Ben and Tom Birchall, podium finishers at the 2012 Isle of Man TT fuelled by Monster Energy, have moved up to 2nd place in the FIM Sidecar World Championship with two rounds to go.
The brothers secured two 3rd places at last weekend’s round, held at Schleiz in Germany, to move firmly into contention for the title.
The Mitchells of Mansfield-supported pair secured pole position ahead of current World Champions Pekka Paivarinta and Adolf Hanni for the start of the first race, an 11-lap sprint.
However, qualifying did not go completely smoothly because on the very last lap Ben encountered engine problems with the LCR Yamaha resulting in some hurried activity to switch to the spare engine in time for the race.
Two hours later the Birchalls took their place at the head of the grid, but the weather had taken a change for the worse and they were greeted with a wet track and pouring rain.
Undeterred, the pair mixed it with the front runners throughout the race to secure a strong 3rd, and 20 championship points, at the chequered flag.
On Sunday the rain clouds had gone and sun was shining as the riders took their places on the starting gird for the 22-lap Gold race.
The Birchalls managed to avoid an incident involving two outfits at the first corner and set off in hot pursuit of the race leaders Paivarinta and Hanni. During the latter stages the Birchall brothers were caught and passed by Markus Schlosser and Thomas Hofer, but held station to once again take the chequered flag in 3rd and pick up another 20 points, taking their total haul for the weekend to 40 and the overall total to 114.
“Considering we were using the spare engine I am happy with two 3rd places this weekend.”
“I have to thank our crew who have worked so hard to keep us on track plus all our sponsors for their continued support.”
The brothers move to joint 2nd in the championship alongside Jorge Steinhausen and Greg Cluze, and just six points away from the championship leaders.
Oschersleben in Germany plays host to the penultimate round of the series next month and, once again, there are two races to contest. With 50 points available at this round there is plenty to race for and Birchall Racing will be intent on snatching as many points as possible in order to move into contention for the championship lead.