The re started Locate.im Sidecar race produced a mix of thrilling three wheel racing of the highest order, moments of Mountain Course history and a string of incredible laps from a selection of the world’s finest drivers/passengers.
Headed at Glen Helen in the original start of the race by John Holden/Lee Cain, it was roles reversal in the re start as the Birchall brothers Ben & Tom surged into a race lead, leading Holden/Cain by just over two seconds.
From here the formidable IEG (International Energy Group) backed crew section by section, steadily increased their advantage out front which by the Bungalow grew to almost ten seconds.
Come the completion of lap 1, it was confirmed that the Birchall’s had broken their own existing lap record, having lapped the fabled Mountain Course from a standing start at 117.502 mph.
Silicone Engineering Racing’s John Holden/Lee Cain in second place were 13.19 behind their fellow Honda powered competitors.
Photo by Nick Wheeler
Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes occupied third whilst Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley held a good fourth in front of Alan Founds/Jake Lowther.
Whilst Manx TT legends Dave Molyneux/Dan Sayle holding throughout lap 1 a top six placing, retired at the completion of the lap.
The Birchall’s relentless rapid pace continued on lap 2 growing their race lead to plus 16 seconds at Glen Helen, then up to over 20 seconds at Ramsey Hairpin.
Again on lap record breaking pace, what lap time would they clock across the start line at the completion of lap 2?
Photo by Jim Gibson
The answer another new lap record, this time a quite stunning lap speed of 118.694 mph, the first time in TT history that a driver/passenger combination has lapped the Mountain Course at over the 118 mph mark, a truly groundbreaking moment not only the Birchall’s but also for Sidecar racing in general.
John Holden/Lee Cain in second just over 26.1 seconds behind the Birchall’s, were also showing truly top draw form, lapping at 117.37 mph which made passenger Cain, the fastest Manx Sidecar TT passenger.
Carl Cox Motorsport’s Reeves/Wilkes remained third, whilst Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley remained in an excellent fourth place.
Easing off their pace but only ever so slightly! Ben Birchall/Tom Birchall did all what they had to do on the third and final lap to take their tally of TT successes to seven.
Crossing the finish line just over 47 seconds clear of John Holden/Lee Cain, the Mansfield duo firmly cemented their reputation as been amongst the true TT greats of the modern era.
Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes concluded the rostrum finishers as passenger Wilkes became the newest TT rostrum finisher.
Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley finished fourth, Alan Founds/Jake Lowther battled their way back up to fifth as Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle banked a solid sixth place finish.
Rounding out the top ten finishers were Darren Hope/Leonard Bumfrey, Gary Gibson/Daryl Gibson, Gary Bryan/Phil Hyde and Greg Lambert/Julie Canipa.
1 Ben Birchall/Tom Birchall
2 John Holden/Lee Cain
3 Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes
4 Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley
5 Alan Founds/Jake Lowther
6 Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle
7 Darren Hope/Leonard Bumfrey
8 Gary Gibson/Daryl Gibson
9 Gary Bryan/Phil Hyde
10 Greg Lambert/Julie Canipa
11 Gordon Shand/Frank Claeys
12 Steve Ramsden/Matty Ramsden
13 Mike Roscher/Shaun Parker
14 Andy King/Alun Thomas
15 Craig Melvin/Stuart Christian
16 John Saunders/James Saunders
17 Michael Grabmuller/Sebastien Lavorel
18 Gary Knight/Daniel Evanson
19 Mike Cookson/William Moralee
20 Francois Leblond/Marlene Couillard
21 Kevin Thornton/Dave Dean
22 Darryl Rayner/Wendy Campbell
23 John Shipley/Andrew Haynes
24 Mark Saunders/Karl Schofield
25 Paul Leglise/Ben McBride
Words by Stevie Rial