After the disappointment of a non finish in Saturday’s three lap sidecar TT Ben and Tom Birchall bounced back with a vengeance to win the second event on the Isle of Man on Wednesday, setting their fastest ever lap around the 37.73-mile mountain road course on the second of three laps with an average speed of 114.661mph.
As the riders took to their start positions Ben said: “It’s perfect weather today so it should be a good race. After Saturday we just want to get the three laps completed and put on a good show for the fans, we will try our best to bring a top result back to the team although the pace is very hot and any one of six of us could be on the top step of the podium!”
.Ben and Tom powered the Manx Gas/Klaffi supported LCR Honda prepared by CM Engineering away to a determined start and by the time they reached the first checkpoint at Glen Helen they had a two second lead. They stretched that out to five seconds at Ballaugh and nearly doubled their advantage at Ramsey. At the end of the lap they were 10.7 seconds in front and set a personal best time of 114.49s.
Lap two saw the Birchall boys increase their lead further and when the second placed outfit went out with a mechanical problem their lead was up to 20 seconds over seasoned campaigners Dave Molyneux and Patrick Farrance. At the end of the lap Moly had made inroads towards them but Ben put in the fastest lap of the race improving his personal best to 114.661s.
On the final lap the lead was down to 17 seconds but Moly had no answer to the pace of the Birchalls and they romped home to take their first TT victory with a 16 second advantage over Moly. Ironically the same time as their regular race number! (16)
An emotional Ben Birchall said: “If that’s what winning the TT is like I want some more. What a team we have got behind us, it’s not just me and Tom on the bike we have an incredible team. We just chipped away throughout the race. It is so hard to be leading the race and if I am honest I would sooner be pushing and chasing. I had to keep telling myself, don’t think about it, we did have a few hairy moments on lap two and I think we cleared the spectators off the grass at Milltown when we went in a bit too hot! I knew on the last lap that we had a good lead and saw Moly in front of us. As long as I could see him on the road I knew we would be ok, we didn’t need to pass him as we were well up on time.
I have to say a big thank you to Manx Gas, Klaffi and Adolph Hanni for providing us with such a strong outfit and also to Andy Mitchell, Andy Faragher and everyone else for their support this last couple of weeks. This win is incredible, we are all so pleased.”
It’s back to reality now for the Birchall brothers as they travel to Croatia for the second round of the FIM Sidecar World Championship that takes place at Rijeka on June 16th. The Birchalls are currently holding third place in the overall standings and will be seeking another top result to add to their points tally.