Two wins for Lauder sidecar racing pair Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood in Germany
Held at the Oschersleben race complex in the former East Germany, 20 crews started the sixth and penultimate round of the year all fired up after a five-week break.
Reigning champions and new series leaders Todd Ellis and Emmanuelle Clement were hoping to go clear of second-placed Ben and Tom Birchall, the latter making a comeback from a shoulder injury sustained in round four in Austria in August.
Kershaw and Charlwood were third on the leaderboard going into the weekend but only one point ahead of East Yorkshire’s Sam and Tom Christie and Manx-French pair Harry Payne and Kevin Rousseau, tied for fourth at that stage, so the Borderers were out to widen that gap.
Saturday saw practice, qualifying and a sprint race crammed in, and Kershaw and Charlwood were fast out of the blocks. They were top of the timing sheets in practice and followed that up with pole position in qualifying, setting a new lap record time, with Anglo-French pairing Ellis/Clement second and the Christies third.
An incident on lap two back in the pack brought out red flags during the sprint but, after a lengthy delay, Kershaw’s Quattro-backed LCR took the lead, ahead of Ellis/Clement and the Christies.
Nottinghamshire’s Birchalls took third place on lap two and looked to be catching the front two but dropped back to fifth at the flag, having been pipped to fourth at the final corner by Payne/Rousseau.
The Christies were third and Ellis/Clement second, with Kershaw/Charlwood winning by four seconds after the day’s 12 laps.
The 21-lap main event followed on Sunday, with 17 crews competing.
Kershaw/Charlwood started off at the front again from Ellis/Clement, with the Christies and Birchalls vying for third.
By lap 19, the gap between the top two was under half a second but smart manoeuvring through the back-markers enabled the Scots to extend that to 1.5 seconds going into the final lap and claim their first-ever double victory ahead of the championship’s final round in Portugal later this month.
“What a weekend it’s been – pole position and two wins. It doesn’t get better than that,” said Kershaw.
“The bike has felt perfect since first practice so we’ve changed very little and concentrated on the riding.
“We’ve felt deserving of a win after the last couple of rounds and now we’ve got two. It’s brilliant.”
Looking forward to moving on to Portugal, Charlwood added: “Estoril is a circuit we both love, so if we can do the same there it’ll round off the season in style.”
Ellis/Clement, on 238 points, now lead the Birchalls by 22 points, with Kershaw/Charlwood a further 41 back on 175 but still in with a mathematical chance of taking second.
The Christies are fourth, 24 behind Kershaw/Charlwood’s 151 but just one ahead of Payne/Rousseau, so either could claim third place at Estoril.