Mansfield brothers Ben and Tom Birchall took their running total of race wins to six when they won both races in the penultimate round of the FIM World Sidecar championship at Schleiz in Germany at the weekend also setting yet another lap record and moving to second in the overall rider standings.
The Mitchells of Mansfield supported brothers once again dominated free practice and qualifying to set pole for the start of Saturday’s Sprint race.
As the lights went out Ben and Tom shot off to establish the lead and were never troubled throughout the 11-lap affair taking the chequered flag for their fifth win in a row plus set a new lap record. When the points were added up Ben and Tom were just one point away from taking second place in the rider standings and a good result in the Gold race would see them achieve their goal.
The 22-lap Gold race took place on Sunday with Ben and Tom setting off from pole position. But it was Steinhausen/Hawes that got the hole shot swiftly followed by the Birchalls. But their race lead was short-lived as Ben powered the LCR Suzuki past at the end of the lap. Ben and Tom soon began to pull away and as the race progressed Steinhausen was caught and passed by Paivarinta although they were not in a position to catch the flying Birchalls who crossed the finish line with a hefty advantage of some 19 seconds, also setting another lap record beating the one set in the Sprint race the day before.
Ben said: “We are thrilled to have got the double victory at Schleiz, its a circuit we both like very much; we usually do well there and we are really pleased to have also set a new lap record. There is only one race left and all we can do is to go out there and win it, the rest is down to Paivarinta; if he finishes the race then the championship will go to him. What will be will be! But we are looking forward to Le Mans, we have a good set up and the LCR Suzuki is absolutely flying so it all bodes well for another good result.”
There is just one more round of the championship remaining and the Birchalls have moved up into second place in the overall rider standings. With 25 points still up for grabs it is not impossible for them to become 2013 World Sidecar Champions but it would need a non finish from Paivarinta/Hanni for them to achieve this as they have a 20 point advantage over Ben and Tom.
The final round is at Le Mans in France on September 21 but prior to that Ben and Tom will be racing closer to home at Donington Park this weekend, September 6-8 when they will be contesting a round of the Eastern Airways British Sidecar championship. there are two races, one on Saturday at 5.40pm and the second on Sunday at 5.30pm.