Team Castrol Suzuki duo Steve Webster MBE and Paul Woodhead make a very welcome return to track action this weekend, when they will be competing in the penultimate round of the 2005 FIM Sidecar World Championship at Assen in Holland.
The ten time sidecar World Champion Webster had taken the very difficult decision to temporarily withdraw from the series after qualifying on pole at the 3rd round of the 2005 series at the Nurburgring back in mid-June, when an ongoing medical problem started to affect his ability to race safely.
Withdrawal meant conceding the World Championship title, but Webster was adamant that he needed time out from the pressures of racing to get fully fit again, with the promise of a return at Assen.
"I said at the time I needed some time out to get myself fully fit again, and I aimed to get ready for racing by the time Assen came around. Well, that time has come and I'm really looking forward to getting out on the track on my favourite circuit. I'm feeling ok now, and I'm back to full fitness. I needed the break to be able do that, and it's going to be nice coming back to the championship at a track I know well" said a happy Webster.
"Everyone connected with the team - sponsors, friends - have been very helpful, patient and understanding over the last few weeks and now I'm raring to go!"
It's a quite staggering fact that this weekend will see Webbo's 23rd world championship race at the sweeping 3.726 mile Circuit Van Drenthe. His first visit was way back in 1984, when he finished 11th, and the venue will of course always be remembered for the oft-replayed 1985 Dutch ditch diving incident. Hard to believe that that happened just over twenty years ago.
Those many visits to Assen have also seen seven race wins, and pole position in qualifying on the last seven consecutive trips.
Webster and Woodhead's last visit to the track was in 2003, the last time a World Championship meeting was held there. On that occasion - two years ago this weekend - the Team Castrol Suzuki pair took pole position, won both races, and posted a new lap record of 2 min 8.392 secs on their GSXR1000 powered outfit.
With the remaining event after this weekend now scheduled to be held at the Sachsenring in Germany in two weeks time, after the originally planned race in St.Petersburg was cancelled, Webster will make the decision on whether to enter after Sunday's race at Assen.
This season, in Webbo and Woody's absence, the championship has been fought hard between Kent-based brothers Tim and Tristan Reeves on the Team Roberts Suzuki GSXR1000 LCR and Anglo-German duo Jorg Steinhausen and Trevor Hopkinson. The Reeves' finally got the upper hand after some thrilling and controversial races along the way, and have won the World Title with two rounds to go, after amassing a points total so far of 259. With 75 left to race for, Steinhausen can't catch him.
For FIM Sidecar World Championship updates over the weekend, visit the
official Superside website at:http://www.sidecar.org/