Reigning World Sidecar champions and existing lap record holders Ben and Tom Birchall enjoyed a fruitful trip across the Irish Sea at the weekend to secure a win and second place in the two sidecar races held at Bishopscourt in Co Down at the annual Sunflower Trophy meeting.
The Mitchells of Mansfield supported duo qualified on pole, posting a fast lap of 1m 11.345s with a 1.736s advantage over Bryan Peddar and Rod Steadman.
Although qualifying went smoothly in the dry it was a different story on race day when intermittent rain disrupted the racing.
The first sidecar race held over the 1.824-mile course was run in damp conditions and although the rain was not heavy enough for full wets, the damp conditions made it tricky for the riders. Ben and Tom got away to a steady start and picked their way through the wet patches to finish the nine-lap affair over 1.8 seconds ahead of their nearest rivals.
Race two didn’t go so well for the Mansfield pair who were held up in the early stages of the race when an outfit spun ahead of them. Ben had to take avoiding action and dropped well down the field as he negotiated his way past the stricken outfit.
By the time they regained their composure, F2 British Champions John Holden and Andy Winkle had got away and pulled out a commanding lead over the Birchall brothers. But the world champions got their heads down and worked their way through to second place, making inroads towards Holden on lap six of nine. However, their efforts were thwarted when the red flag halted the race and the result declared at five laps distance giving the Birchall brothers a second place end to their race.
“Apart from the weather, we really enjoyed our visit to Bishopscourt,” said Ben. “As always we were made very welcome by the Irish fans and it was nice for us to return to the circuit this year as world champions and also to leave with our lap record, we have held since 2007, still intact.”
This concludes race action for the Birchall Brothers until the New Year when they will take part in a series of tests ahead of the 2010 season.