After the disappointment of a non finish to Saturday's first sidecar race at the Isle of Man TT festival and a lot of problems during practice Mansfield brothers Ben and Tom Birchall rode a perfect race to take a resounding win in the second encounter on Friday.
Although the LCR Honda let go in the first race the Birchall brothers were delighted to find they had taken the lap record registering 116.798mph on the second lap. Unfortunately the unforgiving 37.73 mile mountain roads course took its toll on the final lap when they were forced to retire at Sulby crossroads.
Friday's race was delayed by four hours when the overnight mist took its time to clear sufficiently but once they finally got under orders the Mitchell's of Mansfield pairing set off from second place and dropped back to third at the first check point of Glen Helen. Once Ben had seen his board telling him he was down to third he upped the anti and caught and passed John Holden on time at the Bungalow and started to reel in Dave Molyneux being less than a second away from him at the end of the lap.
By the time the Birchalls hit the beam at Glen Helen on lap two they were ahead and proceeded to extend their lead to over six seconds at the end of lap two. When Molyneux retired Ben and Tom were in the clear and stretched their lead to 29.9 seconds over John Holden who had been promoted to second place. As they made the mountain climb the lead was over 34s and they crossed the finish line for the win an amazing 38.784 seconds ahead on Holden to secure their career fourth TT win.
Ben commented: "We were down a bit at the end of the first lap as I hadn't quite got my act together. I could see that the time was coming down and after what happened on Saturday I needed to try and look after the engine as best I could. The engine was brilliant and it was no detriment to our engine builder what happened it was just a component failure. It is still in your head that the engine could fail and I tried to put it out of my head but it still bothered me a little bit so I just looked to try and bring it back a bit slower, although I had a little bit left if I needed it.
Luckily it came home and I am just so thrilled and honoured to win another TT. Tom has done a brilliant job and the team has worked really hard. It's been non stop all week and it's been tough but that's what the TT is about. We had a great four years with Klaus and we have managed to get on the top step again under our own steam and we are so grateful to our sponsors who were behind us. I knew it would be a hot pace.
I kept getting a glimpse of Moly and when I got my head in gear I pulled him in. Actually I nearly ran into the back of him as I think he must have had a problem, I think his engine cut out or he missed a gear and we touched. I think we were both flat out in fifth or sixth gear, it was certainly not intentional, I had nowhere to go.
Once we got well ahead it became quite tricky as your mind starts to wander and you try not to rev it too hard or not to go too slow, but it was great just to be leading the TT and so comfy with it and enjoying it so much. What a fantastic place and at the end of the week we are going home in first place so we are thrilled to bits.
"We would like to pass on our condolences to the families of Ian Bell and Dwight Beare at such a sad time."
Ben and Tom return to their world championship challenge with a visit to Rijeka in Croatia on June 18/19 where they currently hold the lead in the F2 Sidecar World Trophy class.