No fun in Hungary games for Lauder's Kershaw Racing team

The heat was on in Hungary last weekend as the world’s top sidecar crews made their way to the baking hotPannoniaring circuit for the second round of the world championships.

The Lauder pairing of Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood (picture by Mark Walters)
The Lauder pairing of Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood (picture by Mark Walters)

Temperatures remained around 30 degrees all weekend, so the big challenges for the two 30-minute races were engine cooling, tyre wear, and rider and passenger fatigue.

After struggling with cooling issues at Le Mans, local team Kershaw Racing hoped the modifications made to the outfit would solve the problems, reports Robin Wilson.

But, during free practice, the new oil cooler failed, leaving them with a damaged engine and a rush to fit the only spare they had.

Qualification went better, ending in sixth place on the grid, while trying to set up the handling which they couldn’t do earlier.

Hopes were high among the limited spectators for some scorching Saturday racing, as the top four teams were separated in qualification by only half a second.

Unfortunately, spectator numbers rose by two on the sighting lap as Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood pulled back into pit lane, this time with a failed water pump, to record a first DNF (did not finish).

In the race, the top four, headed by Reeves/Rousseau, circulated nose to tail for almost half the race on lap record pace before the leader’s water pump also cried ‘enough’, leading to a blown engine and also a DNF.

Paivarinta/De Haas battled on with Ellis/Clement biting at their heels but, by the end, round one winners Schlosser/Fries saved their tyres and swept past to take the win from the other two crews, slithering round on

fried rubber.

Overnight, there was furious activity in several pit garages, trying to fix a plethora of problems.

But, for Sunday, all crews were ready to battle again in the morning sun for race two.

Yet again, it was a sighting lap drama for Kershaw as, this time, the drive chain broke and they were kindly pushed back to pit lane by another team.

With frantic activity by their team mechanic to replace the chain, they missed the warm-up lap and were forced to start from the pit lane with a 30-second start penalty.

Again, Reeves/Rousseau fought to the front, this time harassed all the way by Schlosser/Fries, Paivarinta/De Haas, Ellis/Clement and rapidly-improving German duo Sattler/Schmidt.

Kershaw/Charlwood tried all they could and fought back to an impressive sixth place by the end but couldn’t claw back the lost half minute from the start.

Across the line, less than four seconds covered the top five, with Reeves/Rousseau taking their second chequered flag of the year from Schlosser/Fries and Ellis/Clement.

Even after all that, the drama continued with the hot news that the winners had been disqualified because of illegal engine parts being found in the post-race stripdown check.

All other teams, therefore, were promoted one place, giving Schlosser a third win from four starts and Kershaw a second fifth place of the year.

With no time to dwell on what might have been, all the crews head straight to Donington Park in Leicestershire for round three this weekend, as part of the World Superbike event, for another two all-action races.