Birchalls on form in Sure Sidecar TT Race 2
Ben and Tom Birchall took their fourth career TT win on Friday with victory in the second Sure Sidecar race at the 2016 Isle of Man TT Races, fuelled by Monster Energy.
The IEG Racing duo were locked in battle with Dave Molyneux/Daniel Sayle for the first lap but when they retired, they had a comfortable lead and eventually took the win by 38.7s from John Holden/Andy Winkle with Tim Reeves/Patrick Farrance taking the final podium spot.
Delayed by over three hours due to sea mist, the race finally got underway at 1.30pm and it was Molyneux/Sayle who led at Glen Helen on the first lap but only by a tenth of a second from Holden/Winkle with the Birchalls only a further second back. By Ramsey, the gap was half a second but it was now Holden who was leading with Birchall still only a second further adrift in third.
However, it was all change again at the Grandstand as Molyneux retook the lead, his advantage over the Birchalls 0.9s as Holden slipped back to third, now almost four seconds back in third. Reeves/Farrance slotted into fourth.
Second time around at Glen Helen and there was another change at the top of the leaderboard as the Birchalls grabbed the lead for the first time. They were now half a second ahead of Molyneux/Sayle with Holden/Winkle still well in contention in third, just two seconds behind.
However, as the lap unfolded, the Birchalls began to put the hammer down and by Ramsey Hairpin, they’d stretched the gap to 4.5s. And with a second lap speed of 116.615mph, their lead had grown further still, now standing at 6.2s as they started their third and final lap.
Holden/Winkle were still in third but now 11.7s behind Molyneux and seemingly out of touch whilst Reeves/Farrance remained comfortable in fourth. Founds/Walmsley who were running in sixth place pulled in to retire just after passing the start and finish.
There was more drama though at the head of the field as Molyneux/Sayle failed to make it Glen Helen on the final lap, retiring at Ballig Bridge. That made it a lot more comfortable for the Birchalls at the front and their advantage over Holden/Winkle now soared to 21.7s with Reeves/Farrance promoted up the order to third.
The Birchalls now had full control of the race with a 28s lead at Ramsey Hairpin and they were able to successfully bring the outfit up and down the Mountain to clinch their fourth win.
Holden/Winkle were secure in second and with the runners-up spot, they took the overall Sidecar Championship with Reeves/Farrance salvaging their TT race week with another podium.
Karl Bennett/Lee Cain were another crew to make amends for a first race retirement with the local crew taking fourth with Matt Dix/Shaun Parker also having a career best finish in fifth.
Steve and Matty Ramsden ended their successful fortnight with sixth as Alan Founds/Aki Aalto, Gary Bryan/Jamie Winn, Tony Baker and Fiona Baker-Milligan and Gordon Shand/Phil Hyde completed the top ten, Baker-Milligan consolidating her tag as the fastest-ever female passenger with more 110mph+ laps.