27/09/11. Ben and Tom Birchall rounded off their world championship campaign with a second place in the final race of the 2011 campaign which seals the silver medal position in the world championship rankings.
Qualifying threw up some problems for the Mitchells of Mansfield duo who encountered a misfire with the Yamaha R1 engine. Despite this they still managed to secure pole position with just shy of a second advantage over champions elect Pekka Paivarinta and Adolf Hanni.
The team worked hard to rectify the problem and thought they had it cured but as they went to the starting gird the machine refused to start. Eventually the engine fired up and they took their place at the head of the grid.
But once the lights went out it was Paivarinta that got the hole shot into turn one leaving Ben and Tom to get away in fourth place. They soon recovered from their bad start and moved up into second position but it was impossible to make a serious challenge for the lead because of the misfire which continued to plague them.
At the end of the 18 laps Paivarinta took the win with Ben and Tom Birchall finishing in second place some nine seconds behind the winners. Hock and Becker were a distant third trailing the Birchalls by 15 seconds.
“The misfire caused us problems all weekend,” said Ben. “We really thought we had it sorted prior to the race but it reared its head again as we went down to the start. We managed to hang onto the back of Paivarinta for as long as we could but eventually had to settle for second place. In fact the misfire was getting worse so we were really lucky to finish the race.”
The Birchall brothers have ended the world championship campaign in second place once again. They were second in 2008, won the title in 2009 and were third last year.
“It was unfortunate we were unable to win the final race of the series,” said Ben. “Our grateful thanks go all our sponsors, friends and family for their continued support, without them we would not have been in a position to collect the silver medals. We look forward to next season so we can have another crack at bringing the world title back toMansfield.”
Ben and Tom set off forIrelandwhere they are to take part in the final two races of the Eastern Airways British F1 Sidecar championship that takes place atMondelloParkat the weekend. The Brothers currently hold fourth place in the championship after missing three of the eight rounds. But the points are tight at the top. Reeves/Cluze have already taken the title but there are only 21 points separating the Birchalls from second place. Two good results at Mondello could see them move up to third or possibly second which is where they finished last season.
Photo by Mark Wally Walters