Kershaw/Charlwood take debut double wins at stormy Snetterton

This weekend kickstarted part two of the six-round season, and there was no better place to be than the Snetterton 300 Circuit. This round sponsorship was courtesy of Lifesafety Systems, a Kent-based fire and safety organisation.

Fewer than twenty outfits made the journey, with the Crowe brothers and Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes opting for the Southern 100 instead. Also absent were Sam and Tom Christie with their Hannafin Yamaha. This left the door open for Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood and Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney to challenge the Laidlow brothers for prime honours.

Free practice gave the teams six laps to find their feet, and as predicted, just four tenths of a second split the top three teams. There was nothing between the two GP crews of Blackstock and Kershaw, with Laidlow some three tenths behind.


Friday weather was kind, so the track was in perfect order for the teams to aim for grid positions. The battle between the top three continued into this session, with George Holden/Oscar Lawrence maintaining their watching brief in fourth on the Holden Racing Kawasaki. As the only Cup class outfit in the top four, Sam and Jack Laidlow were more than holding their own, with both the outright and Cup class leads at stake.
The Paul and Tom Kirby ARS outfit was very closely matched with Phil Bell/Phil Hyde on the Marin Motorsports Yamaha, but their main threats in the Cup class war, Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor, appeared to be off the pace on the Honda. Rob Atkinson/Josh Smith on the other hand, were getting the hang of the long bike and claimed tenth fastest.
Meanwhile, pole position went to Blackstock and Rosney, with the DHR Yamaha two tenths ahead of Kershaw/Charlwood sharing the front row.

The Laidlow brother headed up row two from George Holden, with John Holden alongside Biggs/Segers on row four. Ferry Segers had an earlier incident, flying down the tarmac, but was unharmed. He jumped back in and did his job well.

All sixteen entrants contested qualifying, with series promoter Andy Peach heading up row six alongside Clarke/Ensor. With wet weather predicted for the two races, Peach/Edwards could well benefit in adverse conditions. The sole F2 Suzuki outfit of Billy Pearson/Jon Restall was outside the 115% of pole time but would contest the races from the back.

Race One

On a day when the weather had been extreme, with delays throughout the race programme, sidecars came to the line early evening to a wet track bathed in new sunshine. From the lights, Blackstock and Rosney made their usual lightning start to lead from Steve Kershaw and Charlwood. The conditions threw up some surprising names, with Andy Peach/Ken Edwards in fourth place and Phil Bell/Phil Hyde charging past the Laidlow brothers to attack the front. All this frantic action was on the opening lap, and was shaping up to be a fascinating race, when Bell/Hyde upended early on lap two to bring out the red flag.

All teams returned to pit lane to be told the evening curfew had brought an end to proceedings for the day. The result was cancelled with a new race scheduled for Sunday morning. Sadly, Phil Bell collected a broken collarbone in the incident, so he was heading back for Bedlington.

Race One restart

In bright sunshine, Blackstock and Rosney again stole a march on Kershaw when the lights went out. A short five-lapper meant no time to waste, and everyone gave it their best shot. The Laidlows were initially in third, but George Holden/Oscar Lawrence grabbed the place on the opening lap. They had only borrowed it, and were obliged to hand it back one lap later when Sam and Jack Laidlow made a lovely move underneath to reclaim the place. That is where they stayed, seemingly unable to close on the leading pair.
At half race distance, Kershaw made his move at Murrays and took control at the front. That is where he stayed, looking very purposeful. Despite Blackstock’s best efforts, the gap at the flag was over one second.
Further back, a spirited fight between John Holden and Paul Kirby featured a strong passing move by the TT veteran who then set after Rob Biggs/Ferry Segers, sitting in a good fifth place. The Holden family were going well with George fourth and John sixth. World championship regulars Kevin Cable/Chaz Richardson were safe in eighth, ahead of a much-improved Rob Atkinson/Josh Smith. The RAF team have really got to terms with the long bike.

Back at the front, Kershaw sealed the win, his first of this season in this title chase.

Result -1/ Steve Kershaw/Ryan Charlwood (Blinkbonny Quarry LCR Yamaha), 2/ Lewis Blackstock/Paddy Rosney (DHR Yamaha), 3/ Sam Laidlow/Jack Laidlow) Express Tyres Services/Pendragon Yamaha),
4/ George Holden/Oscar Lawrence (Holden Racing Kawasaki),
5/ Rob Biggs/Ferry Segers (Express Tyre Service/Santander Salt Yamaha), 6/ John Holden/Clement Conil (John Holden Racing Yamaha),
7/ Paul Kirby/Tom Kirby (KRT Racing Adolf RS Yamaha), 8/ Kevin Cable/Charlie Richardson (L&W Contractors Yamaha), 9/ Rob Atkinson/Josh Smith (Mecsia/RAF Engineering Adolf RS Yamaha),
10/ Craig Clarke/Peter Ensor (Centurion Packaging/Fineline Sealants Honda)

Race Two

Showers had once again plagued Snetterton during the afternoon, but things had settled down before the final race of the day.
Kershaw, by virtue of his race one speed, started on pole, but he was about to lose that advantage from the lights as Blackstock/Rosney made yet another of their flying starts to grab the lead up the straight. Again, Sam Laidlow ducked out of Kershaw’s wake, but hit Riches in third place. That was to be the Laidlow destiny for the entire race, but the top three were welded together in the early stages with Kershaw trying every move in the book to gain the lead.

Perseverance paid off, as they made the move at about half distance, and thereafter, fought off every attempt by Blackstock to reclaim the place. Inch by inch the duelling pair eased away from the Laidlows, finishing around ten seconds clear at the flag.
Meanwhile, behind them, we were treated to a family feud as George and John Holden scrapped lap after lap, with George getting the final verdict. They were also involved in a four-way fight as Rob Biggs/Ferry Segers staked their claim to an eventual sixth place.

Kevin Cable and Chaz Richardson on the L&W Contractors Yamaha showed their class, staying in touch throughout, just waiting to pick up some pieces if it all went wrong ahead. This race-long battle was a thoroughly entertaining spectacle which had us all enthralled.
Paul and Tom Kirby ran on at turn five, dropping them almost into the clutches of Rob Atkinson/Josh Smith, with Craig Clarke, Andy Peach and Gordon Pottinger completing the twelve finishers.

Blackstock rode a calculated weekend, safe in the knowledge that Steve Kershaw has a lot to do if he is to pass him in the title chase, whilst the series leaders, Sam and Jack Laidlow, are now just single figures ahead.

Result – 1/ Kershaw/Charlwood, 2/ Backstock/Rosney,
3/ Laidlow/Laidlow, 4/ Holden/Lawrence, 5/ Holden/Conil,
6/ Biggs/Segers, 7/ Cable/Richardson, 8/ Kirby/Kirby, 9/ Atkinson/Smith,
10/ Clarke/Ensor, 11/ Peach/Edwards, 12/ Pottinger/Dodds.

Round Five comes from the Cadwell Sidecar Revival over the weekend of August 3-4th, with three races on the programme.

Meanwhile, all results and championship standings are here, along with other news as it unfolds on