Ben and Tom Birchall rounded off an eventful racing season by taking three pole positions, four wins and two lap records in their final three outings on the F1 Sidecar calendar resulting in the pair moving up to take the runner up spot in the Battle of Britain championship.
In 2009 the Mitchells of Mansfield supported team won the world title for the first time and, after switching to Yamaha engines for the 2010 season were looking good for a repeat performance.
However, Ben and Tom were unfortunate to suffer a major set back in Croatia when they crashed during practice for the world championship round at Rijeka, resulting in a painful back injury to Ben. He bravely managed to complete the weekend taking 11th place in race one and going on to secure a third place in the 20 lap gold race.
The team continued to contest the world championship and eventually ended the season in third place.
Because Ben had to go into hospital for skin grafts to his back he and Tom missed a round of the Battle of Britain championship and although they missed out on the opportunity to score an extra 75 points in the series they remained in third place until the very last race of the season when a set of strong results at Mallory Park in the season finale elevated them back up the order to second giving them the runner up spot in the championship.
They are currently putting a budget together to once again contest the FIM World championship in 2011 plus the Battle of Britain Championship in the UK and are also planning a return to the Isle of Man TT races with a F2 outfit.
Ben commented: “We were happy to be on the pace at the end of the season and know what we have to do next year. We are currently seeking some extra funding which will enable us to once again contest the British and World F1 championships and give us the opportunity to return to the Isle of Man on the F2 machine to contest the TT races.
“The 2011 dates have just been issued but of course are still provisional and may change. The Battle of Britain series is looking very good with four rounds as part of the support package with the high profile British Superbike Championship while another four rounds are set to run within the British Motorcycle Racing Club calendar.
“We would like to take this opportunity to convey our thanks to all our loyal sponsors and supporters and look forward to continuing our association with them for the new season.”
Below are the dates for the World and British championship rounds which are still provisional and subject to change.
FIM World Sidecar championship: April 16 – Magny Cours; May 5 – Schleiz; June 12 – Rijeka tbc; June 19 – Hungaroring tbc; July 7 – Sachsenring; August 8 – Donington Park tbc; September 24 – Le Mans.
Eastern Airways Battle of Britain: April 24/25 – Brands Hatch (BSB); May 21/22 – Brands GP (BMCRC); June 18/19 – Knockhill (BSB); July 9/10 –Snetterton (BMCRC); August 13/14 – Cadwell Park (BRCRC); September 24/25 – Donington Park (BSB); September 24/25 – Silverstone (BSB); TBA a round in Ireland.
Isle of Man TT: Practice week Monday, May 30 – Friday, June 3. Sidecar race one – Saturday, June 4. Sidecar race two – Wednesday, June 8.