Mansfield brothers Ben and Tom Birchall are back to winning ways after taking a splendid victory in round four of the FIM World Sidecar championship at Sachsenring in Germany on Sunday to move into third place in the overall rider standings and right back into contention for the world title.
The Mitchells of Mansfield supported duo was top of the leaderboard throughout free practice and qualifying and began their race from pole position.
The track was slippery and wet during first qualifying and smooth driving was essential to stay in control and it was Ben and Tom that made the best of the dire conditions posting a lap time of 1m 44.285s. The rain had stopped in time for the final session and the Birchall brothers were keen to get out on a dry track to post some quick lap times and they set pole with a lap of 1m 28.312.
Ben said: “We had a good session and everything went according to plan, the bike felt good although the engine was a little down on power. Let’s hope we can continue in the same vein on race day.”
Prior to Sunday’s race there was a storm with heavy rain and gale force winds and it looked as if the sidecar race would be wet. But the storm passed and the track was quick to dry and the race was held in dry and sunny conditions. As the lights went out it was Hock/Becker that got the hole shot into turn one swiftly followed by Ben and Tom Birchall.
As the race progressed the two leading outfits pulled clear of the pursuing pack and entered into a battle for the lead. Birchall bided his time and with two corners left to race Ben took the advantage and powered the LCR Yamaha past Hock to cross the finish line and take the win with an advantage of 0.411s.
“That was a really good race,” said Ben. “We went into the race knowing we had to win if we were to have any chance of staying in contention for the title. We are the current lap record holders and really enjoy racing here so we are really happy with the outcome.
“The bike was a little down on power, around 10mph down on top speed, the engine felt tired but it held up and we were able to secure the win.”
This result moves the Birchalls back into third place in the overall standings but there are only 13 points separating the top three teams and with three rounds (125 points) remaining there is everything to race for.
The Birchalls now head to the Isle of Man where they will race the Cofain by Klaffi F2 outfit in the annual Southern 100 races. This is the first time the brothers have contested the event and so they have to get to grips with the public road course before they can get up to race speed.
Photos by Wally Walters