Dutch courage pays off for Lauder sidecar twosome

After the lows and highs of the previous stage, Lauder’s Steve Kershaw, Ryan Charlwood, and the rest of their team headed across theNorth Sea last weekend to one of their favourite circuits for round four of the Sidecar World Championships.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 10:20 am
Ryan, left, and Steve (picture by Mark Walters)

Assen in Holland, globally known as the Cathederal of Speed, is renowned for fast, close racing and demands a fully committed attitude.

After an intermittent sensor fault in qualifying, the Borders crew lined up in fifth position for race one, alongside returning local Dutch heroes Streuer/Remme, coming back from injury – but the four teams ahead were the current top four in the points standings.

Off the line, Reeves/Rousseau made their trademark lightning start, taking the lead from row two from pole sitters Ellis/Clement.

These two crews instantly broke clear, leaving a five-team train fighting for third, with Kershaw/Charlwood slap bang in the middle behind championship leaders Schlosser/Fries.

At one third race distance, Schlosser got into his groove and started to wind the pace up and move in on the front two, who were losing time by dicing with each other.

Kershaw/Charlwood couldn’t shake off Streuer/Remme and were unable to find a gap past the wily Paivarinta/De Haas until their outfit went sick and started to slow mid-race.

With three laps to go, Streuer/Remme started to tire, allowing Kershaw/Charlwood to ride less defensive and pull back in towards the three outfits ahead. The clogs were off as Schlosser/Fries took the lead from Reeves/Rousseau but, as Ellis/Clement tried also to make a pass, for the second race in a row, the two Englishmen collided.

This time, Ellis/Clement ended beached in the gravel trap and out of the race, while Reeves/Rousseau dropped back to fourth, 12 seconds adrift.

Once again, Steve and Ryan dodged the carnage to jump up to second and across the finish line and were under a second behind the Swiss duo, so close to another win.

Again, the drama continued after the race ended as Streuer/Remme were stripped of their third place as their machine failed post-race checks, being under the weight limit.

Reeves/Rousseau therefore claimed the final podium place.

All the damages were repaired overnight and, as race two blasted off, Ellis/Clement made no mistake from pole to take the lead from Paivarinta/De Haas, who jumped into second.

Steve and Ryan slotted into sixth behind Streuer/Remme, taking until lap three to nudge past and settling down to get on the back of the top four. With some breathtaking precision riding, these five teams continued, lap after lap, less than two seconds apart.

Reeves/Rousseau edged to the front on lap eight, with Schlosser/Fries taking second on lap 10 but unable to break away. This was until Ellis missed a gear on lap 13, dropping to fifth but, crucially, momentarily holding up the two

crews directly behind, who lost the tow of the front teams.

Ellis/Clement barged straight back past Kershaw/Charlwood and then Paivarinta/De Haas to reclaim third, which became second when Reeves’ bike cried ‘enough’ three laps from the end, gifting Schlosser/Fries another win. With another podium place up for grabs, Kershaw pushed on and got the Quattro Plant LCR up the inside of Paivarinta on the penultimate lap to finish a delighted third.

With the points tallied, Team Kershaw Racing now lie fourth in the table, 17 points behind third at the mid point of the season and looking forward to their first venture to Croatia for round five.

Kershaw said: “We love this place. Those were proper Grand Prix races – close, hard and fast but everyone had respect. Twice on the podium is the icing on the cake.”

Charlwood added: “This track never disappoints and I think we’ve proved ourselves that Donington wasn’t a one-off.”