The drivers for this exciting new team are 2009 World Champions Ben and Tom Birchall. The Mansfield based brothers first competed at the Isle of Man TT Races in 2009 where they performed creditably with a fastest lap of 110.659, the second fastest newcomers ever after Tim Reeves in 2008, although they didn’t finish the only race held that year.
The pair were forced to miss the 2010 Races but came back last year to finish their first race on the Mountain Course, recording a 7th place in the first race before topping it with fifth in the second. They also clocked their fastest lap at 111.622mph in the second sidecar race last year.
Commenting on the brothers, Klaus Klaffenbock said:
“We watched Ben and Tom in 2009 at their first TT and again in 2011. These two guys really have the potential to win. I will share with them everything I learnt about this special race and I am sure they can win soon, if not in this year then next year.”
Ben Birchall is clearly excited by the partnership and commented:
"Both Tom and I are honoured to have been asked to join Klaus in his new venture. Klaus and his team's reputation for professionalism and determination to win along with Adolf Hanni’s unrivalled commitment and experience in sidecar racing made the decision to join the team very easy for us. With the continued support of our existing team and sponsors in my opinion Cofain Racing by Klaffi will become one of the strongest sidecar teams in the history of the TT.”
“Ever since Tom and I decided to compete at the TT in 2009 it has been our desire to be successful and our ultimate aim is to win there. Joining this team will give us the best opportunity to achieve our goal and with the bike preparation now nearing completion we can’t wait to begin our pre-season testing."
The team will use a brand new LCR chassis, which has been especially made for Ben and Tom in Switzerland by sidecar engineer Louis Christen, and with Honda engines from Honda specialist UK tuner, Chris Mehew.
And the team will be further strengthened by yet another Sidecar World Champion involved in the team – 2 times sidecar passenger champion Adolf Hanni.
Commenting on the partnership Adolf said:
“I have known Klaus for a long time, I was World Champion Runner up with him in 1998, 1999 and 2000. I know that everything he does is successful therefore when he asked for my help I immediately agreed and am happy to be involved in such a professional organised sidecar team.”
The popular Austrian, who won both of the sidecar races in 2010 and followed it up with a victory in 2011, won the World Sidecar championship in 2001. He finished racing in the World Championships in 2003 and dedicated himself to winning at the TT from 2004 but until his 2010 campaign, his highest recorded place was 5th in 2008.
Klaus believes that the Isle of Man TT Races is the ultimate test:
“The best teams in the world compete at the Isle of Man TT and for this reason I just had to remain involved with it. After we stopped racing in 2011, my friend Andy Faragher and I decided to start a competitive Sidecar Team at the TT and before long had everything organised – sponsors and a team that are capable of winning.”
Paul Phillips, TT and Motorsport Manager, Isle of Man Government, commented:
“The Birchall brothers are definitely one of the strongest teams at this year’s event and with Klaus’s support are likely to be even more competitive."