned to the Netherlands with Daniël Willemsen taking out his eighth championship, together with Gertie Eggink as his passenger. In the following year, Willemsen took out another world championship, this time with Sven Verbrugge as his passenger once more, the third for the combination.
Willemsen won a historic tenth World Championship in 2012, finishing five points ahead of Etienne Bax, despite having to exchange his passenger twice. Willemsen used Haralds Kurpnieks as his passenger in the first Grand Prix of the season, Kenny van Gaalen in the following five Grand Prix and Lauris Daiders in the remaining. Kurpnieks suffered a broken wrist in the openeing GP while van Gaalen injured his knie in the second French GP, both being thereby sidelined for lengthy periods of time.
The 2013 season marked, with Ben Adriaenssen, the second time that a Belgian driver won the title. Defending champion Daniël Willemsen missed most of the season with injury while 2012 runners-up Etienne Bax came second once more. Adriaenssen and his Dutch passenger Ben van den Bogaart also won the 2014 championship while Etienne Bax came second for third consecutive time.
Every Grand Prix weekend is split into two races, both held on the same day. This means, the 2007 season with its eight Grand Prix had sixteen races. Each race lasts for 30 minutes plus two laps. The two races on a weekend actually get combined to determined an overall winner. In case of a tie the results of the second race are used to determined the winner. While this overall winners receives no extra WC points, they usually are awarded a special trophy. Race start times are set at 13:30 and 16:00.
Teams consist of a driver and a passenger, however, the drivers can and do exchange passengers during the season, often due to injury. An exchange of passenger does not affect the points a team has won up till then. If a driver uses more than one passenger during his world championship winning season, only the passenger he competed in more than half the meetings with and/or earned more than 50% of his points with will be considered a world champion as well.
Events typically consist of a qualifying competition, held in multiple stages on Saturdays of a race weekend while the two race events are typically held on Sundays. One exception to this rule is Easter weekends, when the races are held on Easter Monday. Race weekends can consist of additional motocross or quart support races as well, but the FIM stipulates that the World Championship races have priority. Riders have to be provided with at least one 30 minute free practice season, which will be timed. A race can consist of up to 30 starters and the qualifying modus is dependend on the number of entries. Up to 32 entries, it will be held in one group split into two sesions of 30 minutes each. Above 32 entries, the starter field will be sub-divided into two groups through ballot and the current standings. Each qualifying group can consist of up to 30 racers. Should there be more than 60 entries, a pre-qualifying has to be held. Of the riders in the two groups, the top-twelve directly qualify for the races. The remaining teams then go to a second-chance qualifying, in which the best six advance. The riders placed seventh and eighth remain in reserve should one of the qualified teams not be able to participate.
The FIM stipulates that all drivers must be of a minimum age of 18 while passengers have to be at least 16 years old to compete, but no older than 50. Riders older than 50 have to provide a certificate of medical fitness to be permitted to compete. The driver has the right to exchange his passenger under certain conditions.
Starting numbers for the season are awarded according to the previous seasons overall finishing position of the driver. Current or former World Champions have however the right to pick any number they wish, except the number one which is reserved for the current World Champion. The top-six of the previous season are automatically qualified for the following season, while another 10 places are allocated to every national federation.
The competition is open for motor cycles with two-stroke engines from between 350 and 750cc and four-stroke engines of up to 1,000cc. Each team is permitted the use of two motorcycles with the possibility of changing machines between races.
The FIM does not permit radio communication between riders and their teams. Outside assistance during the race on the course is not permitted unless it is through race marshals in the interest of safety. Limited repairs in the designated repair zone during the race are permitted.
Historically, the points system has varied and changed over time. In the first three seasons, 1971, 1972 and 1973, points were only awarded for the overall Grand Prix result, after that they were awarded for the individual races. The best ten teams were awarded points with the winner receiving 15 points. This was altered to 15 teams scoring points and the winner receiving 20 from 1984. The current system of 20 teams receiving points and the winner getting 25 was adopted in 2002. Until 1976, only a set number of best results were counted towards the overall standings, since 1977 all results count. Grand Prix were always held in two races except in 1992 and 1993 when three races were held in every Grand Prix. In those two years, races were 20 minutes plus two laps long, after this they reverted to 30 minutes plus two laps again.
The following point systems were used throughout the history of the competition:
The points system from 1971 to 1983:
The points system from 1984 to 2000:
The points system in the 2001 season:
The current points system since 2002:
Price money and travel reimbursements in the sport are not large, sidecarcross still qualifying mostly as an amateur sport. In the 2009 season for example, every team received Euro 500 as a travel indemnity per race weekend qualified for. Additionally, price money was paid, with the winner earning €300, the second placed team €250, the third placed team €200. With the prize money gradually dropping off from there, the teams placed twelfth to twentieth still received €50 each. All up, the best possible result would mean a team could take away €1,100 from a race weekend.
The champions since 1971:
- FIM Cup winners 1971 to 1974
|1971||Rikus Lubbers / Bart Notten||Norton-Wasp|
|1972||Robert Grogg / Gerhard Martinez||Norton-Wasp|
|1973||Lorenz Haller / Samuel Haller||Honda-SPP|
|1974||Robert Grogg / Andreas Grabner||Norton-Wasp|
- European Champions 1975 to 1979
|1975||Ton van Heugten / Dick Steenbergen||Yamaha-Hagon|
|1976||Robert Grogg / Andreas Hüsser||Norton-Wasp|
|1977||Robert Grogg / Andreas Hüsser||Norton-Wasp|
|1978||Robert Grogg / Andreas Hüsser||Norton-Wasp|
|1979||Emil Bollhalder / Roland Bollhalder||Yamaha-EML|
- World Champions 1980 to present
|1980||Reinhard Böhler / Siegfried Müller||Yamaha-Wasp|
|1981||Ton van Heugten / Frits Kiggen||Yamaha-Wasp|
|1982||Emil Bollhalder / Karl Büsser||Yamaha-EML|
|1983||Emil Bollhalder / Karl Büsser||Yamaha-EML|
|1984||Hansi Bächtold / Fritz Fuß||EML/Jumbo-EML|
|1985||Hansi Bächtold / Fritz Fuß||EML/Jumbo-EML|
|1986||Hansi Bächtold / Fritz Fuß||EML/Jumbo-EML|
|1987||Hansi Bächtold / Fritz Fuß||EML/Jumbo-EML|
|1988||Christoph Hüsser / Andreas Hüsser||KTM-VMC|
|1989||Christoph Hüsser / Andreas Hüsser||KTM-VMC|
|1990||Benny Janssen / Tiny Janssen||Honda-EML|
|1991||Eimbert Timmermans / Eric Verhagen||Kawasaki-EML|
|1992||Eimbert Timmermans / Eric Verhagen||Kawasaki-EML|
|1993||Andreas Fuhrer / Adrian Käser||Kawasaki-VMC|
|1994||Andreas Fuhrer / Adrian Käser||Kawasaki-VMC|
|1995||Andreas Fuhrer / Adrian Käser||Kawasaki-JHR|
|1996||Andreas Fuhrer / Adrian Käser||Kawasaki-JHR|
|1997||Kristers Sergis / Artis Rasmanis||KTM-EML|
|1998||Kristers Sergis / Artis Rasmanis||Zabel-BSU|
|1999||Daniël Willemsen / Marcel Willemsen||Zabel-BSU|
|2000||Kristers Sergis / Artis Rasmanis||MTH-BSU|
|2001||Kristers Sergis / Artis Rasmanis||MTH-BSU|
|2002||Kristers Sergis / Artis Rasmanis||MTH-BSU|
|2003||Daniël Willemsen / Kaspars Stupelis||Zabel-VMC|
|2004||Daniël Willemsen / Kaspars Stupelis||Zabel-VMC|
|2005||Daniël Willemsen / Sven Verbrugge||Zabel-VMC|
|2006||Daniël Willemsen / Sven Verbrugge||Zabel-VMC|
|2007||Daniël Willemsen / Reto Grütter||Zabel-VMC|
|2008||Daniël Willemsen / Reto Grütter||Zabel-VMC|
|2009||Joris Hendrickx / Kaspars Liepins||KTM-VMC|
|2010||Daniël Willemsen / Gertie Eggink||Zabel-WSP|
|2011||Daniël Willemsen / Sven Verbrugge||Zabel-WSP|
|2012||Daniël Willemsen / Kenny van Gaalen||Zabel-WSP|
|2013||Ben Adriaenssen / Ben van den Bogaart||KTM-WSP|
|2014||Ben Adriaenssen / Ben van den Bogaart||Husqvarna-WSP|
- Passengers in italics.
A sidecarmanufactures championship has been held since 1980 when the World Championship was introduced. Initially, until 1988, the competition was for engine manufactures. After a break of no manufactures championship it returned in 1992, now for frame manufacturers:
The last three seasons of the World Championship:
The 2013 season
The top ten teams in the final standings were:
|Position||Driver / Passenger||Equipment||Bike
|1||Ben Adriaenssen / Ben van den Bogaart||KTM-WSP||3||610|
|2||Etienne Bax / Kaspars Stupelis||Zabel-VMC||2||513|
|3||Jan Hendrickx / Elvijs Mucenieks||Zabel-WSP||5||442|
|4||Jānis Daiders / Lauris Daiders||Zabel-WSP||11||442|
|5||Václav Rozehnal / Marek Rozehnal||Zabel-VMC||7||376|
|6||Stuart Brown / Josh Chamberlain||Zabel-WSP||111||324|
|7||Māris Rupeiks / Haralds Kurpnieks||Zabel-WSP||9||319|
|8||Andy Bürgler / Martin Betschart||KTM-VMC||10||316|
|9||Philip Stenborg / Christian Nilsson||Zabel-VMC||19||257|
|10||Jason van Daele / Tim Smeuninx||Zabel-VMC||12||256|
- The Sidecarcross World Championship standings remain provisional pending the decision of the FIM International Disciplinary Court in the case of passenger Lauris Daiders who has been provisionally suspended by the FIM following a failed doping test.
The 2014 season
The top ten teams in the final standings were:
|Position||Driver / Passenger||Equipment||Bike
|1||Ben Adriaenssen / Ben van den Bogaart||Husqvarna-WSP||1||420|
|2||Etienne Bax / Kaspars Stupelis||Zabel-WSP||2||402|
|3||Stuart Brown / Josh Chamberlain||Zabel-WSP||6||317|
|4||Jan Hendrickx / Elvijs Mucenieks||KTM-WSP||3||315|
|5||Valentin Giraud / Nicholas Musset||KTM-WHT||100||301|
|6||Philip Stenborg / Simon Stenborg||Zabel-VMC||9||206|
|7||Jason van Daele / Tim Smeuninx||Zabel-WHT||10||190|
|8||Vaclav Rozehnal / Jakub Vejchoda||Zabel-VMC||5||181|
|9||Daniel Willemsen / Robbie Bax||Zabel-WSP||111||179|
|10||Daniel Millard / Joe Millard||KTM-WHT||32||165|
The 2015 season
|Position||Driver / Passenger||Equipment||Bike
|1||Valentin Giraud / Nicholas Musset||KTM-WHT||5||137|
|2||Ben Adriaenssen / Ben van den Bogaart||Husqvarna-WSP||1||130|
|3||Etienne Bax / Kaspars Stupelis||Zabel-WSP||2||114|
|4||Jan Hendrickx / Elvijs Mucenieks||Husqvarna-WSP||4||114|
|5||Stuart Brown / Josh Chamberlain||Zabel-WSP||3||98|
|6||Daniël Willemsen / Robbie Bax||Zabel-WSP||111||77|
|7||Jason van Daele / Oliver Valcke||Husqvarna-WHT||7||77|
|8||Koen Hermans / Kenny van Gaalen||Zabel-WSP||15||68|
|9||Vaclav Rozehnal / Marek Rozehnal||Zabel-VMC||8||67|
|10||Andy Bürgler / Martin Betschart||KTM-VMC||16||65|
- Starke Notgemeinschaft (German) .motorsport-aktuell.com, published: 24 November 2009, accessed: 3 April 2011
- Auf Abschiedstour (German) Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, published: 9 March 2012, accessed: 7 November 2014
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- COUNTRIES WITH MOST ALLOCATIONS OF GP
- Statistik/Hall Of Fame
- DECISION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DISCIPLINARY COURT OF 4 OCTOBER 1999
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- The official FIM website
- The World Championship on Sidecarcross.com
- The Sidecarcross Statistics Pages