Ben & Tom Birchall win second Formula Two Sidecar race at 2017 IoM TT

Ben and Tom Birchall have won the second Sure Formula Two Sidecar race at the 2017 Isle of Man TT Races, taking victory by 26.5s from John Holden/Lee Cain in a repeat result of the opening race on Monday

2017 IoM TT - Formula Two Sidecar Race 2
2017 IoM TT – Formula Two Sidecar Race 2

The Birchalls hit the front for the first time on the run from Glen Helen to Ballaugh on lap one and were never challenged again as they took their sixth TT victory. Holden took his 17th podium in second with Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle, in their first TT together, took the final podium place.

The crews were warned of a hint of dampness on the exit of Ginger Hall, Ramsey Hairpin, Hillberry and Governor’s Dip and the race got underway at 1.15pm with Holden/Cain leading through Glen Helen on the opening lap.

They held a slender 0.9s advantage over the Birchalls with Dave Molyneux/Dan Sayle in third and Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes, Alan Founds/Jake Lowther and Lewis Blackstock/Patrick Rosney completing the top six.

Ben & Tom Birchall on their way to their second win of the weekend
Ben & Tom Birchall on their way to their second win of the weekend

Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley, sixth in the first race, were early retirements at Quarter Bridge, and Molyneux/Sayle followed them at Sulby Crossroads but by Ramsey Hairpin, the Birchalls had taken over the lead by 1.4s from Holden/Cain. Molyneux’s retirement promoted Reeves/Wilkes into third although they were 7s down on Holden.

The Birchalls surged over the Mountain and an opening lap of 115.567mph saw their lead increase considerably to 7.9s and it was Reeves/Wilkes who were now in second with Holden/Cain a further 1.2s adrift. Founds/Lowther were in fourth with Blackstock/Rosney going great guns in fifth.

At the head of the field, the Birchalls extended their lead to 13.5s but Holden/Cain were now back up to second as Reeves/Wilkes stopped at Glen Helen briefly before getting back into the race. Founds/Lowther were also in trouble and they retired at Quarter Bridge, which saw Blackstock/Rosney move up to fourth.

Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle, Ben/Tom Birchall, and John Holden/Lee Cain
Ben/Tom Birchall, and John Holden/Lee Cain

By Ramsey second time around, the Birchalls had added another four seconds to their lead and there were further changes at the top of the leaderboard as Reeves/Wilkes retired at Lambfell. That put Blackstock/Rosney up into a brilliant third with the top six now completed by Steve and Matty Ramsden, Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle and Allan Schofield/Steve Thomas.

A second lap of 116.423mph meant the Birchalls went into the third and final lap with a healthy 20s lead over Holden/Cain with Blackstock/Rosney maintaining their third position courtesy of their maiden 110mph+ lap around the Mountain Course at 110.599mph.

There were to be no changes in the front two over the final 37.73-miles but Blackstock/Rosney slowed and that allowed Harrison/Winkle to take third, the former having to settle for fourth.

Ben & Tom Birchall
Ben & Tom Birchall

Karl Bennett/Maxime Vasseur came through for fifth but there was disappointment for the French female pairing of Estelle Leblond/Melanie Farrier who, after lapping at 109.394mph, were forced to retire from sixth on the final lap. Tony Baker/Fiona Baker-Holden, Rob Handcock/Ken Edwards, Greg Lambert/Julie Canipa, Wayne Lockey/Mark Sayers and Gary Knight/Dan Evanson completed the top ten.

There was disappointment for Kent’s Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes at the Isle of Man TT on Friday when the Klaffi Honda pairing were forced to retire from the second Formula Two Sidecar race.

Having taken fifth place in the opening three-lap race earlier in the week, the duo were more than hopeful of a podium position especially after another lap of practice had seen them lap at close to 115mph.

Tim Reeves

“For the first time probably since I won in 2013, I felt like I was in with a really good chance of winning today and was more than satisfied with how the race started. We’d had a good practice lap on Wednesday and were getting quicker and quicker during the race with my signals at Ballacraine timing me only six seconds behind Ben and Tom. The bike started to cut out though through the Glen Helen section so we had to stop and check everything before we could get going again. On the climb out of Glen Helen up to Sarah’s it cut out again so we had little option other than to retire and watch the race. When the race was finished, the engine fired up straightaway and we were able to drive back to the Grandstand so it’s a real mystery as to what went wrong. It’s a real shame as I felt really comfortable and the bike was flying whilst Mark did an excellent job and more than proved he’s as good a passenger as anyone. There are plenty of positives to take away so we’ll come back next year and have another go.”

Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes
Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes
2017 Sure Sidecar TT  – Race 2
  1. Ben Birchall / Tom Birchall LCR / IEG Racing 58:40.090 115.760 Silver
  2. John Holden / Lee Cain Honda / Silicone Engineering/Barnes Racing 59:06.688 114.891 Silver
  3. Conrad Harrison / Andrew Winkle Honda / Printing Roller Services 01:01:43.005 110.041 Silver
  4. Lewis Blackstock / Patrick Rosney Suzuki / Dave Holden Racing 01:01:50.080 109.832 Bronze
  5. Karl Bennett / Maxime Vasseur Suzuki / Bennett Racing 01:02:21.773 108.901 Bronze
  6. Tony Baker / Fiona Baker-Holden Suzuki / Silicone Engineering and Carl Cox Motorsport 01:02:32.122 108.601 Bronze
  7. Robert Handcock / Ken Edwards Baker / Maddockhire/Portable Energy 01:02:38.524 108.416 Bronze
  8. Gregory Lambert / Julie Canipa Honda / John Yates Golden Fleece York/Biker Construc 01:02:39.965 108.374 Bronze
  9. Wayne Lockey / Mark Sayers Ireson Honda / Real Racing 01:02:46.702 108.181 Bronze
  10. Gary Knight / Daniel Evanson Green Ant / Redline Superbikes with Dialled-in Racing 01:02:47.422 108.160 Bronze
  11. Mick Alton / Chrissie Clancy LCR Suzuki / J & C Contracting 01:02:50.882 108.061 Bronze
  12. Steve Ramsden / Matty Ramsden LCR / Ramsden Racing 01:03:01.764 107.750 Bronze
  13. Mike Roscher / Ben Hughes LCR Suzuki / Roscher Racing by 01:04:08.603 105.878 Bronze
  14. John Saunders / Frank Claeys Shelbourne / Stapletons Tyre Services 01:04:18.372 105.610 Bronze
  15. Gary Gibson* / Daryl Gibson* Suzuki / GDM Logistics 01:05:19.123 103.973
  16. Francois Leblond / Bruno Picquoin Shelbourne Suzuki / Racing Side 01:05:30.938 103.661
  17. Dave Wallis / Scott Hardie* Suzuki / Amber Valley Petpals 01:06:02.338 102.839
  18. Craig Melvin / Stuart Christian Suzuki / Artisan Real Estate Investors / JKR Ltd 01:06:28.704 102.159
  19. Franck Barbier / Goulven Crochemore* SGR Suzuki / ASM Armagnac 01:06:35.425 101.988
Ben & Tom Birchall
Ben & Tom Birchall
2017 Sure Sidecar TT  – Overall standings
  1. Birchall/Birchall 50
  2. Holden/Cain 40
  3. Harrison/Winkle 25
  4. Baker/Baker-Holden 18
  5. Bennett/Vasseur 18
  6. Molyneux/Sayle 16
  7. Founds/Lowther 13
  8. Lockey/Sayers 13
  9. Blackstock/Rosney 13
  10. Handcock/Edwards 12
  11. Reeves/Farrance 11
  12. Founds/Walmsley 10
  13. Lambert/Canipa 10
  14. Alton/Clancy 9
  15. Knight/Evanson 6
  16. Leblond/Farnier 5
  17. Ramsden/Ramsden 4
  18. Roscher/Hughes 3
  19. Saunders/Claeys 2
  20. Schofield/Thomas 1
  21. Gibson/Gibson 1