RICKY STEVENS is braced for a huge challenge after Portsmouth’s JG Speedfit Cool Kawasaki finished second in the opening round of the British Sidecar Championship.
The team are determined to defend their crown but certainly did not have it all their own way at Brands Hatch during the Easter weekend.
Stevens, from Portsmouth, and his passenger Ryan Charlwood, from Dover, finished second in both races behind multiple world champion Tim Reeves and his brother Tristan.
Stevens said: ‘It’s been a solid weekend which we can build on.
‘This season is going to be a real battle with the quality of the field.’
With a free practice session on Good Friday around the 1.2 mile circuit, the pair showed their intent with a second place behind Reeves, who was running at near lap record pace at around 47 seconds for a lap.
With teams lining up on the grid for the 15-lap Sunday race, showery rain hit the circuit causing the track to be very slippery in parts.
This meant the race was reduced to 12 laps.
To make matters worse on the warm-up lap the pair spun off the track.
Fortunately there was no damage or injury caused.
A tentative start saw the pair slip back to fourth place.
By lap seven they were hunting down the Scottish pairing of Kershaw Racing with Reeves pulling away at the front.
On lap 12 they overtook Kershaw Racing and finished in second behind Reeves.
With new regulations for 2017 the top 10 finishers from race one would be on a reverse grid for Monday’s bank holiday live televised race.
This placed Stevens and Charlwood on row five but they powered through and finished in second behind Reeves, with Kershaw Racing again third.
Charlwood added: ‘The reverse grid is interesting especially on the shorter circuits so we are going to work hard at getting to where we want to be in this championship, at the front fighting for a third title.’
The next round is at Oulton Park, Cheshire, over the May Bank holiday.