TT 2018: Ben and Tom Birchall raise bar with 119mph lap for Sidecar double

Ben and Tom Birchall made it a double as they won Friday's second Sidecar race at the Isle of Man TT.
Ben and Tom Birchall made it a double as they won Friday's second Sidecar race at the Isle of Man TT.

Mansfield brothers Ben and Tom Birchall shattered their own lap record with the first sub-19m Sidecar lap of the Isle of Man TT as they powered to a sublime double.


They followed up their record-breaking victory on Saturday with another commanding performance, raising the lap record to a stunning 119.250mph, dipping under the 19-minute bracket with a time of 18m 59.018s to secure their eighth TT success on the IEG Honda.

Mansfield brothers Ben and Tom Birchall set a new Sidecar lap record with a speed in excess of 119mph.

Mansfield brothers Ben and Tom Birchall set a new Sidecar lap record with a speed in excess of 119mph.

A delighted Ben said afterwards: “We just pushed and pushed and I’m over the moon. I saw boards saying 119mph, but I just had to ignore them and try and concentrate on the race.

“This is the culmination of a big effort by everyone in the team.”

The Birchalls overhauled early leaders John Holden/Lee Cain at the end of lap one and pulled clear thanks to their blistering second lap, eventually winning by 22.92s with Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes again finishing third.

On lap one, Holden/Cain led through Glen Helen, their advantage over the Birchalls only 1.4s with Reeves/Wilkes just 0.78s adrift.

Patrick Blackstock/Lewis Rosney were holding fourth as Alan Founds/Jake Lowther and Dave Molyneux/Dan Sayle completed the early top six.

By Ramsey, Holden/Cain had eked out an extra two tenths of a second over the Birchalls but Reeves/Wilkes were dropping back, now 5.1s behind. There was a change behind though as Founds/Lowther and Molyneux/Sayle moved up to fourth and fifth respectively at the expense of Blackstock/Rosney, who dropped off the pace slightly.

The Birchalls had a quicker run up and down the Mountain to seize the initiative and an opening lap of 117.185mph meant they went into lap two with a lead of 1.89s over Holden/Cain.

Reeves/Wilkes broke the 116mph barrier for the first time to maintain third and they were still only 5.5s behind Holden/Cain.

Founds/Lowther and Molyneux/Sayle were still in fourth and fifth but Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle had now moved up to sixth.

The Birchalls were pressing on at the head of the field and they had extended their lead over Holden/Cain, increasing their advantage to 15.1s by the end of the lap.

Reeves/Wilkes set another personal best lap of 117.729mph to slot into third, seven seconds behind Holden/Cain.

There was no let up from the Birchalls and they duly took their fifth TT win in a row – and eighth in total – by 22.92s with a third lap of 118.427mph, breaking their own race record from Saturday’s race in the process with a time of 57m 25.040s (118.281mph).

Holden/Cain and Reeves/Wilkes completed the podium, just as they had done in the first race. Founds/Lowther took fourth with Blackstock/Rosney and Harrison/Winkle finishing fifth and sixth respectively.

Seventeen-time TT race winner Molyneux/Sayle retired on the final lap.