Mansfield Sidecar racers Ben and Tom Birchall rode to a brace of second places in round six of the Easton Airways British Sidecar championship at Brands Hatch at the weekend.
It was a hectic weekend for the Mitchells of Mansfield supported brothers who began their weekend racing on the short Indy circuit where they completed free practice in second place going on to secure pole in qualifying for the start of the first race later in the afternoon.
The 15-lap race was a closely contested affair between the Birchalls and Reeves brothers with both outfits challenging for the lead and at the chequered flag there was just a tenth of a second separating the two outfits, the current world champion taking the win over the former champions.
The remainder of the weekend’s racing was to take place over the longer GP circuit and as they had not raced on the GP track since the layout was altered Ben and Tom took full advantage of the short free practice session on Saturday afternoon to familiarise themselves completing the session in second place.
Ben and Tom began the 10 lap race on Sunday from a front row grid position and shot away to a fine start getting the hole shot into Paddock Hill Bend. But their lead was short lived as the Reeves brothers passed them on the run towards Druids. The two outfits once again engaged in a constant battle for the lead which slowed the pace somewhat and allowed the pursuing riders to catch up. With three outfits all fighting for the same stretch of tarmac at Surtees there was contact between them and this allowed Reeves to make a break. But Ben held his line and completed the race in second place once again.
“I am relived that we were able to complete the second race. I was content to sit behind the leaders for a couple of laps but after the clash at Surtees we lost contact and it was too late in the race to catch them again. The back end was moving around so I was a bit cautious and on inspection after the race we discovered we had a slow puncture in the rear tyre. We were lucky to finish in second place and if the race had gone much longer we would have perhaps had to pull in.
“I am really pleased to have completed the two races and after the problems we had in the first round at this circuit I am delighted we have managed to put it behind us. The bike ran really well, the Suzuki engine is very strong and this allowed us to match the pace of the winners on their local track.”
The Birchall brothers now turn their attention back to the world championship and head to Assen in Holland for the next round on August 4. After recording a win at Assen and then another at Sachsenring in the previous two rounds they will be looking to make it three in a row at Assen this time and add to their points tally to maintain their third place in the rider standings and edge closer to the second place spot.
Pic credit Davis Yeomans