Lauder crew finish third in sidecar championship
None of the top five positions in the series were decided ahead of that finale at the Estoril circuit, near Porto.
Going into it, defending champions and series leaders Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement only had to stay close behind second-placed Ben and Tom Birchall to retain their title.
Kershaw and Charlwood were in with a mathematical chance of claiming the runners-up spot but only if Nottinghamshire’s Birchalls failed to finish and the Borderers were also at potential risk of ceding third place if they didn’t manage to go the distance.
Race one, a sprint over ten laps on a damp but drying track on Saturday, was won by Finland’s Pekka Paivarinta and Luca Schmidt, with the Birchalls second and Anglo-French pairing Ellis/Clement third, leaving 2023’s title to be decided the day after.
Kershaw and Charlwood, front-runners early on, had to settle for seventh.
The weather improved for Sunday’s 17-lap race, with Ellis/Clement only needing to finish in the top eight to keep their title and Kershaw/Charlwood requiring a top-12 to guarantee third place.
Paivarinta/Schmidt were in front early on, but it only took a couple of laps for the Birchalls and then Ellis/Clement to nose ahead of them. East Yorkshire’s Sam and Adam Christie eventually claimed the lead on lap 16 and kept hold of it until the finish for a maiden victory.
Kershaw/Charlwood finished fifth to take third place behind runners-up the Birchalls and top dogs Ellis/Clement.
“It’s been a crazy, stressful weekend,” said Kershaw after Sunday’s medal presentation. “The weather has been awful, so I played safe with the tyres on Saturday, which didn’t really work.
“Today I knew we just had to finish, so it was probably the most boring race we’ve ever had. It paid off, though, so thanks to Ryan, all the team, our sponsors and everyone else who contributes.
“We’ll be back next year to go for it again.”
Charlwood added: “It’s been the most competitive year I’ve ever raced, so for my wife, dad and brother to all be here to see us collect our medals is really special.”