Ben and Tom Birchall powered their Mitchells of Mansfield supported LCR Yamaha to a winning double at Snetterton in round four of the Eastern Airways F1 Sidecar British championship at the recently refurbished Norfolk circuit over the weekend. However they were forced to retire from the final race of the weekend because of a gear change problem.
Qualifying was reduced to one session as final qualifying was abandoned due to heavy rain. But Ben and Tom completed the dry first session in second place and thus began the opening race from a front row grid position on Saturday.
The Mansfield based brothers scored a lights to flag victory in the first of three races, crossing the finish line with a seven second advantage over Reeves/Cluze to pick up the maximum 25 points and set a new lap record for the Snetterton 300 course of 1m 56.164s – 92.008mph.
On Sunday the Birchall brothers began race two from pole position and once again dominated proceedings. They got the hole shot into turn one and never looked back, gradually extending their advantage to 14.6 seconds over the second placed outfit. Easing off on the final lap the Birchalls cruised home for their second win of the weekend crossing the finish line some 11 seconds ahead of Reeves/Cluze.
The final race of the day was a non event for Ben and Tom. Once again they began the race from pole position but this time they were slow to get away and rounded turn one in fourth place. They dropped to fifth at the end of the first lap although they fought back to regain their fourth place one lap later. Just as they were sizing up Lovelock/Lawrence for third they dropped back and entered the pits at the end of lap four, their race over.
“We took two convincing wins and were really enjoying our weekend,” said Ben. “But as we went out on the warm-up lap for the final race I felt there was a problem with the gearing. So we just eased our way into the race to see if it would clear. But by lap four the gear change packed up altogether and we were stuck in top gear unable to continue. But despite the non finish we did enjoy the weekend and would like to convey a massive thank you to our sponsors, Mitchells of Mansfield, John Lawson, Janez Remse and Louis Christian for getting us up and running so quickly after our accident in Germany. The bike is perfect and both Tom and I are on form and looking forward to the next round of the world championship at Sachsenring next weekend.”
As Ben commented, the team now travel directly to Germany to take part in round three of the FIM World Sidecar championship to be held as a part of the support package to MotoGP at Sachsenring on Sunday.