Tim Reeves has taken his third consecutive Superside World Sidecar title after taking the win and a third place in the penultimate round of the series in Croatia on Sunday.
Going into the weekend’s races Team Eastern Airways rider Tim Reeves was leading the series by 25 points ahead of the Finnish pairing of Pekka Paivarinta and Timo Karttiala and, after winning his heat in the match race went on to take the victory in the final, crossing the finish line just two tenths of a second ahead of the Fins setting a new lap record of 1m 30.802 seconds.
The record had stood for over 10 years and it was always said that a four-stroke machine would not be able to match the speed of a two- stroke – but this theory has now been proved wrong as Tim Reeves shaved a full second from the existing record with his LCR 1000cc four-stroke Suzuki.
Sunday morning saw the temperature soar to 33 degrees with a track temperature of 50 for the start of the 20-lap Gold race. Tyre choice was a nightmare as the searing heat was to affect the performance and most teams opted for the hardest compound tyre they could lay their hands on.
As the race got underway Tim Reeves remained in third place for the first two laps before forging ahead of Paivarinta to slot into second behind race leader Sebastian Delannoy.
By lap seven Tim Reeves had taken control at the front but was unable to shake off Sebastian Delannoy and Paivarinta. The three outfits were all circulating together as one but were homing in fast on the back markers who could affect the outcome.
The three negotiated the backmarkers without mishap but tyre wear was beginning to come into play with all three outfits sliding off line.
By lap 16 Sebastian Delannoy began to fade leaving Paivarinta and Tim Reeves locked in battle at the front. Paivarinta took the lead but on the last lap there was a coming together between the two leaders resulting in Tim Reeves losing his wheel arch and Paivarinta his nose cone.
Both outfits continued to the final corner when Paivarinta bumped the back of Tim Reeves’ outfit and ran off the track.
Tim Reeves crossed the finish line to take the win followed by Sebastian Delannoy and the Birchall Brothers. But a protest was lodged and upheld resulting in a 20 second penalty for Tim Reeves, which dropped him down to third place behind new race winner Sebastian Delannoy and second place team Ben and Tom Birchall.
“There were two incidents on that last lap,” said Reeves. “I had been following Paivarinta closely and was right on his back wheel as we approached the fast lefthander and then the right turn. He went towards the left and left a gap wide enough to drive a lorry through which seemed to me like a written invitation to overtake. But then he turned back in on me and took my wheel arch off and also his nose cone.
“Although both outfits were damaged we were able to continue towards the final corner. But he ran into the back of me causing his fairing to tuck under the front wheel and he ran off leaving me to complete the race for the win.
“But when we got back to the paddock Paivarinta lodged a protest and the jury upheld it. We intend to appeal and are currently gathering some witness reports to back up our case.”
Tim Reeves now heads the table by 210 points to Paivarinta’s 164, a lead of 46 points and with only 25 points available to the winner of the final round at Le Mans on September 9 Reeves cannot be beaten and will lift his third successive world championship trophy.
This will be the first world title for passenger Patrick Farrance and he said: “It has always been my dream to become world champion and today my dream has come true. I want to thank Tim and all the team and everyone who has helped us.”
Tim Reeves added: “I would like to thank all our sponsors and the team for their continued support this year, without them we would have been unable to be in this position.”
Meanwhile Eastern Airways teammates Sean and Mark Hegarty from Felixstowe rode to a strong fifth place in the match race final and were lying in fifth place in the Gold race on Sunday when they were forced to pull in with an oil leak.
“That was a shame, “ said Sean. “We were gaining ground fast on the outfit ahead of us and were looking at a good finish. But on further inspection we discovered a damaged crank case was the cause of the oil leak and we had to pull off on safety grounds.”
The Hegarty Brothers are currently lying in seventh place on 72 points with one race remaining.
The final round of the 2007 FIM Superside World Sidecar Championship is to be held at Le Mans on September 9 where Tim Reeves and Patrick will be crowned world champions.