Image: Ben and Tom Birchall at Ballaugh Bridge during qualifying for TT 2019. Photo RP Watkinson
"There's a few pints coming our way tonight, I tell you" - Tom Birchall
There was drama even before the Locate.im Sidecar TT Race 2 got underway on Thursday’s packed schedule as newcomer sensations Ryan and Callum Crowe were forced to withdraw due to a fire on their machine minutes before the start.
The Birchall brothers, Ben (driver) and Tom, got the tap on the shoulder at 14:00 t take the plunge down Bray Hill for the first time in the shortened two lap race.
John Holden and Lee Cain had unfinished business to attend to from Monday’s opening sidecar race, and by Glen Helen the gap between the two leading outfits had grown by only 1.06 seconds.
Both of the Team Founds sidecars, starting at number four and five, had overhauled Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes on time at Glen Helen and as more bikes broke the timing barrier Reeves’s position looked more perilous sliding down to seventh as Black stock & Rosney and Molyneux & Payne also went past them on time.
Alan Founds and Jake Lowther’s run came to a premature end as they halted at Sarah’s Cottage, just metres up the road from Glen Helen, to make adjustments, but later retiring.
At Ballaugh, after an excellent sector by the Holden/Cain outfit the Birchalls’ lead was down to just 0.975 seconds. Peter Founds and Jevan Walmsley held third, 14.371 seconds down at that particular point.
Positions didn’t change through Ramsey and by the Bungalow the fightback by Holden and Cain had been reversed with the Birchalls extending their lead to over six seconds, and by Cronk-ny-mona the difference had grown even further to 9.090 seconds.
Dean Harrison’s dad Conrad was given as a retirement, with his passenger Andy Winkle, at Ballagarey on the first lap.
From a standing start the Birchalls lapped at 118.38mph to lead by 10.602 seconds at the start of the second and final lap.
Nothing changed in the top three positions through the remainder of the race, except the difference in time. The Birchalls continued to pull out their lead over Holden & Cain, which grew to 16.743 seconds by Ramsey and was over twenty seconds when they took their tenth TT win crossing the line at the end of lap 2.
The win puts the Birchalls level on sidecar wins with Rob Fisher, with only David Molyneux having more sidecar wins to his name.Second place saw John Holden continue a unique record of his own as he secured his twelfth consecutive podium finish.
Peter Founds and Jevan Walmsley carried on to well-earned third place 34.383 seconds down on Holden & Cain.