Beginning two hours behind schedule, the second Sure Sidecar encounter of TT 2017 provided a mix of drama, rising stars moving up a level and the usual suspects in fine fettle.
There was a slight surprise at Glen Helen on lap 1, as John Holden/Lee Cain headed the Birchall’s by just over a second.
Dave Molyneux/Dan Sayle occupied third, but soon called time on their race at Sulby Cross Roads, this promoted by Ramsey Hairpin, Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes into third place.
Out front Holden/Cain’s lead concluded at Ramsey, as the all conquering Birchall’s surged into race lead.
From here the IEG (International Energy Group) backed duo, steadily increased their advantage, to ultimately by the end of the opening lap, leading their Silicone Engineering Racing counterparts by 7.716, with Reeves/impressive newcomer passenger Wilkes, just 0.338 back.
The penultimate Sidecar lap of TT 2017, would see the Birchall’s ease out by the Bungalow, a lead in excess of 17 seconds.
Holden/Cain second, had been overtaken on time at Glen Helen by Reeves/Wilkes, who soon struck problems, forcing them to retire at Lambfell.
This elevated rising stars Lewis Blackstock/Patrick Rosney up to third, as former TT winners Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle held fourth place.
At the end of lap 2, the Birchall’s held a lead of plus 20 seconds over Holden/Cain, Blackstock/Rosney and Harrison/Winkle, where closely matched in the battle for the final spot on the podium.
Photo by Mark Corlett
Another high profile retirement on lap 2, came in the form of Alan Founds/Jake Lowther retiring at Quarter Bridge.
Underlining their status as the foremost Sidecar driver/passenger combination of their generation, lap 3 of the second Sure Sidecar encounter, was a quite memorable one for Ben Birchall/Tom Birchall.
I state memorable cause, you could sense the appreciation amongst the large crowd round the Mountain Course, for the extremely talented Mansfield based duo.
Crossing the line at the finalisation of the last lap, they wrapped up not only a sixth TT victory, but also a fifth Sidecar TT success in three years, a quite sensational record.
John Holden/Lee Cain in second, 26.677 behind, had nothing but admiration for their fellow competitors.
It’s not been a bad fortnight for the Silicone Engineering Racing team, which mixed vast experience with one of the Isle of Man’s fastest up and coming Sidecar stars.
Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle in third place, where absolutely delighted to end their TT 2017 campaign, with a podium finish.
You can apply the same notion to fourth place finishers Lewis Blackstock/Patrick Rosney, who although missing out on a podium, still produced a very impressive performance.
Completing the top ten finishers was Karl Bennett/Maxime Vasseur, Tony Baker/Fiona Baker Holden, Robert Handcock/Ken Edwards, Greg Lambert/Julie Canipa, Wayne Lockey/Mark Sayers and Gary Knight/Daniel Evanson.
In my opinion today, we where watching today the current outstanding individuals, definitely most dominant at the TT Races at present, the Birchall brothers.
Now six times TT winners, they have it all around the Mountain Course; the talent, the ambition, the determination, the talent, plus they are true sportsman.
You can tell what it means to them, when they secure a TT victory, showcased today as the Mansfield produced yet another moment of TT history.
TT 2017 – Sure Sidecar Race 2 Results – full results to follow:
1 Ben Birchall/Tom Birchall
2 John Holden/Lee Cain
3 Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle
4 Lewis Blackstock/Patrick Rosney
5 Karl Bennett/Maxime Vasseur
6 Tony Baker/Fiona Baker Holden
7 Robert Handcock/Ken Edwards
8 Greg Lambert/Julie Canipa
9 Wayne Lockey/Mark Sayers
10 Gary Knight/Daniel Evanson
11 Mick Alton/Chrissie Clancy
12 Steve Ramsden/Matty Ramsden
13 Mike Roscher/Ben Hughes
14 John Saunders/Frank Claeys
15 Gary Gibson/Daryl Gibson
16 Francois Leblond/Bruno Picquoin
17 Dave Wallis/Scott Hardie
18 Craig Melvin/Stuart Christian
19 Franck Barbier/Goulven Crochemore
20 Nicholas Dukes/William Moralee
21 Kevin Thornton/Dave Dean
22 Nigel Smith/Chris McGahan
23 Mark Saunders/Karl Schofield
24 Chris Lawrance/Richard Lawrance
25 Debbie Baron/Alun Thomas
Words by Stevie Rial