The Mitchells of Mansfield supported World Sidecar contenders Ben and Tom Birchall rode to a decisive victory in round three of the FIM World Sidecar championship held in Germany at Sachsenring as part of the support package to MotoGP. This fine victory elevates the Mansfield pair to second place behind current champions Pekka Paivarinta and Adolf Hanni.
Free practice and qualifying went according to plan with Ben and Tom securing pole position for the start of Sunday’s big race. They were second fastest in the first session and improved to take pole in the shortened final session with a lap time of 1m 29.120s.
“We were looking to improve the lap time even more but the session was halted early because of an incident involving another competitor,” said Ben. “But we went to the start line fairly confident we could pull off a top result.”
As the lights went out it was Reeves/Cluze who got the hole shot into turn one but they were swiftly followed by Hock/Becker and Zimmerman/Ziegal with Ben and Tom Birchall hanging onto their shirt tails.
As the race unfolded Ben and Tom moved into third place and began to chase down the two leading outfits. They took the lead mid race and once in front pulled away to establish an unbeatable lead, crossing the finish line at the end of the 22 lapper with a 7.6 second advantage over Paivarinta/Hanni. Hock/Becker took the chequered flag a couple of seconds later to clinch third place.
“We waited for the race to settle down before making a move forward and went for the lead at half distance; after that we had a trouble free race and took a comfortable victory,” said Ben. “We put in a string of consistently fast laps to improved time to 1m 28.6s and felt very much in control out there.
“I would once again like to give a big thank you to everyone who helped us recover after our crash at Schleiz, but for their help we would not have been in a position to win here today. The team worked really well again this weekend and the race went like clockwork. It has been a real confidence booster to win here at Sachsenring in front of the massive crowd that support the MotoGP championship and to further our challenge for the championship lead.
“We have clawed points back and moved into second place eight points clear of Hock/Becker but are still someway behind championship leaders Paivarinta/Hanni. But there are 75 points still to race for in the last two rounds so it’s not all over just yet.”
The next outing for the Birchall Brothers will be at Cadwell Park on August 14 in round five of the Eastern Airways British Sidecar championship prior to the final two rounds of the World Series – Oschersleben on August 28 ahead of the season finale at Le Mans on September 24.