The weekend began well for the reigning world sidecar champions Ben and Tom Birchall as they took the win in the first two of three race at Snetterton in round two of the Battle of Britain British F1 Sidecar championship but it all ended in disaster for the Mansfield pair as they were run off the track on the final lap of the third race resulting in Tom being thrown from the machine and Ben trapped in the cockpit as the outfit turned turtle.
After qualifying in fourth position, just four tenths of a second away from pole, the Mitchells of Mansfield supported brothers went on to quickly take the lead in the first of three races winning the race with a 6.5 second advantage over the second placed riders.
The world champions took another convincing win in the second race on Monday which was run over two parts due to heavy rain showers and were leading the final race until the last corner of the final lap when they were run off the track by the following rider which resulted in a huge crash for the Mansfield brothers as the outfit flipped over onto its roof.
Luckily the pair escaped with nothing more than some bruising but such a seemingly irresponsible move could have resulted in much more serious injury. Although a protest was made after the race, it was deemed to be a racing incident and when we see the television footage when broadcast we can form our own conclusions as to what happened.
Although Ben and Tom escaped relatively unscathed the outfit was not so lucky and it will be a race against time to make sure the bike is ready for the second round of the World Series which is set to take place at Schleiz in Germany at the weekend.
A shaken Ben Birchall said: “We had a good weekend up until the last race. We qualified well and by winning the first race we started on pole position for the second two races. In the final race we had a good, race-long battle with Reeves and were leading on the last lap before being run off the track and crashing. Sidecar racing is not a contact sport and this situation should really not have happened. But we are both ok and will come back stronger. We have a lot of work to do before we will be in a position to race at Schleiz but will work around the clock if necessary to be up and running in time for qualifying.”
The Birchall brothers headed straight to the ferry to make their way to the circuit in Germany and will have to complete the repairs to the stricken outfit at the circuit.
Free practice and qualifying take place on Friday and Saturday ahead of a short sprint race over 11 laps on Saturday afternoon. This will be followed by a 22-lap Gold race on Sunday.