Lauder ace Steve primed for sidecar championship series
After the dramas of 2020, when Lauder’s sidecar supremos, Kershaw Racing, regained their British championship title after a season hit by Covid-19 restrictions, it was hoped 2021 would offer a simpler job – to take on the world’s best and try to beat them.
It’s never that easy, though, and over the closed season, a lot of hard work has been put in by Steve Kershaw and his passenger, Ryan Charlwood, plus other competitors and organisers, to get a viable series on track.
Borderer Steve won the British F1 Sidecar Championship with now-retired partner Stuart Clark before Ryan successfully teamed up with him. For both, the winter has seen significant changes to their preparations.
After the world series was completely cancelled last year, new championship promoter Roger Body, of Santander Salt, has negotiated deals which will see sidecars back on the grid at World Superbike, British Superbike and World Endurance meetings.
A full eight rounds are planned, with two sidecar races at each, making it a title worthy of the name.
Everyone has their fingers crossed that further Covid-19 outbreaks across Europe won’t stop the party this year.
The most notable change for Steve and Ryan is their new title sponsor, Quattro Group, with the outfit in a full red and white paint scheme – the first time the team bike hasn’t been predominantly blue since 2005.
Other long-time sponsors – Fuchs Silkolene, KCP, Kelso’s Blinkbonny Quarry – plus other local and personal backers, have stayed on to help them push for the top.
The team will continue to use the same LCR chassis with Yamaha 600 engines, all fully checked and rebuilt. Luckily, they managed to get some testing done in France in March before further lockdowns were imposed.
As the world races are almost twice as long as the British series, Steve and Ryan have spent a lot of time stamina and strength training and were happy in France to match the lap times of the other top teams at the test week. The big challenge for them will be learning the five new circuits which they’ve never raced at before and trying to compete with the established teams there.
Luckily, the first round is at Le Mans in France on June 11-12, where Ryan has been.
Steve said: “Ryan will be a great help at Le Mans to get us up to speed and get a bit of confidence in ourselves. I know it’s a great circuit, as I’ve watched a lot of onboard laps there.
"The next round in Hungary two weeks later is a bit more of an unknown but round three is at Donington Park, which we’ve had some great success at in recent seasons.
"We’re both looking forward to the challenge and really feel being back in our own team and truck set-up will help focus the mind on the job. John Murphy (owner of Quattro Group) is behind us 100 per cent and that total support means a lot at this level.”