Qualifying did not go well for the Mansfield pairing as heavy rain prior to their practice had left the track wet and slippery. Ben and Tom went out on wet weather tyres but after a couple of laps they realised that the track was drying more quickly than anticipated so they pitted for a change of tyres. They recorded just one lap on the new tyres before a fuel pump problem curtailed their track time leaving them down in 23rd position for the start of Saturday’s race.
“It is disappointing for us to be that far back on the starting grid but once that red light goes out we will be on the case and looking to make up as much ground as possible before we round the first corner at Redgate,” said Ben. True to his word, as the race began the Birchalls shot off the line to pass a gaggle of riders as they hurtled towards Redgate for the first time. By the end of the lap they had picked up 10 places and after just two laps they were up to ninth.
Ben and Tom made further progress, picking off the opposition with every passing lap until they powered past Will Smith to claim third place. Although they had no chance of catching the race leader and eventual winner, John Holden, they narrowed the gap between themselves and the flying Simon Neary who held second place. But they ran out of laps and crossed the finish line for a fine third position, just a hare’s breath away from second, posting the fastest lap of the race - 1m 43.928s – 86.598mph in the process.
“After yesterday’s troubles in qualifying that was a really good result for us. To come from the back of the grid and finish third is more than we could have hoped for and
we are both thrilled to bits, another lap and we would have made it through to second for sure. “The engine we were running was just put together with bits and bobs that we had left over after the TT so for it to come through and give us a podium it was superb.
“It was really nice to be here at Donington with all our friends and family and it gave our sponsors the opportunity to come and see us in action – and we were honoured to have Tony Egginton the Mayor of Mansfield with us as a guest of Donington Park. “I am so pleased they have all come to see us race and that we were able to put on a bit of a show and to come home with a trophy and a bottle of champagne for third place.”
Ben and Tom are honoured to be invited to open the Mansfield Party in the Park on August 1 and to have the bike on display. The brothers will be on hand to explain the workings of the F2 sidecar and to pose for photos and sign autographs on the day. Everyone is welcome to come along and say hello.
The next outing for Ben and Tom will be the fourth round of the FIM Superside Sidecar World championship on August 23 when the series pays its annual visit to Rijeka in Croatia where Ben and Tom, who head the rider points will be striving for a strong result to maintain their series lead.