Flying Finns capture world sidecar racing championship
Monday, September 19, 2016
Posted by: Wes Fleming
Kirsi Kainulainen first woman to earn world championship in road racing
The BMW Motorrad Motorsport community can celebrate an historic world championship title: at the season finale in Donington (GB), Finnish duo Pekka Päivärinta / Kirsi Kainulainen were crowned the 2016 FIM Sidecar World Champions. Kainulainen is the first ever woman to win a world title in road racing. Their 44-Racing sidecar is powered by a BMW S 1000 RR engine, and the BMW Motorrad Motorsport experts supported Päivärinta/Kainulainen with engine hardware and set-up. Together with the team, the specialists modified and set up the powerful BMW engine in order to perfectly match the special requirements of a modern sidecar.
Over the course of the season, the “Flying Finns” have been the most consistent team. They finished all nine races on the podium, including their historic win at the end of June at Pannonia-Ring (HU), when Kainulainen was the first ever woman to win a world championship race in road racing.
They arrived at the final weekend at Donington with a 23-point lead in the standings and needed only three points to secure the title. However, Päivärinta/Kainulainen once more put in a brilliant performance and raced to second place on the podium. In the final standings, they ended the season with 177 points to their name and won the title by a comfortable 18 points.
It was the first world championship title in sidecar racing for BMW since 1974, when German racers Klaus Enders and Ralf Engelhardt finished the season as world champions. BMW Motorrad dominated sidecar racing for 20 years, winning a total of 21 world championship titles between 1954 and 1974.
“Congratulations to Pekka and Kirsi for this well deserved world championship title,” said Berthold Hauser, Technical Director BMW Motorrad Motorsport. “They had a great and very consistent season. In all the races they showed the perfect combination of speed and cleverness. Last year, they were fighting for the title until the very last race and, by finishing third overall, passenger Kirsi was the first ever woman to win a world championship medal in road racing. This season they continued their streak of success in an impressive manner. The historic win in Hungary was the next step, and now to be crowned world champions is just a fantastic achievement. Congratulations also to Taylor for winning the title in the BSB Superstock class. The RR racers are displaying a great performance in the series this season, with nine wins in 11 races so far and many, many podiums. We at BMW Motorrad Motorsport are very proud to have contributed to these titles with our technical support.”