Road Racing News leading Sidecar roads team of 2018 award goes to, the all conquering Birchall brothers, Ben Birchall/Tom Birchall.
Yes they’ve only competed in just one roads event in 2018, but one cannot deny their historic, ground breaking, record breaking achievements within their latest TT Races campaign.
Steadily increasing their pace during practice week, race week at TT 2018 provided nothing but incredible feats for the IEG backed duo.
The opening Locate.im Sidecar encounter would see the Mansfield racers claim in dominant style, a seventh TT victory.
Along the way setting a new outright lap record, lapping at a blistering 118.694 mph, their 7th TT success saw them finish near 50 seconds clear of nearest challengers John Holden/Lee Cain.
Onto ‘Championship Day’ and the IEG backed, Honda powered duo continued their iron grip on three wheeling Mountain Course competition.
Right from the start of the second three lap Locate.im Sidecar race, you could sense something special could be on the horizon.
Quickly into the groove, the Birchalls took into what would prove a memorable lap two, a slender race lead of just under 1.9 seconds, over tenacious lead pursuers Holden/Cain.
First timing points on lap two at Glen Helen and Ballaugh Bridge, provided a strong indication that a new outright lap record was on the horizon, would it be a first lap of the Mountain Course by a Sidecar team, to top the 119 mph mark?
The answer was an emphatic yes, as the Birchalls crossed the line at the end of lap two, recording a new outright lap record, first ever 119 mph plus lap, lapping at an astonishing 119.250 mph.
From here the hugely respected, already legendary driver/passenger pairing kept up a consistent, rapid pace to claim an eighth TT victory, their fifth successive Mountain Course triumph.
Normally calm, cool, collected, you could tell how much the various iconic feats meant to them in the post race press conference.
Already established amongst the all time Sidecar greats of the TT Races, it’s going to take performances of another worldly quality to dethrone their mantle as ‘Top Dogs’ at TT 2019.
Having surpassed the 116, 117, 118 and now 119 mph lap marks, how long will it be till they close in the 120 mph lap mark? Expect if all the stars align, this to potentially happen over the next few years.
Words by Stevie Rial