With wet weather looming, the opening Sure Sidecar encounter of TT 2017, got underway at 5 past 3, with the Birchall brothers, holding the number one plate for the first time, leading the 40 something entry away.
The Birchall’s stormed into an early lead of in excess of three seconds at Glen Helen, with John Holden/Lee Cain leading the challenge to the Mansfield based duo.
Dave Molyneux/Dan Sayle slotted into third place, one second behind the Silicone Engineering Racing crew, Brian Gray Powerbiking backed Alan Founds/Jake Lowther where also in close proximity.
Ballaugh Bridge saw the Birchall’s increase their advantage to 4.6 seconds, this was extended to 8.5 at Ramsey Hairpin.
Photo by Mark Corlett
By the end of lap 1, the advantage moved out to 12.124, over Holden and Cain, with Molyneux and Sayle in third holding off the attentions of rising stars Founds/Lowther.
The top six was finalised by Tim Reeves and his newcomer passenger Mark Wilkes, Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley.
Lap saw the Birchall brothers create a piece of not only TT history, but also modern day sporting history, setting the first lap speed in excess of 117 mph, set by a Sidecar around the Mountain Course
Their magnificent new lap record, was a blistering lap speed of 117.119 mph.
John Holden/Lee Cain in second place, where giving it everything, to hunt down their on top form competitors, the gap though at the completion of lap 2, stood at a substantial 24 seconds.
Photo by Nick Wheeler
Dave Molyneux/Dan Sayle in third, where coming under increasing pressure from Alan Founds/Jake Lowther. Just 1.773 separated the two outfits, with corresponding about’s of TT experience.
Having broke their previous lap record, the Birchall’s kept up a solid, accomplished and world class pace on the third and final lap, to maintain a firm grip on the race.
Over 26 seconds clear at Cronk Ny Mona, they where within touching distance of a fifth TT victory.
This 100 percent proved the case, as they sealed a fifth TT success, further cementing their position as been without a doubt the current Sidecar driver/passenger team to beat at the TT Races.
John Holden/Lee Cain who enjoyed a first TT podium finish, finished second, the final spot on the podium was recorded by Dave Molyneux and Dan Sayle, who on lap 3, was suffering from a rib injury.
Despite this handicap, the Yamaha powered Manx legends held off Alan Founds/Jake Lowther, to secure their 30th and 15th TT podium finishes, respectively.
Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes was fifth, Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley where sixth, whilst former TT winners Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle had a productive race, finishing seventh.
Photo by Rod Neill
Finalising the top ten finishers was Tony Baker/Fiona Baker Holden, Karl Bennett/Maxime Vasseur and Wayne Lockey/Mark Sayers.
What can you say about Ben Birchall/Tom Birchall, they have to now be considered amongst the greatest Sidecar teams, to have graced the TT.
They will be aiming on Friday, to make it six wins on the Mountain Course, which has already proved a quite prodigious hunting ground for them.
TT 2017: Sure Sidecar Race 1 Results:
1 Ben Birchall/Tom Birchall
2 John Holden/Lee Cain
3 Dave Molyneux/Dan Sayle
4 Alan Founds/Jake Lowther
5 Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes
6 Peter Founds/Jevan Walmsley
7 Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle
8 Tony Baker/Fiona Baker Holden
9 Karl Bennett/Maxime Vasseur
10 Wayne Lockey/Mark Sayers
11 Estelle Leblond/Melanie Farnier
12 Mick Alton/Chrissie Clancy
13 Robert Handcock/Ken Edwards
14 Greg Lambert/Julie Canipa
15 Allan Schofield/Steve Thomas
16 Darren Hope/Shaun Parker
17 Gordon Shand/Philip Hyde
18 John Saunders/Frank Claeys
19 Mike Roscher/Ben Hughes
20 Francois Leblond/Bruno Picquoin
21 Gary Gibson/Daryl Gibson
22 Howard Baker/Mike Killingsworth
23 Dave Wallis/Scott Hardie
24 Roy Tansley/Darren Prentis
25 Kevin Thornton/Dave Dean
26 Lewis Blackstock/Patrick Rosney
27 Nigel Smith/Chris McGahan
28 Franck Barbier/Goulven Crochemore
29 John Shipley/Dicky Gale
Words by Stevie Rial