Lauder sidecar duo Steve Kershaw and Rob Wilson’s hopes of achieving a British Championship title in 2013 have been put on ice.
The pair, who have been entertaining Southern readers over the last eight years with their tales of derring-do, suffered a major blow last week. A long-term health problem suffered by driver Steve has forced one half of the partnership off the road for several months.
The 26-year-joiner is taking it all in his stride, however, and plans to come back fitter and faster than ever next season.
He explained: “I have had a heart condition since birth, it has never been an issue as I live a very active lifestyle. My condition is monitored yearly, but my latest scan in January shows it is now time to sort the problem. It is looking likely that the operation will be in the next couple of months. Clearly, the recovery time from an op this size is several months, hence no racing for the 2013 season.
“We will be out at East Fortune on March 24 for practice, though, so we can set the sidecar up ready for 2014.
“It’s frustrating, but health comes first. I will be back as soon as my body allows it.”
While Steve is recuperating Rob, 45, is looking to keep his hand in.
“Most teams are set for the start of the season, but it is possible that a one-off stand-in ride may crop up which I would do as it would keep me sharp,” he told us.
“I think we have made the right decision. You need 100 per cent confidence in each other so you don’t want to be racing with any doubts, especially when it comes to health. I am under strict instructions to take the family on a proper holiday this year, but I will possibly compete at the odd motocross race and odd sidecar one, too. As well as giving moral support to our main sponsor, Jimmy Shanks of Blinkbonny Quarry, who will be racing his solo motorcycles.”
Steve and Rob have been competing together in sidecars since 2005 and have never looked back.
“I was 17 in the February and started racing that March,” said Steve. “I have never stopped since and absolutely love it.”
Rob, being the elder of the pair, had already tested the motorsport waters as an individual.
“I started racing at the age of 22 and was competing at motocross and supermoto most weekends until the end of 2004 when I started racing sidecars with Steve,” he added.
Both have a keen interest in all sports, however. While Steve plays indoor football two nights a week, as well as basketball and the odd swim in between, Rob swims for training and competes at the motocross in the winter.
Both admit that winning their first ever race in a sidecar in the early days was a highlight of their career, but they also put that triumph down to beginners’ luck.
However, since then the boys have lifted the British F2 Cup Championship (2010) and are hungry for more success.
Both get a buzz from the sport and were lifted last year when racing at Assen, Holland, when they beat the Dutch champion at his home track, passing him on the last lap in the last corner. That feeling could not be achieved, however, without a massive helping of trust.
“The trust and teamwork involved to make the sidecar go very fast is one of things I enjoy most about this sport,” said driver Steve. Also, the people involved – we have made many friends right across Europe.”
Rob added: “It’s a unique discipline in which both rider and passenger are involved in controlling the sidecar, but have no communication between each other on the sidecar. This is where the trust comes in.”
Steve works at Geo. Oliver & Son, St Boswells, while Rob is a self-employed engineer, working mainly with Anderson & Wilson of Galashiels, and the support base behind the lads from Lauder is growing year by year.
Steve’s Dad Roger is chief mechanic and team lorry driver, while mum Niccy keeps the paperwork in order and is part of the hospitality team. His wife Rhea is part of the hospitality team and brother, big Bob, is a sponsor and head gofer.
Rob’s wife Mary is part of the hospitality team and the baker of the world-famous Mary cakes. Son Callum, 12, is apprentice mechanic and lining up to take dad’s place in the sidecar, while son Adam, 9, is team mascot.
“Rob and I would not be able to compete at this level without the support of our families and our sponsors, and would like to thank them all for their continuing support,” added Steve.