Lauder sidecar team find Dutch courage to F1 podium spot

Steve Kershaw sprays the bubbly onto sidecar partner Rob Wilson after the team take their first F1 podium spot of the season.
Steve Kershaw sprays the bubbly onto sidecar partner Rob Wilson after the team take their first F1 podium spot of the season.

The seventh round of the Eastern Airways Formula One British Sidecar Championship rolled into the 2.8-mile TT circuit of Assen in Northern Holland last weekend.

This iconic circuit first opened in 1925 and is loved by riders and spectators alike for its fast-flowing bends and great atmosphere.

With an overnight sea crossing from Newcastle, Lauder’s Kershaw racing team began their trip over on the Friday, looking to build on their good season in this very competitive event.

Both driver Stephen Kershaw and passenger Rob Wilson had raced at Assen before and enjoyed the circuit, but little did they know what a momentous weekend this was going to be for the whole team and their supporters.

Qualifying on Friday in a superb fifth place, knocking 2.5 seconds off their best time at the circuit from two years ago, they went into Saturday’s early evening race with a lot of confidence.

In a race reduced to eight laps from 10 due to rain before the Superbike qualifying, they set off at a great pace, fighting all the way, with Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood for the third podium spot.

On the final lap, they made their move from the last chicane, but the Portsmouth- based team just pipped them to third spot by less than 100th of a second.

Spurred on by this, they had knocked another second off their best time and were confident of another good performance for Sunday’s second 10-lap race, and they didn’t disappoint.

From the start they moved straight into second place. The two title contenders moved ahead, leaving the team to fight it out again for third with Stevens and Charlwood and Tony Brown and his 2012 World Champion passenger Ashley Hawes.

With a stunning overtake on lap seven, Team Kershaw made their move from fifth place into third spot on the very fast Haarbocht corner.

Then, on lap eight Brown and Hawes made a mistake and overturned their sidecar. The race was red-flagged, leaving Kershaw and Wilson with their first ever British Championship podium place.

Having received their trophy in front of family and friends, the pair were absolutely delighted to have reached a goal which they have worked so hard for. They are now looking to build on this fantastic result, which has moved them up to eighth place in the championsip, at Silverstone in two weeks’ time.