2023 Isle of Man TT Results
Sidecar TT Race Two – Three Laps
With Ben McCook
The Birchalls have scored a second win in the second final Sidecar race of TT 2023 . It was the brothers 14th win and they broke their own lap record from Saturday on the second lap, pushing it out to 120.645mph.
Peter Founds and Jevan Walmsley didn’t give it to them easy though and set their own 120mph lap on the final circuit on their way to another second place. In the 100th anniversary year of the chairs on the island it’s astonishing that two outfits have managed that holy grail lap speed.
The Crowe brothers also set personal bests on the final lap to complete the podium in the fastest ever 3-wheeled race around the Mountain course.
Like Tuesday, it was a grey start to the day, only this time the clouds sat high enough above Snaefell to allow the medical helicopters to fly- so no delays. The throngs of fans eagerly set off early, wearily rubbing sleep from their eyes after a long day in the hedgerows yesterday.
A revised schedule saw the Sidecars bumped up the order to allow last nights solo competitors the chance of some down time after their late evening race, just 14 hours or so before. And after a single warm up lap, the action was underway.
The Birchalls led all the way on the first lap but Founds and Walmsley kept them honest, with the gap never opening up to an insurmountable margin over the opening 37.75 miles. The Crowes were comfortable in 3rd but behind them a great scrap raged between previous winners, Dave Molyneux, Tim Reeves and John Holden.
65 year old Holden was absolutely flying in his final ever race and led the trio. At one stage the 3 legendary drivers circulated together; which made for quite a sight through the like of Ballagarey and Crosby. Unfortunately, Holden would lose a lot of time when his passenger, Maxime Vasseur bruised ribs on lap 2, leaving Reeves a clear run at 4th as Molly and Sayle’s KTM began to drop back.
Holden’s old passenger, Andy Winkle was also competing in his final race. Winkle was in Conrad Harrison’s chair but had been struggling with a rib injury all week. Unfortunately they pulled in on the first lap at Ballaugh and it was a shame to see Winkle’s stellar TT career come to a close with a whimper at the road side.
Back at the front, the Birchalls were pulling the pin on lap 2 and were inside the lap record at every split; a pace that Founds and Walmsley were struggling to deal with despite being inside the 2022 record.
The top 3 were already through Crosby by the time Tim Reeves crossed the line in 4th and it was now an extremely spread out field on the course. Ryan and Callum Crowe ‘s 3rd place enjoyed a 1m7s cushion over the Reeves and Wilkes outfit, with late starting Steve Ramsden in 5th.
As Ben and Tom headed onto their final lap, commentator chris Boyd exclaimed, ‘They’ve done it!’ as they smashed the lap record once again… Founds and Walmsley trailed them by around 14s but must have decided there and then that they weren’t taking things lying down.
The FHO liveried outfit headed off on an amazing lap on which they went toe-to-toe with the Birchalls; a defiant showing to prove that this wasn’t a one-horse race. But it was only just marginally faster than the leader’s and they pulled very little time back- the margin remaining constantly in-and-around 13s right until the flag.
In the end they finished in that order, with Founds and Walmsley left to wonder what might have been if they could have found that kind of pace on lap 2. The Birchalls were imperious though and it could well be the case that they could do a 121mph lap if the pressure was on.
Ryan and Callum Crowe came home in 3rd, miles ahead of ex-world champion, Tim Reeves. But the Crowe boys will be disappointed not to be closer to the leaders, they would have hoped to challenge the Birchall boys at TT 2023. Behind Reeves it was the Ramsden’s in 5th and Gary Bryan 6th.
An emotional John Holden came home in 7th to draw to a close a fantastic career. Holden retires with 2 TT wins to his name both achieved with Andy Winkle in the chair. Like Winkle, he will be a big loss to the SC paddock and will be badly missed on the grid in 12 months time. But he can hang his leathers up a proud man; a major player in the sidecar story at the TT.
Based on today’s evidence the side car TT’s future may be bright despite the retiring heavy weight contenders and a small field of 24 starters. There are young stars coming through and the lap speeds at the front are incredible. There is much talk of incentives to increase the field; perhaps introducing a Cup award for lower budget outfits. It would be nice to see a healthy field strengthen the relevance of a class that has been apart of the TT for a century. Until next year though, that’s a wrap for the Chairs on the Isle of Man.
Alan Founds (Peter’s brother) proposed to his wife live on Manx Radio after the race and did so by producing a lucky lollipop stick from his leathers in place of a ring. She said yes, of course. Only at the TT.
2023 Isle of Man TT Results
Sidecar TT Race Two
Ben Birchall / Tom Birchall – Honda LCR
Peter Founds / Jevan Walmsley – Honda LCR +9.147s
Ryan Crowe / Callum Crowe – Honda LCR +47.632s
Tim Reeves / Mark Wilkes – Yamaha LCR +1min36.317s
Steve Ramsden / Matthew Ramsden – Honda LCR +38.961s
Gary Bryan / Phillip Hyde – Honda Baker +30.981s
John Holden / Maxime Vasseur – Yamaha LCR +52.970s
Greg Lambert / Andrew Haynes – Honda LCR +30.069s
Wayne Hockey / Matthew Rostron – Honda LCR +30.897s
John Saunders / James Saunders – Honda Shelbourne +16.654s
Alan Founds / Colin Smyth – Yamaha LCR +28.260s
Shaun Chandler / Ben Chandler – Honda CES +49.055s
Mike Jackson / Jake Roberts – Suzuki DMR +38.262s
Derek Lynch / Anthony McDonnell – Suzuki DMR +23.677s
Andy King / Andrew Sigsworth – Honda Ireson +51.225s
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