The man brave enough to sit in the side of Chris Walker’s Kawasaki sidecar each weekend has lauded the four-time BSB runner-up for how quickly he’s taken to the three-wheeled beasts.
Ashley Hawes is no slouch when it comes to being a sidecar passenger, in 2012 he won the World Championship on the side of multiple champ Tim Reeves so there’s no doubt he knows what he’s doing.
Walker went through two passengers before settling with Hawes, who has been able to help him learn so quickly after his switch to three-wheels earlier this season that the duo reached the podium not once, but three times in just their third weekend.
For a true reflection on how Walker’s getting on, we sat down with Hawes to hear what he had to say about the 45-year-old fans’ favourite.
“He’s absolutely superb to be fair,” he explained. “He rides it like he’s ridden it before. He’s taken to it so well. It’s obviously completely different to what he’s used to but he knows his race craft, he understands engineering and the way things are set up so that makes it easier for me. I help him where we can be quicker in certain corners, where he is on the brakes, what gear to come out in, how fast to approach different corners. We’re still just off the pace of the top boys but it’s coming; it’s only our third meeting!
“The lap times are coming down; we’re only just over a second off now whereas we were 1.6 off earlier in the weekend. We’ll be up there soon, hopefully before the end of the season but every track is learning.”
Hawes believes Walker’s addition to the sidecar paddock is invaluable, with masses of fans now taking interest in the class.
“There’s a massive interest from the fans this year with Chris racing. I think some of the other boys might get a bit tired about it as it seems as though it’s all about us but the crowd cheer all of us on - everyone who waves gets a wave back. The crowd was amazing here, everyone watching it – I’ve never seen anything like it for sidecars. I was even waving before we crossed the line! A lot of people have come up to me and said how good the sidecars are and I think the fact Chris is here has shown people that.”
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