After a six week hiatus, the British F1 sidecar series burst back to life at Brands Hatch last weekend with Lauder’s Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark on the track.
Some extra dyno time in the weeks off paid dividends for Team Kershaw, the reigning title holders, as their Molson/Santander Salt LCR hit the top off the timesheets in free practice, but a few minor changes hampered progress in qualifying leaving them third behind the Birchalls and a rejuvenated Stevens/Charlwood in second.
So Race 1 on Saturday had the four big guns at the front of the field, with the race distance shortened from 12 to six laps.
Within two laps the front four were gapping the rest – Kershaw/Clark passed Stevens/Charlwood for second but were quickly repassed again. On lap 4 Stevens/Charlwood broke the lap record and hit the front despite spots of rain falling.
All through lap 5 the three teams were within touching distance with Ellis/Richardson one second back.
Going into the final corner of the lap, Birchall made a wild lunge to repass the leaders and hit them midships sending the Stevens outfit spinning and overturning into the gravel with the Birchalls hitting the safety bales head on at speed.
On the countback rule this meant Kershaw/Clark were declared winners. Thankfully after hospital checks, both teams only had minor injuries.
For the ten lap Race 2 on Sunday, the first reverse grid of the season pitched Kershaw/Clark and Ellis/Richardson on row 5 behind the rest of the Race 1 top ten.
Team Kershaw were mired in the pack and with Ellis/Richardson sweeping into the lead on lap 2 it looked a foregone conclusion they would grab their first win of the year. As the pack shuffled about it wasn’t until lap 6 that Kershaw broke free and got the hammer down to chase his teammate five seconds up the road.
Closing in at almost a second a lap, by the flag the Lauder flyers were just over a second back and rueing a missed chance to take a second victory. Holland/Watson claimed third and their first podium for over a year.
With the points tallied, Kershaw/Clark now lead the series by 11 points from Ellis/Richardson.