Ben Birchall has compared scoring a podium finish at the 2012 Isle of Man TT fuelled by Monster Energy to winning the Sidecar World Championship.
Ben and brother Tom took second place in Saturday’s first Sure Sidecar race, finishing second to Dave Molyneux and Patrick Farrance at the end of the demanding 3-lap contest.
“Getting on the podium here at the TT is right up there with winning the world championship although they are two completely different disciplines. But this is what we came here for and what we have been dreaming of ever since we were a couple of kids messing around on holiday!”
Just days after suffering a crash in practice, the Birchall brothers, from Mansfield, were back to full fitness for Saturday’s race. Riding for the Cofain by Klaffi team, they crashed at Brandywell on Monday and spent the night in Noble’s hospital. They were discharged the following morning after escaping just with some heavy bruising, but the outfit was not quite so lucky and the team spent most of the night and the following day making repairs in order to get the boys back on track.
“We were really lucky that we didn’t hit anything solid in the crash which was caused by some handling issues. The boys worked really hard to get the outfit fixed up and got us out on Thursday where we did two fast laps and felt great.”
The Birchalls began Saturday’s race from 5th, but by the time they reached the first check point at Glen Helen they were into 2nd, where they remained for the remainder of the race. They were the fastest competitors through the Sulby speed trap on each lap, their fastest time registering as 142.2mph, and they posted a personal best average speed around the 37.73-mile course at the end of the first lap at 111.966mph. Lap two saw this bettered once again to 112.136mph and the final lap they recorded 112.979mph as they sped towards the chequered flag to pick up their best result at the TT races to date.
“After what we have been through over the past week it feels fantastic to be up on the podium. We can’t give enough thanks to Klaus and the team. From the word go, since he asked us to ride for him, its all just been perfect. Even when I gave him the worst baptism of fire possible with the crash it was still not a problem for him and the team.”
“Klaffi just got his head down and fixed everything. Adolf (Hanni) came straight off the plane, put his overalls on and got stuck in. We have to give a massive thanks to Cofain, Manx Gas and Andy Mitchell who has been here all week, Andy Faragher plus everyone who has helped put us and the bike back together after our off. I think we have gone someway to repaying them with this result.”
The Birchalls are due to be back in action on Wednesday afternoon in the second Sure Sidecar race.