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Weather and racing perfect at Knockhill as Kershaw/Clark delight home fans

 

Weather very untypical of Knockhill prevailed all weekend, with track conditions perfect. Free practice saw the series leaders Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark push the Molson/Santander Salt Kawasaki to within half a second of the lap record held by Tim and Tristan Reeves. You could just sense there was more to come, and there was.

Qualifying - that record time was beaten in qualifying by Kershaw, as the pair scorched round to claim pole position, from second in the title chase Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson. The Molson/Santander Salt crews were looking like a repeat of the one-two from Cadwell. Just five and a half seconds split the fifteen strong line-up going into race one.

Race One - from the lights, Kershaw and Clark made no mistake and took control. A battle in the early stages between Gary Bryan/Phil Hyde, and Todd Ellis/Charlie Richardson took them clear of a chasing Gary Horspole/James Connell.

Also making up ground were Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood, who passed Horspole several times on the twisty bits, only to lose out on the straights. They eventually made it stick to register fourth behind Bryan.

Twelve laps saw Kershaw extend the lead to eight seconds, and come to within a hair's breadth of the official lap record.

Race One Result

1/ Kershaw/Clark (Santander Salt/Molson Kawasaki), 2/ Ellis/Richardson (Santander Salt Honda), 3/ Bryan/Hyde (Bryan Racing Kawasaki), 4/ Stevens/Charlwood (Quattro Plant JG Speeffit Kawasaki), 5/ Horspole/Connell (Baker Plant/Sleaford Quality Foods Kawasaki), 6/ Gilbert/Tritton (Draper Racing Yamaha, 7/ Biggs/Schmitz (Taurus Tools Honda), 8/ Gray/Pitt (Brian Gray Powerbiking Yamaha)

Race Two - a reverse grid situation put Kershaw and Clark alongside team-mates Ellis and Richardson on row five. In many ways, they were lucky to miss a massive tangle into Duffus Dip, involving several outfits. Gary Horspole/James Connell became locked together with Nev Jones and Mark Gash, both sliding across the infield with substantial damage to bodywork.

Todd Ellis's Honda took a punch on the nose, but he was able to continue unaffected. At the front, Dean Nicholls and Kenny Cole made the most of the carnage behind, and streaked into a good lead, with Simon Gilbert/Jack Tritton looking strong too.

Once the race settled down, the remaining thirteen crews gave a good display, with the handful of 600cc outfits getting really stuck in.

Stevens and Charlwood were in the thick of it too, but could not keep Ellis/Richardson at bay. At mid-race distance, Rob Biggs/Jerome Schmitz had moved steadily up the order, along with Gray/Pitt.

These 600's all looked really good and Biggs eventually conquered Simon Gilbert to take a well-earned fifth place.

Kershaw though, was again invincible, and once in front, came again to within a whisker of the lap record, eventually winning by sixteen seconds.

Race Two Result

1/ Kershaw/Clarke, 2/ Ellis/Richardson, 3/ Bryan/Hyde, 4/ Stevens/Charlwood, 5/ Biggs/Schmitz, 6/ Gilbert/Tritton, 7/ Nicholls/Cole, 8/ Gray/Pitt

Race Three - all damage was repaired, and it was a full complement on the grid for the finale.

A huge crowd was at Knockhill for the annual BSB appearance, and they were wildly enthusiastic for the sidecars, as local men Kershaw/Clark carved their way through the pack. Ellis and Bryan went with them, but it was not an easy task this time out.

Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood failed to start due to the Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki developing a severe rattle just before the off.

Pole position though, had taken on a new look with debutants Michael Bell and Sandy Mayhew alongside Ulster visitors Peter O'Neill and Leon Fitzpatrick. This pair did themselves proud with strong performances throughout.

Sadly, at Duffus Dip after the start, Gary Horspole again got it sideways and tangled with Gordon Shand/Tony Belsey. The incident put them both out of the running, and dented Horspole's chances of progressing his points situation.

Simon Gilbert and Jack Tritton parted company, with the young passenger sliding out of the back, fortunately without injury.

Rob Biggs and Jerome Schmitz were also strong all race, until an excursion into the gravel dropped them back. But with only ten finishers, there were still good points for everyone. Ellis and Richardson made their usual charge through the field, but the pace at the front was fierce, with O'Neill giving it his best shot. Ellis was once again runner-up to his team- mates.

Once in the lead, Kershaw and Clark opened a fourteen second gap and held it to the flag.

Race Three Result

1/ Kershaw/Clark, 2/ Ellis/Richardson, 3/ Bryan/Hyde, 4/ O'Neill/Fitzpatrick, 5/ Gray/Pitt, 6/ Nicholls/Cole, 7/ Bell/Mayhew, 8/ Jones/Gash

Overall Standings

Kershaw 286, Ellis 196, Bryan 137, Stevens 114, Horspole 100, Gray 88, P. Bell 86, Nicholls 77, Gilbert 76

Cup Points

Ellis 272, Stevens 180, Gray 159, P. Founds 91, Biggs 86, Peach 63

The next round is at Brands Hatch in two weeks time, with highlights from Knockhill to follow on-line and Motorsport TV.

 

Media Matters - Barry Nutley - barry.nutley@btinternet.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

BSB / British Sidecar Championship Partners

Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark win Race 1. Pictured leading 3rd place Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde
Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark win Race 1. Pictured leading 3rd place Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde


(l to r) Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson, Santander Salt (2nd), Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, Molson & Express Tyre Service (1st) and Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde, Bryan Racing (3rd) and John McGuinness
(l to r) Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson, Santander Salt (2nd), Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, Molson & Express Tyre Service (1st) and Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde, Bryan Racing (3rd) and John McGuinness


Race action
Race Action


Passenger Phil Hyde, North Kelsey, Bryan Racing, celebrates another 3rd place
Passenger Phil Hyde, North Kelsey, Bryan Racing, celebrates another 3rd place


Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, Lauder, Molson & Express Tyre Service  win race 2
Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark, Lauder, Molson & Express Tyre Service win race 2


race 3 action
Race 3 Action


Race 3 Action
Race 3 Action


Simon Gilbert and Jack Tritton, Draper Racing
Simon Gilbert and Jack Tritton, Draper Racing

 

Photos copyright: Impact Images Photography

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