until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Motorcycle racing

120mph lap, 11th straight win – Birchalls’ TT reign goes on

by Simon Patterson
1 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Ben and Tom Birchall have absolutely smashed their existing lap record to not just win the opening Sidecar race of the 2023 Isle of Man TT by 24 seconds from Peter Founds and Jevan Walmsley – but to also set the first ever three-wheeled 120mph average lap of the Snaefell Mountain circuit en route to an incredible 10th consecutive victory.

With the Birchalls going into the race as almost unassailable favourites, Founds and Walmsley managed to made the race interesting on the opening lap by folding the gap to the dominant duo at only a few seconds.

However, when the second lap got underway the Birchalls turned up the crank, not just increasing their gap at the end of the second lap but adding a full mile per hour to their average lap to secure the laptime before being able to cruise home on the final time around the 37.73-mile circuit.

“I’m sure that everyone wanted us to do it,” driver Ben said of the laptime afterwards, “or at least wanted to see someone do it on a sidecar. It’s like having a kebab on your way home after a big night out!”

The battle for third, over three minutes down on the leading duo, was much closer, with 67-year-old TT veteran John Holden eventually claiming a surprise podium alongside French passenger Maxime Vasseur, only three and a half seconds ahead of the Ramsden brothers – Steve and Matty.

There were a number of high-profile DNFs, however, with most successful Sidecar TT racer ever David Molyneux, former world champion Tim Reeves, and past podium contender Conrad Harrison all failing to see the chequered flag after technical problems.

Founds and Walmsley will get another chance to chase down the Birchalls later in the week, though, with a second three-lap sidecar race scheduled for Wednesday.

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