TT 2019: Ben and Tom Birchall have six appeal after latest dominant Sidecar success

Ben and Tom Birchall celebrate their sixth Isle of Man TT Sidecar victory in succession after they won Monday's opening race.
Ben and Tom Birchall celebrate their sixth Isle of Man TT Sidecar victory in succession after they won Monday's opening race.

Ben and Tom Birchall made it a sensational six Isle of Man TT Sidecar victories in a row as they won the opening race on Monday.

Despite blustery weather conditions on the Mountain, the Mansfield brothers completed their second lap at 119.129mph, which was only a second outside their 2018 lap record for the class.

Starting at number one, they led all the way and established a new race record for the three-lap event as they crossed the line more than 48 seconds ahead of practice pacesetters John Holden and Lee Cain.

An exhausted Ben said: “It’s been a fraught practice week for everyone and we’ve had engines out, gearboxes out, and all sorts out, but to win again is mega.

“It’s a team effort to get here but it all fell right today and I knew John (Holden) had been on it all week so that first sector was really important.

“I got my head down on the first lap and the second lap felt even better but I had John McGuinness in my ear once the lead was above 30 seconds, and it was about winning the race rather than the lap record,” he added.

“I’m not saying we would have done 120mph but I’m not saying we wouldn’t.”

It was the brothers’ ninth Sidecar success around the Mountain Course, putting them level with Siggi Schauzu, Mick Boddice and Dave Saville.

However, passenger Tom made a little piece of history as he became the most successful Sidecar passenger at the TT, surpassing the previous benchmark of eight victories that he held jointly with Dan Sayle and Rick Long.

Tom said: “It’s been a tricky week in practice and we didn’t have a full handle of what we needed, so the team were up until 4am this morning to get the bike ready. We’ve got the right people behind us and that drives us forward.”

Alan Founds and Jake Lowther claimed the final rostrum position in third, a further 28.636 seconds adrift, with Alan’s brother Pete and passenger Jevan Walmsley finishing fourth.

Exciting newcomers Ryan and Callum Crowe sealed a magnificent fifth place as they made their competitive TT debut, posting a best lap of 113.53mph on a memorable day for the duo.

The race saw two big-name retirements early on as Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes only got as far as the Bottom of Bray Hill, while Dave Molyneux/Harry Payne didn’t faring much better as they retired at Braddan Bridge on the opening lap.