In just under two weeks the Sidecar Racers Association-West (SRA-West) will begin its 2015 title chase at Willow Springs International Raceway. April 25-26 will see the Formula Sidecar Series join with host club AHRMA at their well-attended Moto Classica event, with a double-header format. The Southern California round will be immediately followed by an event in Northern California at Sonoma Raceway, again hosted by AHRMA (April 30-May 01).
Two other items on the calendar are of immediate interest to long time fans as they are both TBD and at venues that have not seen sidecars in a long time. October 3-4 is a tentative date at Thunderhill Raceway Park. Sidecars have had a 5 year absence at the Willows, California course. SRA-West President John Wood says of the possible round, “the venue location is an excellent middle ground for our teams, which are located from Seattle to San Diego, and long time racers are really looking forward to getting back onto the track, as it is a really challenging circuit. We just need to get the details laid out.”
Also worth raising an eyebrow is the possible July 17-19 date at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. Sidecars have been absent from this historic raceway since 1991 and a chance to lap the course at speed will likely bring a large field of three-wheeled racers. Logistics are cited for both venues as the reason no final plan is in place. “We have to make sure we can bring a good enough show to make things profitable for our hosts while still making it affordable for our teams,” says SRA-West President John Wood. “We need to manage time, paddock space… dozens of things between multiple organizations. Fortunately we are working with really good people for both rounds, but we will have to wait to see if things fall into place.”
One thing that is falling into place is the SRA-West’s new website. “Having an online presence is hard to overstate in its importance,” say John Wood. “We are creating a place where all our individual teams can post into a collective news page instead of each team fighting for attention on their own websites or social media platforms. Now people can go to www.FormulaSidecars.com for photo, video, points and calendar, and the latest news from the series. It helps us actually own our brand and provide consistent interaction for our fans. We are also increasing our social media presense with the Formula Sidecars name on youtube, Instagram, Twitter and the like so people can engage with us on their favorite platform.” A newsletter will also be available for fans who sign up via email, making it even easier to keep up-to-date with sidecar racing in the western US.
With sidecar news and action so easy to reach this will definitely be a year to follow. 2014 champions Team Big Dog Garage (Bernard Juchli/Kevin Kautzky) will be putting the finishing touches on a new prototype Formula 1 sidecar with a crossplane Yamaha YZF-R1 engine. The new machine should first be seen by the June round if not sooner. Driver Kelly Bell will also be returning for a full season of racing with passenger Daniel Bergeron after their debut at the 2014 finale showed great promise in Race 2. Also returning from a year long hiatus will be the wild 800cc, 2-stroke snowmobile powered machine of Hank Nelson. The sheer noise and ferocity displayed by this outfit is worth seeing live, even when it is simply driving through the paddock. Fans are also waiting to see if rumors are true of the return of team Becker Moto Works. The multi-time champions (Bill Becker/Eric Becker) were absent in 2014 and much of 2013 and their return would certainly shift the balance of power at the front of the field. Finally, the usual challengers of Wood Brothers Racing (Chris Wood/Aaron McEwen) and D&J Racing (Donn Sayre/John Heenan) will be present again. Both teams are seasoned veterans who are often seen at the front of the field. Can they work on consistency and threaten for a championship? Only time will tell.
For more information or to sign up for the SRA-West newsletter go to www.FormulaSidecars.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The SRA-West is owned and operated by Sidecar Racers Association West Inc., a not for profit corporation dedicated to the promotion of sidecar racing and racers.
SRA-WEST 2015 CALENDAR:
1: APRIL 24-26; Willow Springs (Main Track) (Rosamond, CA) 2 races
2: APRIL 30-MAY 1; Sonoma Raceway (Sonoma, CA) 2 races
3: MAY 22-23; Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Classic)Y 23-24 (Las Vegas, NV) 2 races
4: JUNE 27-28; The Ridge Raceway (Sheldon, WA) 2 races
5: JULY 17-19; LAGUNA SECA (Monterey, CA) ***Unconfirmed
6: SEPT 4-6; Miller Motorsports Park (East) (Tooele, UT) 2 races
7: SEPT 26-27; Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Classic) (Las Vegas, NV) 2 races
8: OCT 3-4; Thunderhill Raceway Park (Willows, CA) ***Unconfirmed
9: NOV 14-15; Chuckwalla Valley Raceway, (Desert Center, CA) 2 races