Tim Reeves’ charge towards the 2014 World Sidecar Championship continued last weekend at Assen, Holland with the SMT/Remse Racing driver and passenger Gregory Cluze taking their fourth win of the season to open up a more than healthy 51-point lead.
The weekend got off to the perfect start for Tim and Gregory when they topped the timesheets in the first qualifying session with a time of 1m41.652s, comfortably clear of Ben and Tom Birchall, and with a blistering time of 1m40.969s in the second and final session, they duly claimed pole position for the 16-lap race. The Birchalls remained in second although they narrowed the gap to 0.8s.
After dry weather during qualifying, rain fell an hour before the race was due to get underway and although it had stopped by the time the outfits came under starter’s orders, parts of the circuit remained wet. With slick tyres fitted, Tim made a steady getaway when the lights turned green and found himself back in seventh going into the first corner with the Birchalls taking an early lead.
Half way round the first lap, Tim and Gregory had worked their way up to third behind the Birchalls and local heroes Bennie Streuer and Geert Koerts and although a dry line was rapidly appearing, the leading trio had to be cautious in the early stages. The slick tyres soon came into their own though and Tim and Gregory overhauled Streuer and promptly set about closing the gap to the Birchalls. This was duly done and they seized the lead soon after, opening up a healthy three-second gap over their main rivals.
A problem with the quickshifter allowed the Birchalls to close in slightly in the final laps but Tim and Gregory had everything under control and the 25 points have moved them onto 116pts with the Birchalls now up to second on 65.
Speaking afterwards, a delighted Tim said; “It’s pretty much been the perfect weekend and after breaking the lap record and taking pole position in qualifying, we wrapped the weekend up with a great win. The rain before the race kept us all on our toes and my side of the track was extremely wet when we got underway so I had to be very careful getting off the line. It left me down the pack a bit but I got my head down and set about closing the gap to Ben and Tom. Once past, we opened up a nice lead and although a problem with the quickshifter gave me a couple of anxious moments towards the end, we held on for another win.”
“It’s allowed us to open a very healthy lead in the Championship, something we’re extremely keen to maintain so all our focus now is on the next round at Sachsenring. Unfortunately, that means we’ve had to withdraw our entry from the Southern 100 where I’d planned to defend my Championship title. I’m obviously disappointed to be missing such a great event and would like to apologise to everyone connected with the meeting for withdrawing at this late stage but the World Championship is our main goal and commitment this season and we don’t want anything to jeopardise that.”
“It was a bit of a frantic start to the season but everything’s going really well so a massive thanks to all my sponsors especially DFDS Seaways, SMT Racing, H&S Contractors, MJW Kawasaki, Remse Racing, Planet Engineering and LA Marketing.”
The next round at Sachsenring, Germany takes place on the weekend of July 11-13.
Photo - Tim and Gregory celebrate with more silverware. By Mark ‘Wally’ Walters