The first round of the British Sidecar Championship took place over the weekend at the 1.2 mile Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Kent. The Portsmouth based Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki sidecar team, with driver Ricky Stevens and Dover based passenger Ryan Charlwood would be competing for the first time on their Kawasaki powered 600 cc machine.
The 2015 and 2016 British Champions have made the swop from 1,000 cc powered machines a year early before the new rules in 2019 dictate that all the sidecars will be powered by 6oo cc machine both in the British and in the World Championship, which has been in place since 2017.
The 600 machines will be competing in the same races with the 1,000 cc powered machines for this year’s ten round Championship. Friday’s qualifying saw them qualify second in their class and eighth overall.
Saturday’s first twelve lap race nearly didn’t see the pair on track as the machine wouldn’t start due to a technical fault, however they managed to get it started and had to start the race from the pit lane. They were making good progress through the field when on lap six they had to retire with another technical fault. This didn’t help their cause because for Sunday’s race two they would have to start on row ten of the grid, so they would have plenty of work to do.
Sunday race two didn’t last a lap as it was red flagged due to one of the sidecars engines blowing and oil from this went onto the track. So the team had a long wait for the race re run which was the last race of the day in wet conditions.
Getting off to a good start Ricky and Ryan moved through the very busy field passing not only the 600 cc machine’s but also several of the more powerful 600 cc machines to finish eighth overall and fifth in their class. Speaking afterwards Ricky said “We had a few technical issues in qualifying and in the first race. In the second race the bike felt much better and we made our way through the field, brought it home safely, with points for the Championship and some more valuable track time.”
Ryan added “It’s a big learning curve on the new machine, but I’m sure as the season goes on we will get better and better.”
The next round is at Oulton Park in Cheshire in two weeks time.