Road Racing News

TT 2019: Preview – Part 2 – Locate.Im Sidecar Races

A who’s who of Sidecar racing will embark upon Mountain Course competition this week, which includes the all conquering TT team of recent years the Birchall brothers, Ben and Tom.

Having won seven of the last eight Sidecar TT races, they’ve already established themselves as unquestionably one of the true three wheeling TT greats.

Will they reign supreme again this year? There’s no doubt that they have the undoubted talent plus the machinery in the form of their own teams, Honda powered outfit, to further bulk up their already majestic TT CV.

Anticipated leading challengers to the Mansfield duo include World Championship title rivals, Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes.

Former TT winner Reeves, lead newcomer of TT 2017 Wilkes, who have developed in recent times into unquestionably one of the leading International roads, driver/passenger partnerships, are quietly confident of challenging next month for race wins.

The same notion applies to Manx Mountain Course legend Dave Molyneux, who’s teamed up this year with lead newcomer passenger wise from TT 2018, Harry Payne.

Backed by Carl Cox Motorsport and A&J Groundworks, Molyneux/Payne’s steed for TT 2019, sees them pilot a Yamaha powered LCR (Louis Christian Racing) outfit.

Can it bring Molyneux another TT triumph?, will it prove the machine to take rising star Payne to the podium finishers circle? Time will tell but discount the duo who mix vast experience, next gen talent, and consistent race winning craft, from contending for standout results at your peril.

Photo by Mark Corlett

Runner up in both of last years Sidecar races, two times TT winner John Holden/local hero Lee Cain could well prove the biggest threat to ending the Birchall’s Mountain Course dominance.

Like their illustrious counterparts Honda powered, they’ve provided in recent times stiff, persistent opposition to the Birchall’s, forcing them to jump up a level, as they did last June, lapping in excess of the 119 mph mark.

More than capable of standing on the top step of the fabled TT rostrum, they form part of a two crew Silicone Barnes Racing Sidecar effort, which also includes the improving Lewis Blackstock/Patrick Rosney.

Like Alan Founds/Jake Lowther and Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley, Blackstock/Rosney represent a new breed of driver/passengers confident of taking the battle to the seasoned event front runners.

It wouldn’t at all be a surprise to see this June, the hungry, ambitious pairing’s of the above mentioned competitors wrap up at minimum rostrum finishes, don’t discount as well former TT champions Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle from rolling back the years and chalking up a few podium placings.

Additional one to watch include Gary Bryan/Phil Hyde, Steve Ramsden/Matty Ramsden, Michael Jackson/Sarah Stokoe, Wayne Lockey/Mark Sayers, John Lowther/Scott Hardie, Beverley father son duo Gary Gibson/Daryl Gibson, Greg Lambert/Ben McBride, Craig Melvin/Stuart Christian, Darren Hope/Lenny Bumfrey and Andy King/Alun Thomas.

Photo by Nick Wheeler

Maria Costello MBE joining forces with Julie Canipa enters the three wheeling TT scene for the first time, whilst added notable entries include the returning Bruce Moore, linking up with son, reigning FSRA British Formula 2 champion Ashley Moore, Alan Schofield/Steve Thomas and Rob Handcock/Ken Edwards.

Leading overseas competitors entered include Estelle Leblond/Frank Claeys, Australia’s Darryl Rayner/Wendy Campbell and Francois Leblond/Marlene Couillard.

Newcomers to watch include sons of TT great Nick Crowe, Ryan Crowe/Callum Crowe, the highly rated Mark Codd/Liam Gordon, and Shropshire’s Kevin Morgan/Steve Morgan.

Overall a truly top, top draw entry for the Sidecar races of TT 2019. Despite the obvious lack of publicity from specific media outlets, the Sidecars popularity with a new generation of TT fans continues to increase.

They provide something different from the norm, mixing specialist engineering, proper old school racing with moments of absolute motorsport brilliance.

3 Wheeling – Words by Stevie Rial