Lauder's Team Kershaw displays plenty of Dutch courage

One week on from round one in France, the teams for this year’s World Sidecar series congregated at the Cathederal of Speed in Holland for their second chance to show who is going to be the big cheese in the title race for 2022.

By Ralph Mellon
Thursday, 28th April 2022, 10:17 am
Team Kershaw on track in Holland (picture by Mark Walters)
Team Kershaw on track in Holland (picture by Mark Walters)

After round one, Team Santander Salt’s Ellis/Clement held a slender four-point lead from Gustoil Suisse’s Schlosser/Fries who, in turn, were five ahead of Bonovo Action’s Reeves/Rousseau.

Ten back from them were Lauder’s Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood on their Quattro Group LCR and Kershaw was keen to make amends for just missing out two podiums the week earlier.

Last weekend again saw the pace on lap record time for qualifying with Kershaw and Charlwood in fifth, only one second off pole and taking a place on row two beside home heroes Streuer/Kolsch, who were out to give the Dutch fans something to cheer about.

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But it was the top three in the series along the front row ahead and, with the fast newcomers Payne/Wilkes just behind after a hard week repairing the outfit, there were going to be no easy points given.

A warm, dry but blustery Saturday afternoon had the large crowd enthralled for the 18-lap first race as all the crews got a clean start.

The early laps saw a lot of overtaking, with gaps opening and closing between the top six and Reeves/Rousseau trying to keep the pack behind.

Team Kershaw dropped back to sixth on lap five, having changed the bike set-up after qualifying to try and find more corner speed.

But their confidence improved and, by lap 11, they had moved forward ahead of Payne/Wilkes, followed by a pass on the fading Streuer/Kolsch into fourth.

At the same time, Schlosser/Fries, who were adrift in third, turned up the wick and reeled in the front two. Just like the previous week, used his superior speed to take the lead by lap 13 and was never challenged again. Ellis/Clement used the tow to demote Reeves/Rousseau and, at the flag, it was a carbon copy result of race two at Le Mans for the front four crews and a lap record for Ellis/Clement.

Sunday was cooler but a massive crowd raised the heat for race two and it was holeshot heroes Reeves/Rousseau who, yet again, got their noses ahead of Ellis/Clement.

Krshaw and Charlwood got a better start in third but the top seven crews were all on the same pace until Ellis/Clement took the lead on lap five and the real action started.

A small mistake by Kershaw/Charlwood on lap seven let Streuer/Kolsch and Schlosser/Fries through and, trying to make back ground, the Borderers made another error, letting Payne/Wilkes sneak past on lap 10 to drop to

sixth.

Ellis was on a mission up front and Schlosser, by this time four seconds adrift in third, blitzed the lap record by almost a second to catch and pass Reeves/Rousseau but realised the futility of trying to catch the runaway leaders and, instead, consolidated second spot.

Behind the top three, a furious three-way battle raged all the way to the line, with Payne/Wilkes just keeping in front of Kershaw/Charlwood and Streuer/Kolsch.

So Team Kershaw consolidated their fourth place in the championship with a quarter of the series now run but Kershaw and Charlwood were frustrated afterwards.

“We made good progress with the suspension set-up but a couple of mistakes cost us dearly,” said Kershaw.

"Everyone up front is on lap record pace and, if you lose ground at all, you just can’t make it back up.

"We’ll come home and try and find something for round three at Spa, which is even faster than here.”

Charlwood too was keen to improve, adding: “There’s so little between first and sixth, it just requires a few tweaks to both us and the bike.

"There’s not been a World round at Spa for years, so all of us go there with the same chance.”

So it’s back to the gym and the workshop in May before it all kicks off again for rounds three, four and five in June.