The Team Castrol Suzuki ensemble of Steve Webster and Paul Woodhead face their most important meeting of the season this weekend when they will be competing for both European and World Titles at Schleiz in Germany.
The weekend's unusual format has been brought about by the recent successful negations between the Superside Management and the FIM to run a 2004 Sidecar World Cup. In July, following the conclusion of negotiations with the FIM, Superside, the management organisation of the European and formerly World Sidecar Championships, announced the addition of the 2004 FIM Superside World Cup to the calendar.
The inclusion of the FIM Sidecar World Cup for this season means that for the 56th consecutive year the sidecar class will have a FIM World title up for grabs. Only the 125cc, 250cc and 500cc/MotoGP classes can match the sidecars in having a World title every year since the birth of the FIM World series in 1949.
It also means a very busy day on Sunday with an unprecedented three championship races to be held.
On Sunday morning, there is the World Cup Round 1 - a ten-lap sprint. Just after mid-day there will be a twelve lap second round, followed by a tough 17 lapper late in the afternoon.
As an added twist, the middle race will also count towards the UEM European Championship, forming round six of the series.
The last round of the UEM series was in Sweden last month when a broken sidecar wheel caused Webster and Woodhead to crash out of the race just as they were preparing to make a move for the race lead. Tim Reeves went on to win, and that victory gave Reeves' his first international race win and a maximum haul of 25 to lift him onto 77, with second place man Tom Hanks jumping up to 76. Webster stayed on 75 points in third place.
"It's going to be a busy weekend, and having three races in one day is going to mean some careful tactics. Finishing is all important - if you have a problem in race 1, it could put you out for the rest of the day, so whilst it's going to be a ten lap sprint, everyone is going to be careful to make sure they have a chance in the other two races." said Webster, who will be aiming to lift a record breaking 10th World Title, to add to his successes in 1987/88/89, 1991/97/98/99, 2000 and 2003
It's also Webster's first race at the newly redesigned circuit:
"We did race at Schleiz back in about 1991, but it was non championship event, and the circuit then was mainly public roads."
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